Speaking their language

Listen to Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg speak Chinese:

Mark Z speaks Chinese

Chinese majors, what do you think?

Here’s the story:

“Zuckerberg’s Chinese speech gets mixed reviews” (from BBC)

And more from the Guardian: “Mark Zuckerberg speaks Mandarin during Q&A session in China”

His Chinese may have been “heavily accented” but the audience seems to have understood him, and he does seem to have been able to carry on a conversation (for 30 minutes, it says) and even make jokes. That’s pretty impressive, considering he’s only been learning the language for a relatively short time (and he’s got a pretty busy life).

On the importance of tones in Chinese (from the BBC article):

“One tonal slip-up led Mr Zuckerberg to claim that Facebook had just 11 mobile users instead of one billion.”

The funniest part (from the Guardian article):

“He drew laughs when he recalled a conversation with his wife about his Chinese language ability. “One day, I asked her, ‘Why is my Mandarin listening ability so bad?’” he told the crowd. “She responded: ‘You’re also bad at listening in English.’”

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