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.

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.