Editor's Rating

A good beginner's resource for learning Thai.

7

Book Cover for Teach Yourself Thai

This is the first book I bought when I decided to learn Thai, and I cannot recommend it enough to others wanting to learn to read, speak, and write Thai. I have yet to find another book teaching the Thai language that covers so much information yet is catered to the beginning student, AND is at the same time incredibly easy to understand. My copy has been thoroughly dogeared, highlighted, and marked up several times over.

Every chapter is intermixed with sample conversations, vocabulary, key phrases, language notes, and – most importantly for me at least – step-by-step instructions on how to write the Thai consonants, vowels, and numbers. David shows you stroke-by-stroke how to write each Thai consonant and vowel. It reminded me of my elementary school days when we would have the dashed-line alphabet letters to draw over so we could learn how to write.

What I Didn’t Like About the Book:

You have to bear in mind that I didn’t realize the things that now bother me about the book until I got further along in my studies. As a beginner guide it’s wonderful, but now that I am a little more educated about the language I have to point out a few things that I take exception to in this book:

  • Consonants are not taught in order. I don’t know why exactly this was done, but if I had to guess I would say that David taught the most commonly-used consonants first to get the student started with reading simple words quickly. Just a guess. In retrospect, however, I think the consonants should be taught in order.
  • There is no mention of each consonant having an associated word so you don’t get confused as to which letter is being used. (I explain this in my article on Consonants.) This was a glaringly huge oversight in my opinion, and I really wish I had known about this sooner rather than later; it would have saved me precious study time.

Please don’t look at the negatives as a reason for skipping this book, however. All in all it’s a fantastic book and I recommend it as the first book you buy when you are interested in learning Thai.