Crystal Liu for Elle China Reading Eckert Tolles’ Stillness Speaks in Fluent English

Renowed C-actress classical beauty Crystal Liu gets her chance to play the now iconic role of fox goddess Bai Qian in Three Lives Three Worlds, Ten Miles Peach Blossoms in the movie adaptation Once Upon a Time coming out this weekend. The role has a bar set by Yang Mi‘s C-drama take but that performance had nearly 60 episodes to flesh out all the nuances especially in the three lives (and three personalities) involved. Crystal will have two hours so that’s asking for a lot especially since she’s not known as the best actress in sheer emotive talent. But she is showcasing another talent for Elle China magazine, sitting down for an interview where she read aloud a section from Eckhart Tolle’s spiritual tome Stillness Speaks. Her English ability is surprisingly good and goes a long way to explain how she can date K-actor Song Seung Heon for two years as neither speaks the other’s native language of Chinese/Korean. Falling back on English seems just fine for her and consider me impressed.

Crystal Liu reads “Stillness Speaks”:


Crystal Liu for Elle China Reading Eckert Tolles’ Stillness Speaks in Fluent English — 40 Comments

    • She had lived in the States. So ppl please read her background without judging her. And please don’t criticise her English.

      • English is also just another language. I don’t get why people have to be fluent in English to ‘prove’ their caliber.

  1. Why do so many English speakers feel the need/ desire to criticize another’s speaking skill. She can speak/ understand and is literate in both, which is more than what most people can say about themselves.

    • Yeah for the natives it’s their mother tongue, so it doesn’t need any extra effort, while for people who have English as their second or third language, they already are talented enough to be able to communicate fluently with others, so accent doesn’t prove anything IMO. It’s just something that comes to the people by born, they were privileged with it.

      • As someone who has struggled to learn another language, I always am super supportive of anyone going through the process. I only think it comes into play if someone is playing someone in a drama role who is supposed to be super awesome at speaking English and it ends up being not so.

        My grandfather lived in the US for over 40 years and never lost his accent but he could communicate and run his business.

  2. Defend her all you like, it’s an observation. I didn’t say it was a bad thing but you can tell it is a Chinese (who was not born overseas) speaking English. I just don’t like the accent, irritating.

    • So what if she has accent? She is a Chinese woman and her mother tongue is Chinese, which is completely different from English. Of course her intonation and accent are going to be a tad different from native speakers.
      People aren’t being defensive because they are her hardcore fans or anything, they are defensive because comments like yours are completely unnecessary. Her english is clear and perfectly understandable.

      • Like I said, it’s an observation and this is an open comment section. She should improve if she doesn’t want these comments.

      • @Abc
        She doesn’t need to improve her accent or intonation because her english is already fluent enough. Her accent is completely fine especially for someone who has been born and raised in a non-english speaking country. There is nothing to ’’fix’’, and she may improve only if she wants to, not because there is something to be improved so that she won’t get called ’’irritating’’.
        I feel people like you make fun of people like my parents for having a thick accent albeit they speak fluent and understandable english. No matter how highly educated they are, certain people would still look down upon them for their english. I suppose you’d find their speech irritating too… Well since this is a public comment section, I might voice out my opinion. In my observation, close-minded people can’t buy eloquence, sophistication, manners nor tact 🙂

      • Haha, she might want to ‘improve’ if she wants to take on a Hollywood role where there are other English speakers.
        @Gilgit, when did I look down upon her? Yes, she looks pretty, sophisticated but that doesn’t mean she can’t improve on something that can be worked on easily. Even without looking at her face, just by hearing her speak English I can tell her origin is Chinese.

      • @Gilgit, I don’t know what kind of accent your parents speak but I have never made fun of someone’s accent in RL. I am pointing out Crystal’s accent because she has offered to recite literature for the world to hear and there are many Chinese out there with better English accents than her.

  3. Chances are SSH doesn’t speak anywhere near good English though, and LYF is only barely fluent. They don’t seem like they can communicate.

    • I actually know a couple, who had no common language together but they learned enough english and their significant other’s native language to communicate and today they are still together for 20 years. They are a case of ’’love has no barriers’’. I’m sure if SSH and LYF are going to settle down and found a family, they’re either going to become more fluent in english or learn one another’s mother tongue, at least on conversational level.

  4. Well she is Chinese speaking English, as a non-native speaker accent is to be expected. It’s just a matter of personal opinion if someone’s irritated by the way she sounds. She’s quite good at it considering it’s not a language she speaks often!

    • @ Mina:

      I agree with you totally on this. Considering that she lived in the states only a few years I think her accent is not bad at all. It’s very hard to have perfect accent for all the languages when someone who is multi-lingual. I’m speaking from my own experience because I’m multi-lingual also (5 languages). It’s almost most certain that one can only has perfect accent with the 1st language unless be/she learns all of them at a very young age.

  5. her English is good! Why pick on her accent? Depending on where you live, the English accent may be different, even for locals with English as a first language. My grandmother used to joke that she is “bilingual” as she can speak British English and American English… coming from a European background, the choice of English words can be quite different in US vs UK… to me, the Kiwi accent is the most interesting and English is the official language… lol… so peace 🙂

  6. Seriously? As someone who works with a LOT of non-native English speakers, I’d say her accent is very mild (and IMO, quite pleasing). Based on her pronunciation, I’d guess that she has a high level of English proficiency.

    And let’s face it: we ALL have an accent. Crystal’s accent actually conforms much more closely to what’s considered the “General American Accent” than most native English speakers from places like Boston, Memphis, etc.

  7. Americans speak with an American accent, the Brits speak with a British accent, Australians speak with an Aussie accent…… everyone speaks with an accent. What you guys mean when you all say “accented English” is really just “English in an accent that sounds foreign to me”. The most important thing is to speak clearly. Props to Crystal and I really hope people stop putting “non-accented English” (whatever the heck that is) on a pedestal.

  8. There are Chinese out there who speak English without the Chinese accent. Crystal’s Chinese accent English sticks out like a sore thumb.

    • Those people have attended english-speaking (boarding) schools who have most likely had private english tutors, native speakers at that, or they have been born or raised in a foreign country. Some people are also linguistically more gifted than others. It’s pointless to get stuck on that aspect of them and criticize something they really can’t help, unless they build a time machine and tell their past selves to move in to an english speaking country in their formative childhood years.. 🙂

    • Yes! It’s called Asian Americans who speaks perfect English without the Chinese accent because they are born and raised in America?! English is our first language and our native language second. LY is Chinese with Mandarin as her native language English her second. I am Asian American (born in America) that speaks perfect English (no accent) but also my native language (I speak 3) fluently. Slightly confused at your comments about her accent and wondering if you’ve ever traveled to other countries to gain some aspects of the languages around the world and how they all speak English slightly different. If it irritates you don’t listen you have a choice? -Peace

    • The simple response to you is: so what? So what if there’s a Chinese accent? Who dictates that English must be spoken, or ideally has to be spoken, without an accent or without a Chinese accent? What is the normative basis for that? A Chinese accent is just like any other accent, neither superior nor inferior. You pointed out that there are Chinese who speak English without the Chinese accent. Well that’s a fact but so what? Why do you implicitly suggest that that is better or is to be emulated?

  9. It’s difficult and and typically unwise to judge English speaking proficiency based on recitation of a memorized script or a passage from literature. It does not actually demonstrate the breadth of their vocabulary or the proper use of verb tenses or even their ability to carry on a natural conversation. I googled other videos of her giving interviews in English and she’s definitely not fluent. She has limited vocabulary with a distinctive accent. For someone who has lived in the US for 4 years, it’s not that impressive.

    • @ Stargirl:

      Most people here were talking about her accent not her English skill. The thing about language is if you don’t use it often, you lose it.

      • Well, I was commenting on the article itself, not the other replies to the article. Koala was discussing Crystal’s English abilities but judging them based on a video that I thought was rather unreliable and insufficient evidence for English proficiency. I do agree that language needs practicing as I personally lost my knowledge of French within two years. However, she’s had opportunities to use her English afterwards, such as working abroad and dating a foreign boyfriend.

  10. to be able to speak a good 2nd language is already an accomplishment, now we need to speak english with english accent to be considered fluent?
    Michelle Yeoh speaks english her whole life and yet she still has her chinese accent. Unless you born and live English speaking country, it is not easy to get rid of your accent.

  11. A naive from Newfoundland (pronounced “New-Fin-land”) says I have an accent as a joke… hahaha… if any of you who knows a “NewFi” (pronounced “New-Fee”), they are the funniest people… lol… I speak Canadian-accented English which is my first language. Any accent that sounds foreign to the person speaking with an accent has an accent!! Listen to the Queen, is she the gold standard of proper English? Do you agree that all Americans speak with an accent different from the Queen?? LOLOL…

  12. @ABC you are so annoying constantly commenting on her accent. As long as she speaks clearly, that’s all that matters.

    • Agreed! Her speech is clear and voice is great.
      Her english is good. Period. Her accent is mild but it gives her character and I find it endearing.
      A lot of native speakers speak so unclearly and I oftentimes find their accent really annoying, so comparatively LYF’s english speech is really good. Of course spelling and intonation are different for people who have different mother tongues, but does that make their english any worse? I think this is a serious case of self hating, I know because a lot of Indians do the same thing – mocking the english speech of their own celebrities.

  13. As a non native speaker, her English pronunciation is decent enough. I’m specifically impressed by her intonation that a lot of Asian immigrants can’t manage to do well. I challenge those who are critical of her accent here. You’re sure you sound better and have a better command of a foreign language than LYF!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!??????????? LOL….Arrogance doesn’t get your points across.
    Coming from an Asian family, I understand how tough it is for first generation to speak clear and comprehensible English even after residing in the continent for decades, not to mention for a foreigner who has never set her root outside her own country. Her English presentation in the CF is commendable.

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