The Lao Dictionary and Phrasebook follows the same format as the Thai Dictionary and Phrasebook with a description of basic grammar followed by a short Lao-English dictionary of the most commonly used words. The English-Lao section is large and contains all of the most useful vocabulary the author heard while working in Laos, and is especially suited to people who want to know the vocabulary of modern spoken Lao. The phrasebook section of the book contains all the typical Lao phrases you'll hear for most living, traveling, and working situations.

This book gives a clear description of the range of vocabulary of the Lao language. Writing the book required research into spoken Lao in the Lao P.D.R. because most books available on the language are out of date or don't describe the language as it's really spoken. There was a lot of confusion even among native speakers about which words are really Lao and which words are Thai or both Thai and Lao.

Because the Lao Dictionary and Phrasebook follows the Hippocrene format there are only two columns, English and romanized Lao. There is no column that has the words and phrases written in Lao script. However the contents of the book are the most recent and best described of all the books on Lao available, so the book is still a valuable reference tool for anyone interested in the Lao language.



Review from Amazon US:

After struggling with inadequate phrasebooks when I was learning Lao a few years ago, I am really glad to finally see a decent one available! Mr. Higbie's phrasebook is great for beginners because it clearly marks the direction of the tones in a way which is easy for people who have no experience with tonal languages to understand. Placing words which have the same phonetic pronounciation but different tones together in the dictionary section really simplifies the language for travellers ('close' and 'far' for example sound the same, with different tones). While living and working in rural Laos for 3 years, I needed to learn to read and write in Lao script, but this is not necessary for travellers. The book is great for anyone wanting to communicate easily and quickly in Lao. Mr. Higbie presents the language as it is spoken in daily life. This book is my first choice and will be the one I recomend to anyone I know going to Laos.