- Mandarin Chinese is the most commonly spoken language in the world and is becoming increasingly common as a second language to learn. But what you may not know is which famous people are also learning the language and can dabble in some Mandarin, or more than dabble in some cases, let’s take a look at the big names.
- Streep learned a famous Tang dynasty poem in 2011, intending to recite it on stage in China accompanied by cellist Yo-Yo Ma, but got cold feet and used English
- Nine years on, Stephen Colbert challenged her to recite it, and the Chinese internet lit up. But there are other celebrities who are fluent in Chinese
On The Late Show with Stephen Colbert earlier this month, the host asked the award-winning actress whether she remembered an incident – cited by former US president Barack Obama briefly in his new book The Promised Land – in which she spoke Chinese to him.
Streep recalled that she learned the four-line poem while on a trip to the Chinese capital, Beijing, in 2011, but was so terrified she would get the Chinese wrong, she got cold feet and couldn’t say it on stage.
“I went with [cellist] Yo-Yo Ma to Beijing for a cultural exchange concert in the Bird’s Nest stadium. I was going to [recite] it first in English, then in Chinese, as Yo-Yo weaves his music in between. We practised it [in Chinese], but in the end, I chickened out,” she said.
The poem, called The Deer Range, by Wang Wei, is about the poet’s appreciation for nature’s tranquillity. Colbert asked her to recite the poem in Chinese on the spot – and she did. Although the actress did not get the tones of some of the characters right, internet users in China were impressed that she could so vividly remember the poem after nine years.
Watch here –> Meryl Streep reads ‘Luchai’ by Wang Wei and ‘A Letter to Agnes DeMille’ by Martha Graham featuring Yo-Yo Ma performing George Crumb’s ‘Sonata for Solo Cello’.
‘Luchai’ by Wang Wei
There seems to be no one on the empty mountain…
And yet I think I hear a voice，
Where sunlight， entering a grove，
Shines back to me from the green moss.
71岁的好莱坞巨星梅丽尔·斯特里普（Meryl Streep）在2011年曾应邀前往北京进行文化交流，当时还与闻名世界的大提琴家马友友一同登台表演，9年的时间过去，她近日接受知名主持人斯蒂芬·科尔伯特（Stephen Colbert）的采访时，竟当场再度背诵了当年表演的中文诗，惊人的记忆力让不少粉丝都相当吃惊。
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