Mark Zuckerberg recently busted out his nascent Mandarin skills at a Tsinghua University event in Beijing. As someone who wishes more Westerners would at least “have a go” at Mandarin, I personally think it’s pretty cool that he boldly tried to go beyond the typical “大家好” which, as the blog post below quite accurately points out, would have been more than sufficient to earn him a wild round of applause from the audience.
Surviving public speaking as a beginner is a *huge* barrier to success for adult learners, and a big reason many people never start. As part of his motivation is tied to speaking with his mother in law, I’m sure this won’t be the end of the “Mark Zuckerberg speaks Mandarin” story— I’ll look forward to seeing where he takes this in the next few years. Kudos!
“In summary, for such an influential figure to step out and have a go at speaking the world’s most spoken (by number of native speakers) language, in one of the world’s most influential countries, is indeed a noteworthy occurrence, and a good piece of public relations on the part of Zuckerberg. It shows not only his outlook towards a country who still bars his company from its market, but also a great example of senior leaders accepting the fact that the world does not in fact revolve around English.”