2017 "Shared Joy in Jiangsu" Chinese Speech Contest for Foreigners sets positive tone in Wuxi
Zhang Qi, also a first prize winner. He is proficient not only in Chinese mandarin, but also in dialects popular among the Jiangnan area (the region south of the Yangtze River), Southwest China’s Guizhou province and East China’s Fujian province. [Photo provided to ec.js.edu.cn]
Zhang Qi, a first year student studying at the business school of Jiangnan University, talked about his initial confusion when mistakenly thought to be an overseas Chinese.
The young American soon figured out how to deal with those moments and followed his heart to delve into Chinese culture.
From telling a children’s folk story in Wuxi dialect to chatting freely in the local accent with villagers living in remote areas of Southwest China (people there do not normally speak Chinese mandarin), Zhang regards the dialect as a regional treasure, a cultural bond connecting people, and is willing to do his bit.
“It’s only the mother language that can walk into others’ hearts,” the young man said.