Kids knowing their dialects. What is your take?

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Kids knowing their dialects. What is your take?

Postby janet88 » Mon Jul 13, 2015 11:43 pm

Read an article about this man who regretted not being able to connect with his grandparents as he couldn't speak hainanese...his mother tongue.

Our dialects are our true mother tongue.
I feel that my kids should be able to speak and understand simple Cantonese since it is their mother tongue (both hubby, myself and grandparents). Son understands a little though he can't speak the dialect. Daughter doesn't understand. Is it true that kids cannot cope with English, mandarin and their dialect?

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Re: Kids knowing their dialects. What is your take?

Postby FrankLim » Tue Jul 14, 2015 12:49 am

Yes

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Re: Kids knowing their dialects. What is your take?

Postby TheAnswer » Tue Jul 14, 2015 6:50 am

Of course must know their dialect and know it well.. need to communicate with their great grand parents ..

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Re: Kids knowing their dialects. What is your take?

Postby slmkhoo » Tue Jul 14, 2015 7:58 am

It really depends on whether they have constant exposure when they are young. If they don't, they are unlikely to pick it up naturally, and it certainly won't be their "mother tongue". And yes, learning more than 1 language does usually slow down language acquisition in small kids. It may be OK if the school expectations allow kids to work on school languages over a longer period of time, but since expectations are so high so early, learning 3 languages in the preschool years will mean that those P1 kids will be below what is expected in school. There will always be the exceptional ones who manage well, but they cannot be used as the yardstick for the whole population.

I also question whether dialect is actually the "mother tongue" of a lot of kids these days if they didn't learn it as their first language in the home. I am one of those who grew up speaking English and don't speak any dialect. For a long time, I barely even spoke Mandarin, and only really became fluent around 40yo! My mother tongue is English, and the same for my kids. That's the language we learned from the cradle.

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Re: Kids knowing their dialects. What is your take?

Postby Funz » Tue Jul 14, 2015 8:22 am

My parents and MIL all speak English so there is no need for kiddos to pick up dialect in order to communicate with them.

DD understands some Teochew but will never attempt to speak it. DS will just stare at me blank if I speak Teochew to him. Both will burst into giggles when DH speaks Cantonese to them.

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Re: Kids knowing their dialects. What is your take?

Postby MrsKiasu » Tue Jul 14, 2015 8:24 am

This is something that I have been deferring for a long time. I personally find that my kids should know at least Cantonese. I speak 2 dialects and 3 languages...so agree that it's more of a half past six kinda thing for most of them..

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Re: Kids knowing their dialects. What is your take?

Postby janet88 » Tue Jul 14, 2015 8:50 am

I used to speak Cantonese with hubby when we didn't want the kids and the maid to know what we are saying. maid picked it fast...in fact both my Indonesian maids picked up Cantonese although they can't speak. son (around 3-4 year old then) also picked up the dialect. dad still speaks Cantonese to us but with the kids he speaks English to them.

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Re: Kids knowing their dialects. What is your take?

Postby MrsKiasu » Tue Jul 14, 2015 8:55 am

janet88 wrote:I used to speak Cantonese with hubby when we didn't want the kids and the maid to know what we are saying. maid picked it fast...in fact both my Indonesian maids picked up Cantonese although they can't speak. son (around 3-4 year old then) also picked up the dialect. dad still speaks Cantonese to us but with the kids he speaks English to them.


Cantonese is quite a widely used dialect. So I think it's good to get the kids know the Cantonese...let them watch the HK drama, I believe can easily pick up.

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Re: Kids knowing their dialects. What is your take?

Postby janet88 » Tue Jul 14, 2015 8:58 am

MrsKiasu wrote:Cantonese is quite a widely used dialect. So I think it's good to get the kids know the Cantonese...let them watch the HK drama, I believe can easily pick up.

that's exactly what my son said...watch more hk dramas.

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Re: Kids knowing their dialects. What is your take?

Postby Funz » Tue Jul 14, 2015 9:02 am

I think for my kids, I need to get them to watch more mandarin shows first.

I think DD will learn to speak Korean before she learns to speak either Teochew or Cantonese. :razz:

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