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Discussion in 'General Discussion' started by Andrew, Feb 17, 2015.

  1. Andrew

    Andrew Administrator
    Staff Member

    #21
    xoAims likes this.
  2. Andrew

    Andrew Administrator
    Staff Member

    Hi Nick :) love the blog, it's really good and would be of a lot of interest to Mandonese parents. I'm wondering what kind of resources you use to teach Mandarin to your daughter, as you're not a native speaker. I see that you take classes with her and visit websites - what have you found is the most effective method?
     
    #22
  3. Rachel

    Rachel New Member

    Hello Andrew, I know Zhuyin (ㄅㄆㄇㄈ) is not easy for a foreigner, however this is what I learnt in Taiwan around 4 or 5 years old. I am more comfortable to teach Zhuyin to my son and I was a kindergarten teacher in Taiwan, I teach kids Zhuyin. My husband and I were discussed what should I teach our son and him either Zhuyin or Pinyin, we decided teach them (my son and my husband) Zhuyin, even my husband also find out Pinyin is mush easier for him, however I am not comfortable teach Pinyin. Zhuyin also help you how to write Chinese not drawing Chinese actually and also help pronunciation more accurate. My son will go to school next year, he can and will learn Pinyin naturally.
     
    #23
  4. Rachel

    Rachel New Member

    Hi Andrew,

    FYI
    Actually you don't need a special keyboard to type Chinese at all. I am using UK keyboard in the office or at home and I need to type some Chinese for work. You just need to remember all the Zhuyin in which English letters of the alphabet.
     
    #24
  5. Andrew

    Andrew Administrator
    Staff Member

    Thanks Rachel- I understand that it's possible to type Zhuyin without the keyboard if you memorise the placement of each character but it's very hard unless you are a touch typer, and nearly impossible for a beginner to learn without a Zhuyin keyboard!
     
    #25
    Rachel likes this.
  6. CantoMumYin

    CantoMumYin New Member

    Hi all! I'm a mum based in Hertfordshire. I grew up learning Chinese (cantonese) in London on Saturdays and did the gcse as well as A levels. I did quite well too.I taught Cantonese in a small scale school on Saturdays when I was in uni for 5 years in Archway and really enjoyed it. I note have a 3 year old and I take her back to Archway for the CantoSing sessions when we can. I'm planning to teach my daughter characters this summer but have been teaching her all 3 languages (cantonese, mandarin and English) since birth. Nice to meet everyone and I must say I've found this forum very useful.
     
    #26
  7. Andrew

    Andrew Administrator
    Staff Member

    Hey CantoMumYin, thanks for signing up! We are doing a similar thing with all 3 languages with our 3 year old as well. Cantonese is currently the strongest, followed by English and then Mandarin. How are you finding it, are you doing the OPOL (one parent one language) method?
     
    #27
  8. TeachKidsChinese

    TeachKidsChinese New Member

    Hi everyone!

    My name is Sam, and my wife's name is MiaoMiao. I am from the US, she is from ShanDong, China. We live in the US now, and I am finishing up medical school and will be starting radiology training soon. We have 3 boys ages 5 and under. I have spent 2 years in Taiwan and have intermediate / advanced mandarin skills. We speak Chinese at home and feel like our boys are very bilingual. It's definitely a struggle, and a year ago we started a blog to share resources that we found useful to teach our kids Chinese (www.teachkidschinese.com). Glad I found this site and I hope we can all benefit from sharing tips and resources!
     
    #28
  9. Chaak

    Chaak New Member

    Hello all! This is Chaak from Hong Kong. I have two kids and we speak to them in Cantonese all the time. Parents here love to send their kids to English-speaking kindergartens and most learning resources are in English / written Chinese. I've had a hard time finding good Cantonese children's books / videos, and one day I saw the Cantonese Peppa Pig clips on youtube - and that's what brought me to here!

    BTW I teach Cantonese at HKU. I'd love to hear what difficulties you've had and what sort of resources would be helpful :)
     
    #29
  10. Andrew

    Andrew Administrator
    Staff Member

    Hey welcome Chaak! It's funny how in the UK we are desperate for Cantonese material, but in Hong Kong they are trying equally hard to immerse kids in English.

    It's great that you are a Cantonese teacher! If you have any ideas or tips about the website please let me know :). I think an issue we are going to have is to develop a Chinese/Cantonese curriculum for our son when he gets to 4 years old, I wonder if you have any input on that or your own experience. How old are your kids?
     
    #30
    Chaak likes this.
  11. Andrew

    Andrew Administrator
    Staff Member

    Hi Sam, welcome to the site! Your kids are super cute, and they seem to be learning Chinese very nicely!

     
    #31
    TeachKidsChinese likes this.
  12. Chaak

    Chaak New Member

    My kids are much younger (2.5 and 1yo), and HK is Cantonese-dominant, so I haven't done much planning yet. The only thing that I'm consciously doing, is that I try to minimise Mandarin input at all cost.

    (I also fear that they would use a lot of Mandarin words in their spoken Cantonese if I read Chinese storybooks to them, so I've started translating children's books into Cantonese. They won't know enough words to read the stories themselves anyway so this will not affect their written language at all. )
     
    #32
  13. Andrew

    Andrew Administrator
    Staff Member

    It's funny that you are trying to limit the Mandarin input, what's your worry? Is it just about the written language being confusing for written Mandarin and spoken Cantonese, or is it something else?
     
    #33
  14. Mandarin Mama

    Mandarin Mama New Member

    Hi everyone! I'm Virginia and I was born and raised in California (ABC). My parents are originally from Taiwan and I am fluent in spoken Mandarin (no Taiwanese, alas!) and likely have only a few hundred Chinese characters down despite 12 years of Saturday Chinese School. (Although I can read very well if I have zhuyin or pinyin on the side! Is that even considered an achievement?)

    My husband is half Japanese American and half German American and speaks only English. My kids (2009, 2011, and 2013) are fluent in both Mandarin and English and can read both Traditional and Simplified Chinese (about 150 characters). My oldest two children attend two home-based Chinese preschools and I hope to continue their Chinese language learning when I homeschool my son in the Fall for Kindergarten.

    I am a SAHM and write at Mandarin Mama about raising my children bilingual in Mandarin and English; my personal struggles and reflections; books; and issues regarding race, Christianity, sex, and justice. I do a weekly Friday post featuring different Chinese resources for parents teaching their kids Chinese

    I look forward to being part of this group!
     
    #34
  15. ducky_yeung

    ducky_yeung New Member

    Hello. I'm Shuk Tak born and bred London, UK. Parents are from HK. I speak English, Cantonese and a little Mandarin.

    Many moons ago I used to attend Chinese school at the weekend, got bored and mum allowed me to quit. After a break of 1-2 years, I restarted learning Chinese after rediscovering the interest in the language. After GSCE I moved onto A Levels but then I couldn't see the point of Chinese literature because it wasn't practical therefore moved to learning Mandarin where I learnt bopomofo from a Taiwanese teacher and later pinyin from a Beijing teacher for about a year. That said, many years (make that about 2 decades) later .... I am interested in Chinese literature and completed an online course for a challenge (what a killer) 中國古代歷史與人物--秦始皇. Again, like others, what you don't use, you lose, so now Mandarin speaking skills are rusty but listening is ok (it's all those Chinese dramas)

    My terrible half is also a British Born Chinese and parents from HK, can speak Cantonese but prefers English. He also learnt Chinese at weekends but unfortunately he never liked it.

    We have one son who is going to be 5 years old next month. He predominately speaks English, understands Cantonese and can speak it when required. Very out of the blue he asked to learn Chinese. I asked him which dialect he would like to learn, but he couldn't tell the difference between Cantonese and Mandarin. So I asked him whether he wants to sing some Cantopop or Mandopop (note, with example youtube clips). He is a big fan of Jay Chou, Wang Lee Hom and May Day. So, as you might guess he chose Mandarin. He recently attended a taster lesson in Non Native Yr1 Mandarin class and he really enjoyed it. He even taught dad how to write and say a few characters (simplified). He is up for starting Chinese school in September. Let's see how that goes.

    Now, the fun begins as I turn to this and other resources to figure out a few things like:
    • Should I teach kid traditional Chinese too because the school uses simplified form? (regardless of the fact that I am pro-traditional)
    • If teaching both traditional and simplified Chinese then how best to achieve a good result without confusion?
    • When to use Cantonese / Mandarin / English?
    • Will learning pinyin confuse with Read Write Inc phonic system being taught in school?
    • etc
     
    #35
    Andrew likes this.
  16. Jackie

    Jackie New Member

    You should start a new thread. More people will reply then
     
    #36
  17. AndrewC

    AndrewC New Member

    We are trilingual family Cantonese, Mandarin but no English allowed at home except at school. To overcome Traditional Chinese at Mandarin Chinese School issue, we have deliberately chosen a Taiwanese Chinese School for our children. It is harder for the children but they speak Mandarin to each other while wife and I speak Cantonese.
     
    #37
  18. Andrew

    Andrew Administrator
    Staff Member

    It sounds like your son is keen to learn Mandarin which is fantastic. You have a choice at the moment between traditional vs simplified writing and a range of different phonetic systems. The simplest solution would be to find a school or lessons (or a tutor) who teaches the systems you believe in. It sounds like you prefer traditional, so I would try my best to find a traditional teacher or set of classes. Obviously this isn't always practical, but you could always supplement your current classes with a private tutor, for example a Taiwanese tutor who teaches traditional Chinese.

    In terms of complexity - it is always easier to learn the complex and then simplify. Traditional readers can normally read simplified Chinese, but not the other way round as you mentioned. I also feel this way with Cantonese and Mandarin - because Cantonese has more complex tones, it's easier to learn Cantonese first and then Mandarin later, rather than the other way round.

    I'm not totally sure what 'Read Write Inc phonic system' is but I imagine it's substantially different from bopomofo and pinyin, although you should teach everything and review frequently to avoid confusion. When I was growing up I learned bopomofo but never mastered it and frequently got confused with pinyin and didn't get much support, which left me a bit handicapped in terms of reading Chinese. Now I much prefer pinyin as a phonic system as I don't need to relearn that set of bopomofo symbols.

    In terms which language to speak at home - the main theory (my wife can probably confirm as she is a speech and language therapist) is OPOL - one parent one language. Your model at home sounds a lot like ours - my wife speaks Cantonese to our son, and I speak Mandarin, and try not to mix. He learns his English from nursery and from school. When we forget the words when reading stories, the best way is to use a dictionary like the QingWen app which can translate English/Mandarin/Cantonese and can pronounce the words out loud for you. Obviously my Mandarin isn't perfect so will supplement with words from other languages. This can also be handy as our son has learned to 'switch' between languages very seamlessly now, and will ask about words in languages he doesn't know.

    I would encourage your other half to speak predominantly in Cantonese and for you to continue to speak Mandarin. If you feel like the language is rusty or you aren't confident, I would brush up and try to learn at the pace of your son so you can use it and interact with him in those languages as he grows up. As you said, you have to use it otherwise you'll lose the language ability, and that applies to the children and the parents too.
     
    #38
  19. gracelung

    gracelung New Member

    Hi All,

    I'm Grace and I'm an Australian Born Chinese! Your forum is so useful!
    Though I was born in Oz, I went to Cantonese school so I could read/write/speak. However now that I've been married a number of years to a non-Cantonese speaker (also ABC), it's all going down the drain as I only use Chinese when I see my parents (2-3 times a year). I spent a year learning Mandarin voluntarily and really enjoyed, so I can listen/read but need practice speaking.

    I have one child who is currently 1, but I get asked whether I'll teach her Chinese or not. I would love her to learn Cantonese and Mandarin. The city I live in, Brisbane, has more Mandarin speakers, and Mandarin is taught at some primary schools. However I want her to learn some Cantonese.

    I recently lamented to my ABC friends that it's so hard to teach our third-generation kids Chinese and all of us agreed but we couldn't find any resources. Thankfully this forum is a great start!
     
    #39
  20. Andrew

    Andrew Administrator
    Staff Member

    Hi Grace welcome to Mandonese! Glad you are finding the resources useful! Let me know if you need help or advice with anything.

    What language are you speaking to your child? It's never too late to get started, and I highly recommend for one parent to speak Cantonese and the other to speak Mandarin.
     
    #40

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