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The Mandarin-speaking Salesman December 18, 2006

Posted by Edwin in Mandarin, Motivation.
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I believe one way to motivate ourselves in language learning is to look at those who do not speak the language well but still have the courage to speak it. Admire them!

I remember many years ago I and my wife (was my girl-friend back then) ended up in a seminar. The organizers were trying to recruit people to join their sales force. One of them was to deliver a presentation. I believe he was going to do it in Cantonese, but he realized there were some Mandarin-speaking people in the audience. So he decided to switch to Mandarin instead.

This was the time when I was uninterested in Mandarin and knew very little about the language. To my amazement, I found that I could understand about 80-90% of his Mandarin. He spoke the language so badly that it resembled Cantonese! This was a bit like when an English-speaker tries to speak French by twisting his English. People who know English could still understand him.

I and my wife nearly bursted out, but since the speaker looked so serious and so were the audience, we tried our very best to hold ourselves throughout the entire presentation. We went home at the end of the seminar, and I suddenly found myself speaking Mandarin to my wife!

It started off as a joke, as I was trying to imitate the speaker. Then I began to admire him, for he had the courage to speak a language he was unfamiliar with in front of an audience. At a result, he motivated me to speak the language, too.

Courage is a vital element in language learner. With courage, you motivate yourself and the people around you. It is something I find myself lacking. From time to time, I try to remind myself, “Have courage! Go and speak to the other person in his language!”

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Comments»

1. Greg Wadel - January 6, 2007

Great Site, we know how important links are, would really love to link with your site, thanks greg

2. edwinlaw - January 6, 2007

Thanks, Greg, for your comment.

I would love to link to your site too. Now, you seem to have created several blogs. Please let me know which one you would like me to link.


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