Tag Archives: speaking

How to Pronounce Chinese Names

People who don’t speak Chinese find it very difficult to pronounce Chinese names correctly. Chinese names are written using the pinyin transliteration system, in which some letters of the alphabet have very different sounds to English.

Here’s a handy table of the 25 most common Chinese surnames and how to pronounce them in English.

How to Pronounce Chinese Names graphic james kennedy monashClick to download PDF version.

Guo should pronounced “Gore”, for example, and Sun should be pronounced “Soon”. Zhou should be pronounced similar to “Joe” and Xie should be pronounced similar to the English word “Shear”.

Australia is the third most popular, and fastest-growing emigration destination for international students from China. There are around 20,000 Chinese students currently studying high-school examinations in Australia, and another 50,000 studying at universities and TAFEs.

The 6 Best Graduation Speeches on YouTube

graduation caps james kennedy monash

It’s graduation time for Year 12 students in Australia. Emotions are high as students reflect on their years at school and look forward to university and the many years of adulthood that lie ahead. Graduation is a time of emotional speeches and life advice, and this post is no exception.

Here are my six favourite graduation speeches on YouTube. Watch them and be inspired.

1. Steve Jobs on “connecting the dots” (2005)

“You can’t connect the dots looking forward; you can only connect them looking backwards. So you have to trust that the dots will somehow connect in your future. You have to trust in something — your gut, destiny, life, karma, whatever. This approach has never let me down, and it has made all the difference in my life.”

2. JK Rowling on “blaming your parents” (2008)

“There is an expiry date on blaming your parents for steering you in the wrong direction; the moment you are old enough to take the wheel, responsibility lies with you.”

3. Neil deGrasse Tyson on “thinking outside the box” (2012)

“You realize when you know how to think, it empowers you far beyond those who know only what to think. Now, let me tweet that”.

4. Oprah Winfrey on “doing what makes you come alive” (2013)

“Theologian Howard Thurman said it best. He said, ‘Don’t ask yourself what the world needs. Ask yourself what makes you come alive and go do that, because what the world needs is people who have come alive.'”

5. Bill Gates on “being an activist” (2007)

“Don’t let complexity stop you. Be activists. Take on the big inequities. It will be one of the great experiences of your lives.”

6. Barack Obama on “sacrifice and decency” (2009)

“Acts of sacrifice and decency without regard to what’s in it for you – those also create ripple effects – ones that lift up families and communities; that spread opportunity and boost our economy; that reach folks in the forgotten corners of the world who, in committed young people like you, see the true face of America: our strength, our goodness, the enduring power of our ideals.”

Know of any more that should be in this list? Share them in the comments section below.

Book: Presentation Skills for Students

Presentation Skills for Students

If monkey see, monkey do, then don’t read this book.
139 pages, ★

I learn by seeing and doing. I copy. Therefore, if a teacher uses a bullet lists on a PowerPoint presentation to tell me how to deliver an eloquent, engaging speech, then I’m really not going to learn. Actually, all I’d learn is how not to speak.

Presentation Skills for Students is a written embodiment of the PowerPoint bullet-list culture that most of us detest. This book tells me to speak up, project my voice, choose suitable fonts, colours and graphics, blah blah blah, but doesn’t deliver the information in a way that I find in any way engaging: it’s littered with dull, bulleted lists and emphasises theory over practice, which ironically contradicts the book’s purpose—to train good speakers.

Watch Obama’s speeches if you want to improve your speaking skills. Here’s an excellent one below. Learn from the best!

If you still insist on learning the theory, then watch this TED video as well, called “Talk Nerdy To Me”.

Presentation Skills for Students reminds me of the Fight Club corporate meeting scene with Microsoft (or in the film, a generic company), where the protagonist’s boss tinkers with the colours of his slides—and the leader replies, “efficiency is key, people”. The best part is that the author, not the character, is being ironic. Presentation Skills for Students is an equally pointless display of procrastination. Watch Obama instead. ★★