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ND hosts language contest

Wei Lin | Monday, April 15, 2013

Participants showcased weeks of preparation Friday during the Chinese Program’s Sixth Annual Chinese Speech Contest, which featured elaborate skits, dialogues and monologues.

Students from all five Chinese language levels participated in the contest, which took place in the auditorium of the Hesburgh Center. The judges, which including faculty from Notre Dame and other schools, evaluated the performances and distributed awards for each grade level.

“Our primary goal in organizing this event is to promote the study of Chinese at Notre
Dame and to foster a sense of community among our language students,” Chinese associate teaching professor Chengxu Yin said. “We believe the speech contest provides an excellent opportunity for students to get to know each better and for students at lower levels to witness what they can achieve at higher levels.”

The performances progressed from the beginner level to more advanced levels. The skits and dialogues were presented in Chinese and accompanied by PowerPoint slides that provided the English translations.

“Everyone there enjoyed every moment and every performance,” Chinese language visiting assistant professor Yanjing Wang said.

Sophomore Audrey McMurtrie and freshman Camilla Mampieri  performed a spoof of the popular “ND Confessions” Facebook page. The pair collected “confessions” from a number of Chinese students through Facebook, translated them and then turned them into a skit.

Dominic Romeo, a fifth-year Chinese student, and George Liu, a fourth-year Chinese student, debated whether or not Taiwan is an independent country. Liu argued against independence, and Romeo argued for the recognition of the country. Romeo said the issue is a very controversial debate being discussed frequently in Chinese and Taiwanese politics.

Contestants were nominated by classmates and approved by professors, entirely based off of their performance in classes. After a student committed to participate in the contest, professors worked with them to correct their scripts and to help them practice their speaking skills.

Chinese professors also prepared songs in Chinese for the event. They took popular Chinese songs, wrote new lyrics and created a video featuring pictures from classes, Chinese events and the previous year’s contest.

The lyrics expressed the students’ dedication to studying the language, support for the Chinese Program and love for the University. Students of all grade levels joined to sing the two songs at the conclusion of the contest.

“That moment, perhaps more than any other during the year, captured the essence of the passion and enthusiasm that truly distinguishes Notre Dame’s Chinese department,” Romeo said.

Romeo said this year’s speech contest was a major success.

“Students from all levels demonstrated the growth of their language skills that has taken place over the course of the last year,” Romeo said. “A wide range of exciting and entertaining topics were covered, keeping students, teachers, and other members of the crowd highly engaged.”

Although measures can be taken to improve attendance of the event, Yin said this year’s event showed huge promise for coming years.

“This year we had the largest attendance ever,” Yin said “The Hesburgh auditorium was packed beyond capacity, with many students having to sit on the floor … I am very proud of what the Chinese Program has done to promote Chinese studies at Notre Dame.”