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    DLIFLC students win big in Mandarin speech contest

    DLIFLC students win big in Mandarin speech contest

    Photo By Patrick Bray | Service members from the Defense Language Institute Foreign Language Center led by...... read more read more



    Story by Patrick Bray 

    U.S. Army Training and Doctrine Command

    MONTEREY, Calif. – Service members studying Mandarin Chinese at the Defense Language Institute Foreign Language Center participated in the 41st Annual Mandarin Speech Contest in San Francisco April 23, with 36 DLIFLC students winning awards.

    This year, 451 registered contestants from Northern California universities such as Stanford, Berkeley, San Francisco State University, the University of San Francisco, and the University of California – Davis, competed in the contest.

    Teachers in DLIFLC’s Chinese department encourage their students to participate in the annual contest, which many of them see as a measure of both faculty and student success.

    “With Asian School I leadership’s continuous strong support, DLI students have been participating in this speech contest for many years, which has become an effective driving force in promoting students’ proficiency,” said Dr. Liwei Gao, assistant dean of DLIFLC’s Asian School I.

    Sixty eight Chinese Mandarin students at DLIFLC registered for the contest and won a total of 36 prizes that included six first place winners, 10 second place winners, four third place winners and 16 honorable mentions.

    “This is the best result that we have had so far. DLI students outperformed their rivals from all other participating colleges and universities,” said Gao.

    During the contest, students deliver a three to five-minute speech which they wrote, memorized, and delivered on their own, on any appropriate topic the student chose to speak on, appropriate to his or her level of training.

    Teachers at DLIFLC such as Kevin Yang and Yunhua Zhang also participated as judges in the contest, though they did not judge their own students.

    “Kevin and I were taking care of a combination group during the contest. Students in our group either had no Chinese background or had some experience with dialects other than Mandarin. They all did a great job, which made being a judge even more challenging,” said Zhang.

    Yang has judged the contest for three years and is pleased to see the improvements students make as they return from year to year.

    “Both Yunhua and I were so thrilled to see two talented contestants without any Chinese family background achieving 100 and 98 points, perfect and near perfect scores,” said Yang. “This tells young people that American students not only can learn Chinese well, but that they also can learn it better than the kids from Chinese families.”

    Zhang had similar thoughts about the contestants.

    “To see a growing influence of my language and culture on more and more young people always makes me feel proud of what I am doing and motivates me to do a better job,” Zhang said. “I was very impressed by a girl this year. Her speech performance was flawless. Her story about a summer camp with a local Chinese broadcast company was amazing and I think she’ll be a rising star in broadcasting someday.”

    The day-long competition, the largest of its kind outside of China, is sponsored by the Chinese Language Teachers Association of California with the purpose of fostering good language skills in Mandarin.

    “In recent years, usually between 400 and 700 kindergarten-through-college students participate in the contest every year. It has become a major gala in foreign language education in the Bay Area. Schools have considered it a big honor for their students to win a prize at the contest and sometimes start to prepare their students for even half a year ahead,” said Gao.

    Established in 1962, CLTAC, is a nonpolitical, nonprofit educational and professional organization that seeks to promote the study, teaching and research of the Chinese language and culture and provides a platform for Chinese instructors to share and exchange teaching experience, ideas and information. The annual speech contest rewards excellence in speaking and comprehension.



    Date Taken: 05.03.2016
    Date Posted: 06.14.2016 17:43
    Story ID: 201136

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