You work very hard on your English but make very little progress. You are almost in despair (绝望): “How on earth can I improve my level?” But help is at hand – from the winners of a recent English speech contest.
“Reading widely in English is important for English learners,” said Zhu Kangni,
16, of Shenzhen Foreign Language School.
The teenager came top in the Ninth “21st Century CASIO Cup” National High School and Primary School English Speaking Competition Grand Final (senior group), which was held in Beijing on April 10. Her accuracy and eloquence (口
才) left a deep impression on the judges and others in the room.
Zhu loves reading novels in English. She began with short stories, then a few years later moved on to longer works, such as those on the New York Times bestseller list, since she finds them “interesting and easier to follow”. With her English vocabulary then increasing, Zhu turned to classics such as Emily Brontë’s Wuthering Heights (《呼啸山庄》). “Though it’s still a little difficult, I find myself unconsciously (不知不觉地) influenced by the elegance (优美) of the
language,” Zhu said.
English movies and TV dramas have helped her with her oral expression and accent, Zhu said. Once, every day after she finished her homework, she would watch an episode (集) of Grey’s Anatomy (《女实习医生格雷》). “The movies and
dramas have helped me to speak English, and more importantly, to think in English,” she said.
Spoken English is a big problem for many Chinese students. To get over the problem, first runner-up Zuo Tong, 17, from High School Affiliated to Renmin University, talks to herself in English.
Once when Zuo woke at midnight and couldn’t get back to sleep, she had the idea of pretending she was Barack Obama. She imagined she was giving a speech – for almost an hour! “It may sound a little crazy, but such methods really work.”
Zuo is not the only English student with a preference (偏爱) for unusual learning
techniques. Second runner-up Tang Yunhao, 17, of Chengdu No 7 High School, likes to translate the Chinese he hears on the TV into English.
“It doesn’t matter whether my translation is good or bad. The point is that the practice helps me to think in English,” Tang said.