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Burkina Faso student wins Mandarin speech contest with humor

2011/12/13 14:36:00

Taipei, Dec. 12 (CNA) Pare Joagni from Burkina Faso drew the most laughs as well as the first prize at a Mandarin speech competition organized by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA) Monday for foreign students studying in Taiwan.

Joagni, speaking in fluent Mandarin, joked during his speech that he worked hard to learn the language because he wanted to be "Taiwan's first black president."

But he worried that President Ma (Ying-jeou) would want him to return to Burkina Faso as soon as possible if he told Ma his intentions, he said.

Joagni was among 11 African students from Burkina Faso, Gambia, Swaziland, and Sao Tome and Principe attending the speech contest for Africans studying in Taiwan. He was also the winner of the same contest last year.

During his five-minute speech, Joagni sparked laughter among the judges and the audience by recalling the mistakes he made when communicating with local residents shortly after he arrived in Taiwan.

He said he once asked a "pretty girl" on street to correct his pronunciation. "Wearing my brightest smile, I said 'Miss, wo you yi ge wen ti xiang yao wen ni (I want to ask you a question).'"

But the girl was scared off because she heard "wen ni (kiss you)," he said.

He also pronounced "yi wan shui(3) jiao (a bowl of dumplings)" as "yi wan shui(4) jiao (sleeping for one night)."

Though the phrases sound similar, they have different tones. (By Emmanuelle Tzeng and Elizabeth Hsu) enditem/sc/ls