A Scottish actor speaks fluent mandarin for two minutes in a very popular Chinese TV episode “蜗居” [Living in a Snail’s Shell]

Posted by Grace Feng on December 17, 2012

After you’ve learned mandarin for some time, especially after you’ve gained some progress, you probably want to know how well other Chinese learners are doing around the world. I’d like to show you how well a Scottish actor is doing in a very popular Chinese TV episode “蜗居 wōjū” [Living in a Snail’s Shell]. I don’t have information on how long he had been learning mandarin, but his spoken mandarin is actually very good. In his lines, he did make some small grammar errors. But his expression was very clear and flew well.

Hint: What is happening in that two-minute play?

Hai Ping, a Chinese woman that came to Shanghai to strive for a new life that she had dreamed of, was working part time as a Chinese tutor. That night, she went to her student Mark’s apartment to have an one on one Chinese lesson. Mark chatted about the his comparison between Shanghai and New York. And then he told Hai Ping that he met a woman who spoke mandarin was actually a Japanese. He wanted to introduce Hai Ping to that Japanese woman as her son’s Chinese teacher.


Please fast forward to 5:38 to watch him speaking fluent mandarin with the Chinese actress for two minutes. See whether you can take that role too.  :-)

For Chinese readers that can’t access youtube, please fast forward the following video to 3:34 on youku:


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Learn to speak Chinese in "native accent" by dubbing Chinese movie or TV episode (2)
Learn to speak mandarin from TV episode excerpt - Unsettled Youth - 我们无处安放的青春 (1)


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5 Responses to “A Scottish actor speaks fluent mandarin for two minutes in a very popular Chinese TV episode “蜗居” [Living in a Snail’s Shell]”

  1. nothing

    Kim Sorg:

    12-23-2012 9:06 am

    Well I think he already speaks quite good. Not to offend anybody, since it always depends on your chinese level, but I think his pronounciation is far away from being good. This sounds for me like the typical way of americans speaking chinese hehe. I’m german by the way, and we also have certain problems in pronouncing chinese.


    • nothing

      Grace Feng:

      12-25-2012 2:34 am

      Kim, yes his pronunciation still need to be improved. But I think based on his current level of Chinese, he already can express his ideas clearly with limited vocab base. I think the two important things I want to demonstrate here is that even if your Chinese level is not high, if you can make good use of the sentence patterns you’ve learned and speak clearly (maybe slowly), you should be confident that you can make yourself well understood in a real life conversation.


  2. nothing


    12-25-2012 12:06 pm

    Yeah, I think that is fairly good myself. Okay, the pronunciation might not be 100% perfect and he is only speaking very basic dialogue, but it is still good enough to be understood, which is surely the main goal of learning another language, is it not?


  3. nothing


    01-13-2013 10:25 pm

    Who would sensibly call this “speaking fluent mandarin”? Here’s a foreigner speaking fluent mandarin for your reference, http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DibNCoIQvok.


    • nothing

      Grace Feng:

      01-14-2013 4:15 am

      Andy, thanks for sharing that video! I admit the host 王渊源 in that program (CCTV 快乐中国) does speak “shockingly fluent” mandarin. His spoken mandarin is almost perfect, better than lots of natives even. :-) Yet in this post, I’m just trying to show readers that you can reach to a fluency that is good enough to express your ideas and make yourself understood for day to day dialogues without necessarily getting to an advanced level. Don’t hold yourself back from “speaking your mandarin out loud” just because you think your level is not good enough.



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