Children's Dialects

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Children's Dialects

Postby fireinthehole » Mon Aug 17, 2009 10:43 pm

Hi all,

Do you guys let your children speak dialects at home? If so, do you speak the paternal or maternal parent's dialect?

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Postby Wan » Mon Aug 17, 2009 11:34 pm

my children can understand cantonese, altho they speak mandarin to their grandparents. I think it is important link to their root. I'm teochew myself, but I can speak cantonese too. as for teochew, mine already quite broken, so can't teach them...

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Postby phantom » Mon Aug 17, 2009 11:52 pm

I let my son speak dialect at my parents place. I think it is important to expose them to dialect, not just Chinese and English, when young. Once they get older, it will be very hard to get them to pick up.

No harm knowing to speak more, sometime I feel speaking dialect feel more personal and close to kins

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Postby schellen » Mon Aug 17, 2009 11:54 pm

We are both Hokkien and from time to time, we include Hokkien in our conversations at home (typical Singlish mah). Our DD knows a few phrases. She is also exposed to Cantonese when with me or my family since my maternal grandma is Cantonese.

We feel that dialects add spice to our life and it's fun to hear DD speak it too. (Actually, she picks up Hokkien faster than Mandarin. Sigh... And no, I am not referring to the "bad" stuff we tend to pick up first when we learn a new language or dialect. :wink: )

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Postby tankee » Tue Aug 18, 2009 12:51 am

I do not teach my son any dialect and I discourage him from speaking it.

To me, it is already stressful enough for our kids to be good in 2 languages, so I would rather he be comfortable with English and Chinese from young than with any dialects.

Lucky for me, both my mother and my in-laws understand Mandarin and my in-laws speak the language too.

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Postby winth » Thu Aug 20, 2009 10:00 am


Both boys speak Hokkien since young and and it's our sole communication language. Hokkien is from my side, as DH is quite a half bucket (mixed Cantonese-Teochew).

But I do read and teach them in English and Chinese during our work time together.

They understand all 3 languages.

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Postby Andaiz » Thu Aug 20, 2009 11:20 am

My kids pick up dialect vicariously. We don't consciously teach them but because they've observed us speaking occassionally to parents and IL's in Cantonese and/or Hokkien (I'm Hokkien with a Kheh mother and DH is Kheh with a Hokkien mother)

My parents and IL's speak English to the kids and sometimes mandarin.

Actually, they do enjoy learning the verbal part of the language! :wink:

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Postby MLR » Thu Aug 20, 2009 8:35 pm

Andaiz wrote: (I'm Hokkien with a Kheh mother)

Hey, me too. Both my grandmas were Teochew, so actually me Teochew is better than Hokkien. My friends always teased me about my Teochew slang Hokkien.

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Postby radiantmum » Thu Aug 20, 2009 9:05 pm

My kid is exposed to dialects since baby 'cos my parents-in-law can only talk to him in dialects. It's amazing how young children can adapt. Mine can switch his language automatically & effortlessly depending on who he talks to aka parents in English, parents-in-law in dialect and my parents in chinese. Incidentally his dialect is more "pure" than mine :cry: His primary of school of thoughts understandably is in English 'cos of us and it's amusing to see him asking for translation help eg what is Queenstown MRT in Chinese/dialect etc.

There's another school of thought that says that kids will be "rojak" and will have difficulty understanding a language in depth if exposed to more than 1. My take is it is definitely a competitive advantage to know more than 1 language including dialects (having friends and working with ppl in Hong Kong, Taiwan, Thailand etc). With that, I am willing to "sacrifice" on being perfect on my English but strives to be understood by English speaking ppl of different countries. Then again I have effective bilingual friends so who says you cant have best of both (or multiple :D ) worlds?

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Re: Children's Dialects

Postby fredjasdillon » Wed Aug 26, 2009 4:07 pm

fireinthehole wrote:Hi all,

Do you guys let your children speak dialects at home? If so, do you speak the paternal or maternal parent's dialect?

Yes for me, my husband's a Cantonese so my boy knows how to speak simple cantonese, he's better in listening/understandin than saying.
hahas ~

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