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Saturday, March 21, 2015

Languages IN A SUITCASE - Presidents from the far east and English


Not always true... but
This is one of those stories that 'everyone has heard', but I don't recall ever seeing it in the mainstream press or even the gossip papers. Everybody I've asked has said they heard it from a friend or a co-worker.
Another reason I suspect this is an urban legend is because it involves two beliefs very prevalent in Japan these days. The first is that PM Mori is not the brightest bulb in the chandelier. The second is that even after years of study, Japanese people can't speak English (and yes, I know that's a flagrant over-simplification, but it's become the national mantra in recent years).

In 2000, Eight Countries Leaders Conference was held a in Okinawa, Japan. 
When the Japanese premier Yoshiro Mori met American president Clinton, he greeted him actively in English: 
Clinton: - How are ya?  
Because of Mori nonstandard pronunciation, he confused the compound vowel [ou] and simple vowel [ue],  he said 
MORI:  - Who are you?   instead of  How are you?  
Clinton was surprised by hearing that and wondered why Mori asked him such a question. He then answered humorously:  
Clinton: -  I am Hillary's husband!  
Mori didn't understand what Clinton said. He thought of the words his teacher told him---after you said how are you?  the other part would answered:  I am fine. Thank you, and you? Then you could say Me too. Then Mori said to Clinton with a full smile: 
MORI:  -  Me too.
Clinton astonished and wondered how could Mori said he was also Hillary's husband. He stopped talking to Mori immediately and turned away from the reporters.


Prime Minister Kevin Rudd speaking mandarin at APEC 2007.

The speech began in English. Then, breaking into Mandarin, Mr Rudd said: 
  • "Together with my wife and little daughter, I went to work in Beijing in the 1980s.
  • "My wife and I have a particular love for Beijing . We love the feeling of Beijing . We love the people of Beijing , and of course, its culture.
  • "Twenty years later, the little girl that we took to Beijing this April married a young man from the Australian Chinese community.
  • "My son has already been to Shanghai 's Fundan University to study. 
  • I also have a little boy, our youngest, who is in his early years of high school. He is really, really naughty -- he doesn't like doing his homework. But he has already begun his study of Chinese."
Under the gas deal, China 's biggest energy company will buy up to $45 billion of liquefied natural gas from Woodside Petroleum over the 20 years.While Wednesday was George W. Bush Day at APEC, yesterday belonged to President Hu -- and Kevin Rudd.
FOOTNOTE: Rudd resigned after losin' elections - sept 2013


Somehow India's been recognised as the nation of diversity: a macrocosmos in the microcosmos of a NATION.That means, with 325 recognised Indian Languages,

A dozen (or so) alphabets or scripts are used to write these languages: 
Devanagari (meaning "god of the city": Sanskrit writing), Bengali, Arabo-Persian, Gurmukhi, Gujarati, Oriya, Telugu, Kannada, Malayalam, Tamil, Latin and Tibetan.
Whereas Hindi is spoken as a first language by about 20% of Indians, English holds that status with fewer than 2% of the population (Anglo-Indians). 
Other MINORITY languages spoken by more than 25M  people include Bengali (70.5 M), Telugu (69.6 M), Marathi (68 M),Tamil (61.5 M), Urdu (48 M), Gujarati (45.4 M), Kannada (35,4 M), Malayalam (35.3 M), Oriya (31.6 M) and Punjabi (27 M). 
Together, these languages total 636 million speakers, or 64% of India's population.
the problems of overstating the importance of English in India as a force for economic growth. Still, despite its problematic nature as a vestige of colonialism, English remains useful in unifying such a linguistically diverse country.  (SEE NEWS HERE )

  • Government sources said Modi will have written points on which he will build his address. 
  • A big team of officials from Press Information Bureau, along with a team of translators, have been lined up for immediate conversion of the address into a written transcript.
  • Traditionally, the Prime Ministers read out a prepared text while addressing the nation on the Independence Day. However, Modi is known to deliver speeches extempore.

Following is the English rendering of the full speech, delivered in Hindi (FIRST TIME):

       My dear countrymen,   ........

Read more at:
New Delhi: Prime Minister Narendra Modi hoisted national flag at Red Fort on Friday and delivered an Independence Day speech that was being closely watched for announcements of major reforms, amid growing scepticism about his chances of quickly transforming the struggling economy.
Modi won the biggest mandate in 30 years at national elections in May on promises of creating much-needed jobs, attracting investment, cutting red-tape and cleaning up corrupt government.

But he has yet to deliver on the promised reforms, 

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