What people are saying - Write a review
I agree with the other reviewer 100%. When you start learning Thai using a book, you will soon realize that the Thai language has both more consonants and more vowels that we do in English. That necessarily presents a problem when trying to approximate some Thai consonants/vowels using our alphabet. If you look at any 2 books (or 4, or 5, etc), they will almost invariably use different transliteration methods. This can cause a lot of confussion and frustration.
Bottom line: Take some time at the beginning of your Thai language journey to learn to read the Thai alphabet. That was advice that was (thankfully) given to me early on in my studies and now I find myself in classes where students learning Thai will come to questionably transliterations, and I will be able to switch hats to teacher-mode and be able to explain the correct pronunciation.
Preface to this review:
Although the reader can use the English transliteration of the Thai to get through these books, I do not recommend doing that. With the start of Book 1, the reader/learner has the opportunity to build their reading of Thai from the first chapter. If not yet familiar with how to read Thai, take a month out to study it. I personally recommend Gordon H. Allison's Easy Thai. Work through this book first then start the A.U.A. Thai Course with an instructor. You will excel rapidly from this point.
[I actually find the English transliteration in any Thai English book, harder to understand and to read than reading the Thai language itself. So I conclude, spend a month or so getting the basics down and then move on. The A.U.A. Thai course is a good cumulative way to do this.]
I have worked through book 1, 2 and 3 and will tell anyone wanting to learn Thai language that Marvin J. Brown is a genius. I have been studying Thai language for five years by this date - August 2010, have been through many courses especially have purchased a lot of books looking for that magic helpful volume that will ascend me to new heights in Thai language. The A.U.A. Thai course is everything one could want or need to get you through the first hurdle; book one is excellent because it starts out slow and builds on previous knowledge. Even my Thai teacher thought the A.U.A. course was very good often noting "we use this phrase a lot in Thai" along with other notable comments. Each book in the course builds on what you have already learned but pushes you further and further across to the other side of understanding the Thai world around you. No longer was I in mystery of what others were saying around me. About mid way through the 2nd book, I began speaking a lot more in Thai asking questions or giving opinions confidently. By book three you are in another world but for me, it took a bit of time to master book 2, after book 1, book 2 gets a bit more in depth into spoken Thai. Book 3 is like getting to the upper part of a video game, it is a whole other world. Because of the cumulative method you never forget the earlier lessons because key words and concepts are repeated throughout the course but offered in different ways as to help make the material more interesting. By book 3 you are so inspired to keep going, Book 3 is not as difficult as book 2, that is only if the reader has done their homework. Book 1 and 2 lay such a pure foundation into the Thai language that book 3 is easier to get through simply because you have become more familiar with the language and its usage, one actually starts thinking more like a Thai. I highly recommend this course from start to finish. After I did complete it, I tested in the advanced level in a well known Thai language school here in Bangkok.