A note on fluency

The Dalai Lama calls himself “a simple Buddhist monk” and in a gesture of humility, talks about speaking “broken English.” If you watch a few minutes of this talk and interview with him, you’ll see what he means.

But Chan, his translator who’s beside him and who has co-authored two books with the Dalai Lama, says he’s actually a very competent English speaker. Even when the Tibetan leader breaks basic grammar rules, Chan says his delivery is idiosyncratic and powerful:

“He can easily talk in English non-stop without notes for an hour and a half and hold his audience spellbound.”

I think, we can all learn from the Dalai Lama. His English may be ‘broken’ and simplistic in the traditional sense of the word, yet he is able to talk about things like neuroscience, quantum physics and psychology, and capture the attention of his audience.

In my view, he is a fluent and fantastic English speaker.

Do you agree?


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