On YouTube you can find speeches in Chinese by former Australian prime minister Kevin Rudd (Chinese name 陆克文), such as this and this and this. Now I'm tossing up whether or not this (or some similar official speech by a L2 Chinese speaker) would be beneficial to study to improve my Chinese. Thoughts:

  1. I don't know who wrote these speeches; it could have been a native Chinese speaker, or it could have been Kevin Rudd himself.

  2. I'm tempted to think that some of the structures used and and word choices made by Kevin Rudd may be particularly suited to an L2 Chinese learner; perhaps they're "just right" for making one's speech sound more fluent.

  3. Studying from L2 Chinese speakers might not be the best (even if they can speak in a professional setting), e.g., it'll almost certainly contain more mistakes than L1 Chinese speakers.

Question: Is studying speeches by e.g. Kevin Rudd especially beneficial for improving one's Chinese speaking skills?

  • Why even bother with non-native speakers? I find this question to be disingenuous. If you are an advanced speaker, why bother with the former PM? I would say that only people who are advanced enough to study interpretation might learn something from his mistakes. Otherwise, I really wouldn't bother with him. Finally, his accent is probably enough to show it isn't worth it. There are so many wonderful Chinese speakers in China and the diaspora. Why bother with this?
    – Lambie
    Commented Nov 12, 2022 at 20:11

1 Answer 1


In this interview from more than a decade ago, Kevin Rudd admits his "Mandarin speaking is very poor and getting worse" and that he "is still a one hundred percent foreigner" and that he "doesn't know many Chinese words".

This may be self-deprecation. From what I seen on Mr Rudd he seems to do a reason job of speaking Mandarin when required. See also this and this and this.

If you do study his speeches do study speeches by other people to get a diversified experience. As with all languages, the more diversified the experience, particularly with native speakers, the better.

  • There's no point in studying non-native speech when trying to learn a language and the question is very naive.
    – Lambie
    Commented Nov 12, 2022 at 18:47
  • 1
    @Lambie: Are you stating that learning a foreign language, including grammar, vocabulary & speech, from a non-native speaker, like many have done through the everyday school system is a waste of time & pointless? If so, I find your comment ill informed & pointless. Solely relying on a non-native speaker is bad practice but it can serve as an intermediary step & it can be instructional in showing how non-native speakers tackle a foreign language. In some situations it can also serve as a way of how not to do things, which is also important.
    – user13478
    Commented Nov 12, 2022 at 19:50
  • Teachers of an L2 presumably are trained and actually speak their L2. The guy referred to in the post is NOT a teacher and even says his Chinese is not very good. I was answering specifically for the OP's question. She is advanced enough to be better off with a native speaker than not. I am not ill-informed. And I don't think the OP is still in school (high school, anyway). I'd say that only someone training to be an interpreter should listen to him to figure out his mistakes. Interpreters are advanced plus, though.
    – Lambie
    Commented Nov 12, 2022 at 20:06

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.