After MM complaining Chinese is useless, I also noticed another change — it has become harder for them to form complete sentences. Their listening comprehension is still good. I continue to speak mandarin to them. However, they have stopped wanting to speak on the phone with grand parents. I think we are long overdue for a visit to Taiwan and see the grand parents.
I just bought the tickets and announce our pending travel plans to the children. They are so excited! I reminded them that we are going to speak Mandarin to Yeh Yeh (grand pa) and Nai Nai (grand ma) the whole time, and we’d better start practicing. They all agreed. MM even asked if they gets to go to schools in Taiwan. mmm, that is not a bad idea. Unfortunately, we are only staying for two weeks. Maybe next time we will stay longer and send them to summer camp.
I hope with the immersion environment, it will renew my children’s interest with Chinese. I plan to take MM and AA to train stations and visit night markets. This way, hopefully, MM will see how useful Chinese characters are.
I purchased the tickets and announced our travel plan to the children.
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Tagged bilingual, bilingual children, bilingual education, bilingualism, Chinese american, multiculture, Raising bilingual children, trilingual, trilingual children
My children, like many other multilingual children, don’t do party tricks, However, they do find it amusing to teach us the language that we don’t speak. My husband, a native German speaker, can barely speak ten words in Chinese. One day, our daughter AA thought of a fun game to play with papa. She started with her favorite animal (well, insect to be precise but she was four so we will let that one slide), ” Can you say butterfly in Deutsch?” “I can, schmetterling.” “can you say butterfly in Mandarin?” “no? it’s ok, I will teach you.” “ok? ready? say Hoo-Di-eh”
Papa was a good sport and repeated it, “hoo deh.” His pronunciation was a bit off. And then a funny phenomena happened. AA obviously had forgotten who has the authority in Mandarin-speaking and probably thought Papa was correcting her, so she copied his sound and say “hoo deh.” I watched this in silence and it went on for about ten times. Each time papa followed her thinking she is correcting him, and he got it a little bit off, and then AA copied papa thinking he is correcting her. Toward the end the two of them produced some sounds that didn’t resemble anything in any language.
Time for intervention, I stepped in and corrected them both. We were I forgot I was teaching papa!”
It is funny but also reminded me that what authoritative figures we parents are to our children. Children automaticaly looked up to us parents thinking we must know all the answers to the world of questions. From early on, my children understood that their parents have limitations, such as papa doesn’t know anything about Mandarin, and Mama can’t say much German. This makes it so much easier for us to have an honest discussion with our children and tell them that although we have more experience but we don’t kow everything much and we are still learning.
Posted in bilingual, bilingual children, bilingual education, Chinese american, Uncategorized
Tagged bilingual, bilingual children, bilingual education, bilingualism, Chinese american, language development, language education, learning chinese, Raising bilingual children, trilingual