Of Sri Lankan descent, but teenager speaks Mandarin effortlessly

Ngee Ann Secondary School student Devni Chamodya Kaluarachchi's love affair with the Chinese language began when she was in Kindergarten 2 and attended classes in wushu, or Chinese martial arts. ST PHOTO: MARCELLIN LOPEZ
Ngee Ann Secondary School student Devni Chamodya Kaluarachchi's love affair with the Chinese language began when she was in Kindergarten 2 and attended classes in wushu, or Chinese martial arts. ST PHOTO: MARCELLIN LOPEZ

Student Devni Chamodya Kaluarachchi often takes Chinese hawkers by surprise when she slips effortlessly into Mandarin to buy food.

A Singaporean of Sri Lankan ethnicity, the 14-year-old began studying the language in kindergarten, following in her older brother's footsteps.

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A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on October 23, 2019, with the headline 'Of Sri Lankan descent, but teenager speaks Mandarin effortlessly'. Print Edition | Subscribe