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

  1. w3ss

    w3ss New Member

    Hello.

    I was born in the States and trying to get my kids to learn more Chinese. My parents speak Cantonese and Mandarin with the kids so that helps a lot.
     
    #121
  2. Jay Lau

    Jay Lau New Member

    Hi,

    Our family is in the United States and my kids are almost 6 and 3. I am teaching them Cantonese and my husband is teaching them Spanish.
     
    #122
  3. TTY

    TTY New Member

    Hi,

    Hello to everyone from Toronto, Canada!

    We are overseas Cantonese Chinese with two kids, 3 and 1. I am essentially literate (tho learned everything overseas, so it's not solid) and essentially fluent (tho I do find it difficult crossing between canto and english smoothly). Their father is a typical overseas cantonese with limited language skills, but trying.

    We want our kids to feel a strong connection to cantonese chinese and enjoy all it has to offer. We are struggling to decide how best to structure the home language environment. We are trying to have a cantonese immersive home, but since English will soon dominate their life at school, we not sure how long we can keep it up or if there are any tips/successes anyone has?

    Thanks for putting this site together!
    Tina
     
    #123
    Flo Toronto likes this.
  4. Flo Toronto

    Flo Toronto New Member

    Hi Tina,

    I'm so thrilled to see your post because until you joined, there were only two members in the GTA! I'm living in North York since 3 years already.

    I'm native Cantonese and speak exclusively Cantonese to my boy (absolutely no code-mix or code-switch) while his Anglo-Canadian daddy speaks English to him. That means I not only communicate with him in Cantonese on a day-day-basis but also teach him Chinese (both Cantonese and Mandarin) in Cantonese and give him metalinguistic awareness (advising him the WHY and HOW of his bilingual/ multilingual childhood)

    Over these years, by a lot of research and trials, I've finally got my son's Chinese learning better structured. But soon as he goes to school, the acquisition of Chinese will be like an uphill battle. Let's see how he gets on later :)

    Cheers,
    Florence
     
    #124
  5. TTY

    TTY New Member

    Hi Florence,

    So nice to receive your message! We are not too far from you, in midtown.

    Kudos to you for providing such an enriched language environment for your son. How did you decide on teaching both Mandarin and Cantonese when teaching him Chinese? Does it help with the metalinguistic awareness (fyi: its the first time I've heard of this term, so thank you for sharing that with me)?

    Do you read to him in Cantonese? If so, do you convert the text to spoken Cantonese or try to use literary Cantonese? I struggle with this as well, as I am not sure what is best or appropriate for my son's age.

    We were also not sure if having a single language at home in the early years was better or to have the one parent, one language approach. We hope to give him daily exposure to cantonese/chinese text, somehow, but again, still trying to find out what is best and what works. Right now, cartoons is the only thing that we are sure will get his attention.

    We are likely registering him for Saturday classes at MonSheong, but we know just having the one day of classes is not enough. Are you going to teach chinese to your son, yourself?

    Nice to meet you,
    Tina
     
    #125
  6. Flo Toronto

    Flo Toronto New Member

    Hi Tina,

    Thanks for your quick reply and compliments. Nice to meet you too :)

    I work very hard on my son's Chinese because it's very important for me to pass along the mother tongue and myself and my parents. Nowadays, as China is getting stronger and stronger, many Hong Kong parents here are trying to get their kids to learn Cantonese for family/ heritage and Mandarin for future opportunities. The other reason is that I am myself a linguist by bachelor's degree :) So I was aware of the importance of metalinguistic awareness earlier on. I believe that thanks for my communication of this to my boy, he knows how languages work better than the kids without. For example, he understands what classifier is about (e.g. a piece of, a loaf of) because in Chinese there are many classifiers and we have to add one before saying almost every noun.

    For now, I'm still reading story books to him in colloquial Cantonese because I want to make the reading enjoyable. On Sagebooks, I am reading literary Chinese because these are supposed to train him literacy.

    I've no choice but to use the OPOL strategy because my husband is an Anglo-Canadian. But I totally understand your struggle between OPOL and ML@H. There are many factors to consider. For example, it's, in general,good the best when both parents speak naturally in each of their 1st language. But if there's only one speaking Chinese, children will have less exposure. But with good strategies, the less exposure quantity-wise can be made up by good exposure quality-wise, like what I'm doing.

    My son will soon be finishing K1 level of Chinese class in Cantonese & traditional characters at Mon Sheong (Friday night session in North York) and we'll be enrolling him on K2 for the coming September. So far he really likes it! I'm fluent but not native in Mandarin, so for now I'm using SageBooks to teach train him basic literacy and Mandarin at the same time. He's enjoying this too because I try to relate the texts to his day-to-day life as much as possible.

    And even in here there is a metalinguistic awareness thing: I told him why in MonSheong he's learning Chinese in Cantonese and why over Sagebooks at home he's learning Chinese in Mandarin.

    If you'd like to meet some more like-minded moms, I recommend you to join this group who keep trying to organize Chinese speaking meet-ups.
    Mandarin/Cantonese kiddo meetups (downtown)
    https://www.facebook.com/groups/194958077766306/
    As you are living in Midtown, I think we could also meet up for playdates on our own too? Or we could also exchange tel# for more discussion by phone conversation or Whatsapp, which is less time-consuming than writing here :)
     
    #126
    TTY likes this.
  7. TTY

    TTY New Member

    Hi Florence,

    Thanks for the tips and link. I've come across Sagebooks in passing but not sure if I'm the person that should teach my kids ... Do you recommend them?

    In any case, let me PM you, in a bit, with # etc ...
     
    #127

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