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Self-taught fruit vendor goes viral with English

By Li Hongyang | | Updated: 2024-01-08 14:41
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Near the Chengdu Research Base of Giant Panda Breeding in Sichuan province, Xie Hongying, a fruit vendor, has gained online fame for her proficiency in English.

Passersby often commend her excellent English skills, with some recalling watching her videos online. She has amassed nearly 49,000 followers on her social media accounts so far.

In a viral short video, she introduces her figs to customers from overseas, quoting prices in fluent English.

The top comment under the video joked that "undergraduates would cry and postgraduates would collapse" upon hearing the middle school graduate's language skills.

On Dec 27, Jimu News reported that a Malaysian tourist, impressed by Xie's English, purchased a bag of figs. The tourist told Jimu News that it is rare to encounter English-speaking vendors in China. Different dialects spoken by vendors make communication harder, while English makes things easier.

Xie, 49, a resident of Jianyang, Sichuan province, has been selling fruits for six years, transitioning from various jobs with modest incomes.

She decided to learn English by herself a few years ago after struggling to communicate with a customer through gestures.

Using an English-Chinese dictionary, Xie started with phonetics and practiced by describing everyday items such as plastic baskets, leaves and flowers.

Over time, she became proficient in English, receiving comments of "Good English" from a customer from overseas.

Xie has become a local celebrity among vendors near the base. She remains humble about her online fame, saying it hasn't significantly impacted her sales. Despite encouragement to diversify her fruit offerings, she was quoted as saying she cannot carry heavy loads or sell them.

The brief fame in 2019 did not bring substantial changes to her life, the Jimu news reported. Looking ahead, Xie expressed a simple hope for improved business and a better life.

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