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Judgement about language proficiency

Judgement calls

At a time when globalization and interactions between nations and people from various cultural backgrounds is so high, we’ve become incredibly conscious of our language competencies and how we may appear to the other people. Accents, mother tongue influences and perhaps the fact that you may be using the wrong words, terrifies us.

I remember reading a funny story once, and I’ll share that with you:

V. K. Wellington Koo (1887-1985) was a distinguished Chinese diplomat who held a Ph.D in international law and diplomacy from Columbia University. Dr. Koo served at various times as China’s ambassador to France, Great Britain and the United States. He was also an international statesman who helped found both the League of Nations and the United Nations.

Once, Dr. Koo was invited to give an after-dinner speech at Princeton University. As there was no head table on this occasion, Dr. Koo found himself seated next to a burly football player who hadn’t the faintest idea of who he was. During the first course of the dinner, the football player, in a lame effort to make conversation turned to Dr. Koo and asked, “Likee soup?” Dr. Koo smiled and said nothing.

In due course, Dr. Koo was invited to mount the rostrum. He then delivered a speech that was not only learned and elegant, but witty and diverting as well. Amid the thunderous applause that followed, Dr. Koo returned to his table, smiled indulgently at the by now thoroughly abashed football player and inquired, “Likee speech?”

While some of you may be laughing, the harsh reality is that we’ve all been there. We’re still so quick to judge someone’s language proficiency, based on what they look like. And similarly, you may find yourself conscious of being judged as well.

Do not let your cultural background or nationality intimidate you from speaking out and practicing.

Immersing yourself in a facilitated environment that allows you to make mistakes and be corrected, is key to gaining that confidence, minimizing your mistakes and becoming a Dr Koo.

(narrative taken from“ Likee Speech?” | Pundit Wire)

“Likee Speech?” | Pundit Wire