A for effort

“A Chinese businessman’s awkward English” from BBC News, asks you to think about how much courage it takes to speak in a language you’re “not quite fluent in” yet. And a lot of other discussion questions, too. The businessman in question is the founder/CEO of Xiaomi, which is the 3rd largest smartphone maker in the world (after Samsung and Apple).

“(his) English was more or less understandable, albeit heavily accented, but the speech sparked a huge discussion in China about the merits of trying to speak foreign languages.”

Ready to listen?

PM Abe was in Washington last week. He spoke at the US Congress (the first Japanese prime minister to do so). How did he do?  (He starts speaking at about the 48:50 mark and continues until about the 1:33:30 mark)

How important is pronunciation in communicating and understanding? And are they following the 5 key points of good presentations/talks we’ve talked about in some classes?

  • volume
  • eye contact (and smiling when appropriate)
  • visuals (and gestures when appropriate)
  • know your topic well (and practice!)
  • be aware of your audience

Incidentally, because of the viral nature of Mr. Lei’s speech, it’s not surprising that an auto-tune version surfaced:

According to the Wall Street Journal, Mr. Lei “has taken the ribbing with good humor” (he’s able to laugh at it, too; he’s not upset about people making fun of him).


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