Foreign language for children - which would you choose?

Discussions on tuition centres/enrichment services that specialise in other languages.

Which foreign language for your child?

Malay
7
15%
Korean
3
6%
Japanese
12
25%
Spanish
7
15%
Italian
0
No votes
German
3
6%
Latin
0
No votes
French
11
23%
Others
5
10%
 
Total votes : 48

Useful languages?

Postby wildboys » Wed Mar 04, 2009 8:31 pm

Dear KS Parents, I told some friends that I intend to let my kid to take up Malay lessons instead of Japanese lessons, they all give me "wierd" looks or ask "are you sure??" :( Am I really wasting my kid's time to learn a language which is "not-so-useful"? I find that Japanese isn't very much "useful" too rite? Nothing racist here please. Just want to hear more views... thanks.

wildboys
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Postby mintcc » Wed Mar 04, 2009 9:22 pm

I thought Malay is very useful in SG, good when we go up to Malaysia or Indonesia + good to communicate with maid + good to work regional.

I ask my maid to speak to DS so he will pick up a little.

I suppose usefulness depends on the environment and occupation. Knowing japan is useful in certain industry, if you/ kid intend to work there or for certain companies. Also useful for online shopping ;P b, watching Jap anime and reading manga.

But personally, I find its degree of usefulness about the same as Korean, French, German, Spanish by the time our kids grow up. Still useful and a beautiful language to learn, but not necc more useful than knowing Malay in SG context. But of course, compare with the world population who speaks those languages, Malay does not rank as high so may be not as useful in that way.

mintcc
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Postby csc » Thu Mar 05, 2009 9:21 am

I am a very practical person and don't usually follow the "crowd". So I encourage my son to choose Malay as his 3rd Language instead of Japanese, French or German which was chosen by most of his friends.

Learning Malay will take some load off him as there's no need to learn the written form. It's similar to English Language. There will be more opportunities for him to use the language in his daily life too. He can try speaking it with his Malay friends. Maybe, when he is proficient enough, he will get to read the Malay newspapers and literature and watch the programmes on the Suria channel. The greater opportunities for exposure to the language hopefully, will help him to pick up the language more easily and quickly.

It has been two months since the 3rd language class has started. One of his friends has dropped the French language - 1st 'casualty".

Learning a language is not easy unless one is a gifted linguist.Environment plays a huge part in the learning process.

csc
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Postby winth » Thu Mar 05, 2009 10:51 am

Hi,

I think Malay is a good language to learn and a very useful tool in Singapore context. Even PM Lee speaks Malay, what's wrong??? Plus I like the fact that next time, you will understand them when they try to bad-mouth you in Malay.

My DH's colleague is a Indo-Jap mixed, can you imagine he can speak fluent Eng, Japanese and Malay? A wonderful combination.

I've chosen Japanese as personally I have been very enthusiastic with this language and I've taken up to intermediate level, so it will be easy for me to teach him. Now DS1 is into Japanese and he loves the language, hope he will be able to use it next time.

Japanese is useful too as it also strengthens Chinese. When Jap reaches to intermediate level, most words are replaced in then kanji (or 汉字), plus it is all in 繁体字. DS1's Chinese is much stronger than his English, so I've never had to fret over his Chinese Spelling in school.

If you can, should even speak to him in dialects too, it will increase a child's level of frequency to be tuned to different language at a young age. Got this theory from Shichida Method when I attended Jocelyn Khoo's talks back in 2004. That's why my boys speak Hokkien, English and Chinese.

winth
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Postby sashimi » Thu Mar 05, 2009 12:30 pm

Malay is good. I happen to think that both the Japanese and Malay cultures have many good attitudes we can learn from, eg. the Malay "kampung" spirit, sadly lacking among the Chinese; and the legendary courtesy of the Japanese and their customer-centric attitudes.

Being able to understand their language helps one to develop an appreciation of their culture.

Malay will always be relevant to this region of the world; while - in case you haven't noticed - the influx and growth of Japanese culture, business, market and merchandise in Singapore has grown A LOT in just the last couple of years.

In any case, learning any 3rd language opens up opportunities (think jobs) which those who cannot speak the language cannot access. So long as it does not affect core studies, it's always good to learn another language.

Learning different language also teaches the mind to be open to different perspectives. Many people go through life thinking that there is only one way to do things. These are the people who have difficulties pronouncing foreign language sounds properly, eg. the Japanese "r". They keep doing it the English way.

My point is that the "usefulness" of a 3rd language goes beyond the language itself.

One other thing thouh - the child should preferably be interested and exposed to the culture. Language is best learnt in contact with the culture. Language is not a dictionary package you can upload to your brain. It requires real and regular use.

sashimi
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Postby schellen » Thu Mar 05, 2009 12:32 pm

My ability to converse and write in English, Chinese and Japanese got me my current job. When I first paid more attention to Chinese and later, Japanese, back in my sch days, I, like many youths, didn't think that these will benefit me later. Some basic Cantonese also helps me from time to time.

Back in university, I actually wanted to take another subject which would require me to learn Bahasa Melayu or Indonesia. However, my seniors advised against learning Japanese and Malay at the same time cos of heavy workload.

Back when I chose Jap instead, I remember an uncle of mine asking me why Jap? Why not Malay? After all, see where we are located. However, I still feel that my choice is the right one. Now, due to my job, I realised that it would help a lot too if I could speak Malay. I'm still considering picking up the language slowly at CCs.

Ultimately, if your child can "see"/plan into the future, then it will be easier to choose. Or else, just go with his/her interests.

schellen
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Postby EN » Thu Mar 05, 2009 12:45 pm

Hi wildboys

Learning an extra language in primary/secondary context is just learning another language. Not sure if the school will touch on Malay culture in order to teach the language.

As commented by CSC earlier, it is an easy language to learn as there are plenty of resources to go by like tv programs, school friends, neighbour.

How useful a language is really dependent on how & when it is needed to be used. In a working environment, the market is global. If your kids grow up and are working closely with countries like Malaysia, Brunei, Indonesia, he will find the Malay language handy. I do have Aussie & Japanese friends fluent in Malay language. The language is offered as a subject in the school curriculum.

I went on holidaying in Bali with my Japanese friend. We all speak bahasa Indonesia (similar to Malay) & claim that we are Malaysian citizens. We were charged in rupiah, very much lower if we claim we are from Japan or Singapore. Then the rate will be in USD. :wink:

EN
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Postby wildboys » Thu Mar 05, 2009 2:51 pm

Thanks for all the replies i really enjoy reading different thoughts from you experienced parents. actually my kid is only 4years old (so not choosing 3rd lang in school yet, although I've thought of how his current learning may "affect" his choice in future). I don't know Japanese myself except reading the hiragana characters and that's about it. My kid has learned some basic japanese (reading the hiragana which he has "mastered" and some basic vocab). However I find it tough for me to revise with him at home cos non of us speaks Japanese, when we saw something want to tell him in Japanese also dunno how, unless check dictionary later and many times also forgot when we are busy. I let him listens to jap songs sometimes, which most of the time I also dunno what they are singing about 8( Without "revision" I doubt he can "pick up" the lang right? Since he is very strong in reading, I thought Malay will be a "breeze" to pick up and there are many opportunities in Singapore for him to learn Malay (friends/tv/books). Perhaps exposing him to different languages now and in future he can pick what he likes??? As for interests, I asked him would he like to learn Malay or Japanese. He answered "I want to learn Malay, cos I already know Japanese" *LOL*

wildboys
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Postby sashimi » Thu Mar 05, 2009 4:30 pm

You boy can read hiragana at age 4? ? :shock: WOW PLEASE can you share with me how you achieved that?

sashimi
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Foreign language for children - which would you choose?

Postby sleepy » Sun Jun 28, 2009 12:05 am

If you were to choose a foreign language, which would you consider?

The reason?

sleepy
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