Successful Thai Language Learner: Adam Bradshaw

Successful Thai Language Learner: Adam Bradshaw

Interviewing Successful Thai Language Learners…

Name: Adam Bradshaw
Nationality: American
Age: 25
Sex: Male
Location: Bangkok
Profession: English Teacher, entrepreneur
Web: YouTube: jadambrad and winkwinkenglish | Twitter: @AjarnAdam | Facebook: ajarnadam

Interviews: Bangkok Podcast Adam Bradshaw | The Nation: It’s all in the language for Adam and Aj.Adam Bradshaw

What is your Thai level?

I guess it depends on the day lol, but usually fluent.

Do you speak more street Thai, Issan Thai, or professional Thai?

I can speak Bangkok Thai the best, but I enjoy learning Isaan Thai as well. There’s something about Isaan Thai that’s just fun and charming.

What were your reasons for learning Thai?

Originally I learned Thai because I had to as a volunteer missionary, but I found myself falling in love with the Thai language.

Do you live in Thailand? If so, when did you arrive?

I just barely returned to Thailand for the fourth time in the last 5 years. This time I plan on staying for at least a couple years. I first came to Thailand in January 2006 and kept finding reasons to come back!

How long have you been a student of the Thai language?

Ever since I arrived in January 2006.

Did you learn Thai right away, or was it a many-pronged approach?

Right away.

Did you stick to a regular study schedule?

2 hours every morning and then throughout the day I would try to avoid speaking English as much as I could.

What Thai language learning methods did you try?

I started with Smyth’s, Thai: An Essential Grammar, which I found to be an excellent guide to basic Thai. After learning the basics, I found the best method to move to the next level was simply carrying a little notebook around and writing down words, phrases, and sentences that I heard come out of natives’ mouths. Also, if you ask any of my Thai friends they won’t hesitate to tell you that I would sit and ask them questions about the Thai language for hours sometimes. Having patient Thai friends was of great help to me in progressing my Thai.

How soon did you tackle reading and writing Thai?

Right from the get go.

Did you find learning to read and write Thai difficult?

Not particularly considering Thai is a phonetic language and 95 percent of Thai words are read as written.

What was your first ah hah! moment?

After being in the country for about a year, I remember sitting in a Taxi that had a news radio station blaring. Usually I would listen to the radio and be able to pick up a good 60 percent of what was being said, but I remember listening on this particular occasion and thinking, “wow I can understand almost everything being said!”

How do you learn languages?

Directly from the natives.

What are your strengths and weaknesses?

My strength is my ability to have a conversation with anybody about anything. My weakness is sometimes saying something in say 5 words that could have been said in 3 words.

What is the biggest misconception for students learning Thai?

That the language barrier will never be broken haha. Patience is a virtue especially when it comes to learning Thai!

Can you make your way around any other languages?

Hola. Como estas? Bien. That’s about the extent of my knowledge in any other language lol.

Were you learning another language at the same time as Thai?

No way. I focused solely on Thai.

What advice would you give to students of the Thai language?

Make as many Thai friends as possible and be willing to teach them English in exchange for them helping you with your Thai.

Adam Bradshaw,
YouTube: jadambrad and winkwinkenglish | Twitter: @AjarnAdam | Facebook: ajarnadam

The Series: Interviewing Successful Thai Language Learners…

My personal thanks for this series goes to: Adam Bradshaw, Fabian Blandford, Luke Cassady-Dorion, Nils Bastedo, Grace Robinson, Ryan Zander, Joe Cummings, Hamish Chalmers, Andrew Biggs, Ian Fereday, Doug, Gareth Marshall, Martin Clutterbuck, Stuart (Stu) Jay Raj, Herb Purnell, Celia Chessin-Yudin, Stickman, Thomas Lamosse, Vern Lovic, Colin Cotterill, Jonathan Thames, Hardie Karges, Peter Montalbano, Jonas Anderson and Christy Gibson, Daniel T. Murphy, Paul Garrigan, Marcel Barang, Chris Baker, Hugh Leong, Terry Fredrickson, Glenn Slayden, Rikker Dockum, David Smyth, Tom Parker, David Long, Aaron Handel, and Chris Pirazzi.

If you are a successful Thai language learner and would like to share your experiences, please contact me. I’d love to hear from you.

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10 Responses to “ Successful Thai Language Learner: Adam Bradshaw ”

  1. Cat, another great interview and more fuel to add to my fire. I think Adam’s advice “Make as many Thai friends as possible and be willing to teach them English in exchange for them helping you with your Thai.” is great. I just recently struck such a deal with a Thai friend and we will begin learning together on Sunday.

  2. Talen, that is good advice. I liked the suggestions I found when researching Skype language exchange – talk in one language for half hour and then switch to the other for the same time.

    Good luck and let me know how it goes, ok? I’m curious.

  3. Cat, really is the best of both worlds with both people learning…I still think the old practice of sleeping dictionaries should be brought back too :)

  4. “old practice” ?

    When did it ever go out of favour? :-D

  5. Cat, I emailed you about a while back about this kid, (sorry, at 52 y/o, ANYONE younger than 35 is called a kid in my book). I caught his t/v show one afternoon during the week called “Wink Wink English”. It’s a really short show, but pretty darned good. I watch it every day although I use it in reverse to learn Thai phrases and vocab. I’m sure Thais get a lot out of it too!
    FWIW; Adam’s a pretty clear Thai speaker. He’s not quite up there with Christopher Wright, aka “Chris Delivery” but then again, Chris is half-Thai.
    As a 100% foreign Thai speaker Adam’s pretty darned good.
    I’d like to see him to put the ‘out-takes’ from his show on his You Tube channel. I bet they’d be hilarious! I’m sure he’s made more than his fair share of Thai language ‘fox-paws’ err faux pas doing the scenes!

  6. Todd, I do remember and I agree, he does good work. And maybe if you ask, he’ll share his out-takes? I’d enjoy seeing them too – sometimes it’s easier to learn the real guts of a foreign language when humour is involved.

  7. Hi, Cat, long time no contact! I just read this interview after seeing some of Adam’s clips. Now this guy really CAN speak Thai, and picked it up in a relatively short time, too. Very impressive. I think his advice for folks who want to learn is good, too. So, just a comment of support. I think you’re doing a good thing with this series, as well.

  8. Hey Peter! Great to hear from you. Adam is fabulous, yes? I have him on my twitter. Good stuff. And thanks for your support on the series. Many quality people helping and I’m thankful for all. Btw – I have a ringd-inger coming in next… if the creek don’t rise…

  9. I don’t think it’s fair to compare me to Chris Delivery because Chris is a native Thai speaker. Although he might have a little bit of a farang accent in his Thai, he’s still half Thai and grew up in Thailand, whereas I am a “successful Thai learner.” At any rate, I think Chris Wright’s stand-up comedy shows are hilarious and great for testing one’s listening comprehension.

  10. Adam, I agree. You’ve only here a handful of years yet your Thai is amazing.

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