To speak mandarin or english to baby

General comments and chit-chat, or tell us how we can improve KiasuParents.com

To speak mandarin or english to baby

Postby rainrain » Wed Jan 26, 2011 4:18 am

Hi ,

Will like to seek advise from all. My DD is about 8 month old. And we have been speaking to her mainly 80% in English and about 20% in Mandarin. My husband and I usually converse in Mandarin, same goes to our parents. We met a senior man selling educational products, he advise me to speak to my baby in Mandarin.( his is English educated, he claimed he doesn't know how to read Chinese and her daughter CL very poor) But I told him I'm afraid that she will not be exposed to English language and thus will delay her reading and writing skills when she reach preschool. This is what happened to me as I grew up in a mandarin speaking background family, and my schoolmates all speak mandarin, resulting in poor English language . Up to now I'm still not good.

Then he advise to speak mandarin to her in the morning as they can absorb better in the morning. Plus right now the govt is promoting the CL as more and more children are not conversing in Mandarin anymore.

Any advise for me? How to ensure your child to excel in both language? I do not want my child to end up like me..

rainrain
OrangeBelt
OrangeBelt
 
Posts: 62
Joined: Mon Aug 03, 2009 3:38 pm
Total Likes: 0


Postby BlurBee » Wed Jan 26, 2011 9:41 am

Hi, DH & I speak mostly mandarin to our kids. We believe that kids need to speak in their mother tongue. They will learn the English once they started schooling.

JMHO. :wink:

BlurBee
Councillor
Councillor
 
Posts: 7305
Joined: Wed Aug 05, 2009 9:28 am
Total Likes: 1


Postby Wan » Wed Jan 26, 2011 9:45 am

We speak mandarin & ILs speak Cantonese to our kids. As I'm a FTWM, I dep on my ILs to look after them during the day. But I expose them to English books since bb. Although they did not speak English at home, they can listen & read English stories. My son & now my girl is picking up English once they start sch which teach phonics. In kindergarten, 3hr in English & 1hr in Chinese. In pri sch, the proportion will increase for English with more subjects taught in English. With the foundation of reading at home, once they are exposed to sch where most friends speak English, they can converse in English effectively within 3 mths.

Another reason for speaking mandarin at home is bcos my hb & BILs speak Singlish. Although I dun speak queen English myself, I try to speak
in proper grammatically correct English. So I rather they speak mandarin to them.

Not sure about ur home environment, my experience is for ur ref. I aim to bring up bilingual kids since they were born. These were way b4 MM & Dr Ng's comments.

Wan
GreenBelt
GreenBelt
 
Posts: 193
Joined: Tue May 05, 2009 10:50 am
Total Likes: 0


Postby tankee » Wed Jan 26, 2011 10:02 am

Hi rainrain

In our case, it is somewhat similar. DW & I mainly converse in English (80%) with DS, sometimes Mandarin (20%). My in-laws use Mandarin with him (100%). So it is quote natural for him to use English with us and switch to Mandarin with his grandparents.

DS is in P2 this year. While he is comfortable with both languages, he thinks in English and when given a choice, he would choose to read English text over Chinese text.

Chinese is gaining importance. Not just a Mother-tongue issue or getting into good school. China's economy is growing very strongly while US is *ahem*. While English is very likely to remain as the universal common language, understanding & ability to use Chinese would be an advantage for our kids when they grow up.

tankee
Site Admin
 
Posts: 17790
Joined: Tue Jun 30, 2009 4:04 pm
Location: Singapore
Total Likes: 18


Postby coolit » Wed Jan 26, 2011 12:22 pm

If our Chinese is poor and we speak in that way to the baby, would it affect them? My older 2 are not fluent in chinese as we did not converse in chinese to them at all. But I am now pregnant and am thinking if I should try to speak to her in Chinese when she is born but am scared my broken chinese will harm rather than help. Any thoughts?

coolit
BrownBelt
BrownBelt
 
Posts: 571
Joined: Tue Nov 24, 2009 3:34 am
Total Likes: 0



Postby Lock » Wed Jan 26, 2011 12:24 pm

To me, it depends on which language the parents are fluent in. Though I grew up in a Chinese speaking family, my parents do not speak proper Chinese. My mum's a Malaysian, so she has the Malaysian accent and my dad's a Hokkien who spoke with a Hokkien pronunciation. Eg, My mum will say chi4 fan4, instead of chi1 fan4 (eat rice) and he4 shui3 instead of he1 shui3. And Dad would say ci instead of chi and sui instead of shui. So, naturally my spoken CL also half past six. I dare not speak CL with my kids as I do not want them to pick up all the wrong pronunciation. They learn from their China tutor. Though they dun speak much but their pronunciation of the CL words are all accurate whenever they attempt to converse in CL.

Similarly, it's grating to the ears when I hear parents who are not very fluent in EL trying to speak EL to their kids. The kids do pick up all the wrong pronunciation and grammar. It's very difficult for the kids to unlearn a wrong.

I am thankful that for whatever reason, my parents sent me to a mission school since young and I pick up very good EL from my teachers and my hubby is very fluent in his EL too. So, in my household, we speak only EL and we make sure it is grammatically correct with the right pronunciation and intonation.

Lock
BlueBelt
BlueBelt
 
Posts: 321
Joined: Wed Aug 05, 2009 8:03 pm
Total Likes: 11


Postby mummyJune » Wed Jan 26, 2011 12:32 pm

i grow up in a english & chinese spoken enviornment. i speak english to my mum & chinese to my dad. while for my inlaw side, my hubby speaks 100% hokkien to his parents while i will speak chinese to them cos my hokkien is half past 6.

now at home my hubby will speak chinese to our son while i speak english to him. on the other hand, my mum speaks english to my son, my dad speaks chinese to him. my inlaws speak 100% chinese to my son cos they dun speak english. somehow i tink my boy is able to catch both languages.

mummyJune
GreenBelt
GreenBelt
 
Posts: 147
Joined: Thu Jun 10, 2010 10:49 am
Total Likes: 0


Postby mrswongtuition » Wed Jan 26, 2011 2:16 pm

Lock wrote:To me, it depends on which language the parents are fluent in. Though I grew up in a Chinese speaking family, my parents do not speak proper Chinese. My mum's a Malaysian, so she has the Malaysian accent and my dad's a Hokkien who spoke with a Hokkien pronunciation. Eg, My mum will say chi4 fan4, instead of chi1 fan4 (eat rice) and he4 shui3 instead of he1 shui3. And Dad would say ci instead of chi and sui instead of shui. So, naturally my spoken CL also half past six. I dare not speak CL with my kids as I do not want them to pick up all the wrong pronunciation. They learn from their China tutor. Though they dun speak much but their pronunciation of the CL words are all accurate whenever they attempt to converse in CL.

Similarly, it's grating to the ears when I hear parents who are not very fluent in EL trying to speak EL to their kids. The kids do pick up all the wrong pronunciation and grammar. It's very difficult for the kids to unlearn a wrong.

I am thankful that for whatever reason, my parents sent me to a mission school since young and I pick up very good EL from my teachers and my hubby is very fluent in his EL too. So, in my household, we speak only EL and we make sure it is grammatically correct with the right pronunciation and intonation.


:celebrate:

I often get horrified looks when people found out that my boy is tutored by a China tutor.

"Why don't you teach your son?"
"I think your spoken Chinese is fine, why not teach your son?"

Honestly, I only got C6 for Chinese at O levels.
My spoken Chinese may be strong because my mum is Shanghainese.
However, due to lack of discipline when younger, my written Chinese is terrible. Also, due to that laziness when I was younger, my vocab is very very limited.

As such, I chose not to teach my son the wrong 'phrasing' because I normally do 'direct translation from English'.

Speaking in the language you are most comfortable with is most important.

And honestly, it is really very difficult to correct my student's incorrect pronunciation & grammar... when their parents are using it all wrong with them. I don't know whether to correct the parent or not. :p

Just use what you are comfortable with, and find other ways to expose your child to the other language. :D

Regards,
Mrs Wong
Tuition Web: www.mwtuition.com.sg
Personal Blog: thelittleonesinmylife.blogspot.com

mrswongtuition
KiasuGrandMaster
KiasuGrandMaster
 
Posts: 1835
Joined: Sun Apr 26, 2009 5:02 pm
Total Likes: 0


Postby thebusybee » Wed Jan 26, 2011 6:15 pm

I'm Chinese Ed in pri school, speak to my family in msian accent, s'porean in s'pore accent. But when speaking to China pple, I often got remarks that I speak 标准普通话, like the newscasters! (coz I know they will have difficulty understanding our mandarin)

So even though I can pronounce the Chinese words correctly, I just can't speak that way to my DS, family n frens. So since ds birth, we've been speaking English(rather Singlish) to him 90% of time, even the grandparents speaks rojak English to him.
I just hope :pray: he'll grow up knowing how to speak both languages properly. Not necessary to speak the correct way all the time, it's ok to preserve some local accents, I think.

thebusybee
BlueBelt
BlueBelt
 
Posts: 205
Joined: Sun Mar 15, 2009 2:07 am
Total Likes: 0


Re: To speak mandarin or english to baby

Postby KoalaMummy » Thu Jan 27, 2011 9:14 am

i personally believe in exposing kids to as many languages as possible. Like some forummer says, Daddy speaks english, mummy speaks mandarin, grandparents speak dialects etc.. kids are smart, they learn fast and adapt fast. problem is us, adult. we must make a conscious effort to speak to them in the language 'different' from our spouse etc.

KoalaMummy
KiasuGrandMaster
KiasuGrandMaster
 
Posts: 1865
Joined: Fri Feb 26, 2010 2:21 pm
Total Likes: 1


Next

Return to Recess Time