‘Jeopardy!’ contestant learned English growing up with help of the game show

Kristyna Ng did not know any English when she moved to Canada from China for grade two. In addition to her English as a second language course, the now-corporate strategist for the City of Calgary had some help from two popular game shows: “Wheel of Fortune” and “Jeopardy!”

Ng said “Wheel of Fortune” helped her and her little sister learn English letters, words and linguistic concepts like nouns.

“Getting into ‘Jeopardy!’ immediately after ’Wheel of Fortune’ added another layer of complexity, now you put words into sentences or questions. It was such a creative tool because I got to listen to how to the rhythm of the sentence, the syntax, as well as acquiring the information and knowledge base that I did not have,“ Ng said.

“So from when I was 8 all the way up to my teenage years, I acquired more knowledge, starting with zero, not getting any information correct, and then building that up and that really led to my love of learning,” Ng said. “It was the soundtrack of my life.”

Ng said that she met her husband in 2005 and bonded over a shared intellect. The couple would go on to become passionate trivia players when a mutual friend, impressed by Ng’s trivia skills, suggested that she take the “Jeopardy!” online test.

After progressing through many steps in a selective, several months-long process, Ng said she got a voicemail in October 2019 offering for her to come down to compete on the show in December.

“I think I almost fell off my chair, I was so excited. It was totally unexpected,” Ng said.

Ng’s episode aired on Feb. 11, 2020. After the Final “Jeopardy!” round, Ng would ultimately place second. She said she has received messages of praise and support from Canadians and strangers across the world. Fellow Chinese Canadians and others from Hong Kong reached out to Ng to tell her how proud they were. 

“Alex came by afterwards and he spoke to me and he said ‘you should be very very proud of your performance, it was an American history clue, don’t be too hard on yourself for this outcome, you’ve done exceptionally well,’ so that is just so humbling and so endearing to me, to be standing on stage with a Canadian hero... I could not ask for anything more and I will take this experience with me for the rest of my life,” Ng said.

This story was reported from Los Angeles. This station is owned by the FOX Corporation.