Can Your Child Learn Chinese On-Line?
My daughter and I lived in Taiwan for the first two years of her life. At the time, she had a Chinese nanny and was fluent in Mandarin, at least as fluent as a normal two year old can be. When she was throwing a tantrum, her favorite words were: "Bu yao!" This was even though I spoke Hebrew with her. She did not learn English until she was three years old and went to pre-school in the U.S.
When we first moved here, I wanted to keep my daughter's Chinese alive. At home we spoke Hebrew. Outside the home, everyone spoke English. I searched in vain for Chinese speakers for my daughter to interact with, but we live in a secluded, rural community, and none were to be found. My daughter's memories of Taiwan gradually grew dim, till she could barely remember that we ever lived there.
By now she has forgotten all her Chinese. But is it too late? My daughter is nine years old, and we are planning to have her take lessons on-line from an old friend from Taiwan.
Lai Ya Lai Kan Hai
My friend will tutor my daughter in conversation, culture and reading and writing. My friend's younger daughter will join in the lessons, for added interest.
Is it hard to learn a language that doesn't use the Latin alphabet? Not as hard as you might think. There are several different ways to teach people how to pronounce Chinese characters. Some of these methods are merely romanizations, called various kinds of pinyin. We have chosen for my daughter to study zhuyin, commonly known as bo po mo fo. The advantage to this system is that it does not confuse a child who is used to English or some other European language, and therefore has associated the Latin letters with the specific sounds of another language. What does bo po mo fo look like? A sample is shown below.
Bo Po Mo Fo
Watching TV and Movies for Fluency
Another way to keep fluent in a language that you have had access to abroad is to keep watching TV and movies from the country where the language is spoken, even when you no longer live there. In the US, it has hard to have access to Chinese television and movies, but now you can do so through TaiSeng.
There is nothing like watching episode after episode of serial TV shows to keep the fluency up.
Copyright Aya Katz
- Learning traditional Chinese
Every first-grader in Taiwan has to learn Zhuyin (a set of phonetic symbols) before learning to write Chinese characters. The first Chinese text book for first graders is all written with Zhuyin. Students are...
- Learning Mandarin through Song
One way to make language learning fun for your child is to include familiar songs in the lessons. It is easier to memorize words when they are set to music. Also, your child may already be familiar with the...
Watch Asian Movies and Learn Mandarin or Cantonese
Do you want to stay fluent? Watch movies in Mandarin or Cantonese.
More by this Author
- EDITOR'S CHOICE49
Some children start reading before they are able to hold a conversation. In a sense, they start to read before they can even talk. How is that possible? Reading can be broken down into two separate processes: (1)...
- EDITOR'S CHOICE26
What is the best way to become perfectly fluent in a foreign language? Many recommend complete and total immersion, but others are concerned about reducing anxiety in students and providing only a positive experience....
Everybody agrees that prejudice is bad. I have never in my life met anyone who was in favor of prejudice. There is such universal agreement on this topic that it makes us feel united. Except when it comes to actual...