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Explaining China to the West——香港科技大学语言科技中心主任Arthur Mcneill博士
来源:21世纪英文报    作者:21st    日期: 2011-05-13

Arthur McNeill, director of the Language Center at the Hong Kong University of Science and Technology
Arthur Mcneill博士:香港科技大学语言科技中心主任

Q:Looking back on your time in Hong Kong, have you noticed any changes in the way local media reports on events on the Chinese mainland?

I arrived in Hong Kong in 1988 and, apart from a gap of five years, I have lived there up till now. In recent years, Hong Kong people have become used to receiving much greater coverage of events in the mainland on the local news media. For example, the leading English daily newspaper, the South China Morning Post, now reports the news in three sections: local, national and international. The “national” section is devoted entirely to reporting news from the mainland.

Q:How can Chinese people express themselves better in order for the world to learn more about China and Chinese people?

A:The recent establishment of a network of Confucius Institutes across the globe has made a significant contribution to raising people’s awareness of modern China. The Confucius Institutes provide people overseas with an opportunity to learn Chinese, as well as introducing them to aspects of Chinese culture.

The demand for courses in Chinese as a foreign language has grown enormously alongside China’s more dominant position in world affairs.

Since language and culture are closely related, I believe that promoting the study of the Chinese language throughout the world is a powerful way for China to communicate with the rest of the world.

Q:What are the strengths and weaknesses of the Chinese contestants as opposed to their Western peers when they speak English?

A:When Chinese people give a speech in English, the text is usually very well prepared. In fact, many students like to study speeches given by famous statesmen. Chinese speakers appear to be fond of using a range of rhetorical devices to add vitality and interest to their text.

However, they need to avoid giving the impression that their speech is written according to a formula.

For example, many speakers feel they need to provide authority for the points they are making by quoting from works of literature or from statements made by famous people. Unfortunately, many student speakers tend to quote the same sources, which makes their speeches sound less original. Quotations should be selected very carefully, avoiding sources which other students are likely to use.

Another challenge for Chinese speakers is to make their speeches sound natural. When a speaker has spent many hours memorizing a text, it can be difficult to deliver it with a sense of spontaneity. And if a speaker is worried about recalling a memorized speech, there is a risk that the communication with the audience will be less direct and sincere.

Audiences like speakers who give the impression they are enjoying themselves on the stage.

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