Nine-year-old speaking champion

Whether speaking English from a pre-planned script or speaking “off the cuff” (without planning), nine-year-old Onrampha Souvannavong from Sriwittayapaknam School is a champion.

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This was first published in September 2012

Speaking in a second language is not easy when someone suddenly puts a microphone in your hand and turns on their video camera – even if you are a national speech contest winner like nine-year-old Onrampha Souvannavong from Sriwittayapaknam School. I think she did very well under the circumstances.

The speech, following the script

The first example from Onrampha is clearly memorised, the same speech she gave at the National Speech Contest 2012 held recently in Bangkok by the Office of the Basic Education Commission (Obec). Onrampha was the winner for Prathom 1-3 (Grade 1-3) category. You'll quickly notice that she speaks English very clearly and naturally.

Watch and listen and then read what she had to say if you need to.

Hello, my name is Onrampha Souvannavong. Today I will talk about my parents, my heroes. There are many friends that I have that love to watch and play with heroes. But today I'm going to talk about my hero. My hero is my mother. Mother or Mum is the most important person in my life. Nobody was born without a mother. Mothers would like to see a child and children grow to be a good person. My mother is kind. She is also like my teacher. She teaches me lots of stuff such as manners. She always teaches me how to speak politely to my seniors and the elder people. She also taught me how to save electricity, such as always turning the lights and electricity off. I'm happy to be the daughter of my mother.

On August 12th its Mother's Day. It's Her Majesty the Queen Sirikit's [birthday]. She is the model mother of all Thai people. She respects and helps Thai people to be a good person and have better lives. Also on Mother's Day I shall give a jasmine garland, which is the symbol of Mother's Day.  And tell my mother "I shall always love you Mum because you are my hero". Thank you for your attention.

Speaking off the cuff

The second speaking task was a bit more difficult since it was “off the cuff”, done without having a chance to plan what she was going to say. She was given the task of explaining how she learned English so well. Here she really proves she can speak English without the need for memorisation.

Hello, my name is Onrampha Souvannavong. Today I will speak about how I was an ???? speaker.

I always speak English with the mother and watch cartoons every day in (the original) sound track. I always speak (English) to my little sister and learn with my teachers. I will pay attention to my teachers and be a lovely student to my teachers so I can be very good at English. I also learn English at home, at school and also at anywhere that I go. I will speak English with my father, my mother and my little sister.

My little sister is Sasathorn Souvannavong. I am very happy she is with me and speaking English with me like a friend. So all the people that think they are very good at English, I would like for you to do your homework and practice, practice and practice. It's just how you set the environment. So I would like everyone to try English. Bye, bye.