19th May 2015

A student of mine, Frigg, yes I know, contacted me on *We Chat* a couple of days ago. For those of you who are outside of China *We Chat* is a bit like Twitter but better although the Party cops listen in apparently. She wanted me to check her speech and particularly her pronunciation. We went through it and she sounded pretty good, but what it took me a while to realise was that the speech had to be delivered from memory. Three minutes exactly, less than 2 minutes 45 seconds, or over 3 minutes 15 seconds and you lose marks. The next day I went to watch. I’m not sure I could deliver a word perfect speech from memory, but some of them could. But not Frigg. I looked at that poor girl’s face and willed her to carry on and she did. Then it was Erica’s turn. Another of my students. Poor Erica (Hello and I’m pleased you gave me permission to say this)  froze. And nobody seemed to want to do anything !! I started the applause and lessened her misery.

Then it was round two. A question appears that you may never have thought about. Is it bad that there are less languages in the world ? What’s your view on the Youth sports games coming to Fuzhou in September ? You may not have a view now but you’ve got two minutes to think of one.

The final is a week on Wednesday and I’ve been asked to be the questioner. I’ll be very very kind……

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