November 1st, 2011

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Slate Picky on Fluency

So this guy at slate decided that Huntsman is not fluent in Chinese after all because Huntsman spoke rather poor Mandarin on the Colbert Report.
http://www.slate.com/articles/news_and_politics/explainer/2011/10/is_jon_huntsman_fluent_in_chinese_.html

Back in the day when I both studied Chinese and took the course on teaching English as a foreign language (TOEFL), I was taught to measure fluency on a scale of 0-5, where 0=total unfamiliarity and 5=native speaker proficiency.

Mangling Mandarin in the fashion described (and I can speak from experience that Mandarin is damn easy to mangle) would still rate about a 3 on TOEFL.