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Quadlingual Environment: Experiences, suggestions?

  1. #17
    sorchului is offline Registered User
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    I am glad that I see this thread.

    My husband and I have different mother tongues so we communicate in English. He speaks to our daughter in English and I use Cantonese. Cantonese is harder to learn and we intend to send our daughter to local kindergarten later.

    I hope our daughter will pick up both languages at the same time without too much difficulties. We have a Cantonese neighbour who talk to each other in Cantonese but speaks English to their son so he is exposed to 2 languages at the same time. He then went to an international kindergarten where mandarin was taught. From my observation, the boy is confused with 3 languages and he does not know how to speak a complete sentence in one language until he is about 4 and he often includes 2 languages (mostly English and some Cantonese) in his sentence. It will be interesting to see when he starts his new school in September as he will be learning German as well.

    I think if we want our kids to learn Chinese especially Cantonese, it's important to teach them at an young age and let them go to a local school. Correct me if I am wrong.

  2. #18
    yellowmud is offline Registered User
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    Quote Originally Posted by sorchului View Post

    Cantonese is harder to learn and we intend to send our daughter to local kindergarten later.
    Why should Cantonese be harder to learn than English for a child?

  3. #19
    sorchului is offline Registered User
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    Well, in Chinese the way we speak is different from writing and Chinese characters are harder to write, that's what I think.

  4. #20
    spockey is offline Registered User
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    FutureHKmom

    It's common practice what you are doing.
    Why don't you just fine tune your practice by splitting up into domains? Use English at playgroups and Cantonese at home?

    There's really no right or wrong method when using two languages differently (as long as the two aren't mixed before they (the kids) understand the differences).

    Cheers!

  5. #21
    yellowmud is offline Registered User
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    Quote Originally Posted by sorchului View Post
    Well, in Chinese the way we speak is different from writing and Chinese characters are harder to write, that's what I think.
    Ok, fair enough. I thought it is about speaking only. Here I think there are no substantial differences for children in picking up just about any language.

  6. #22
    FutureHKmom is offline Registered User
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    Thanks Spockey for all the useful info!

  7. #23
    yuukalim0404 is offline Registered User
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    Hi Spockey,
    I speak English (no code switch) to my girl and my hubby speaks Cantonese (again no code switch) to her. But I speak Cantonese completely to my hubby all the time as he is more comfortable and refuses to speak English.
    My in laws speak Cantonese completely and little Mandarin to her, and they care for her in the daytime.

    I hope I am doing this right because I really want my girl to get a good start in English and I am trying to keep up with speaking English to her at all times since she was 8mths old and now she is almost 1. English is my native language btw, and though I speak Cantonese, is it not highly fluent.

  8. #24
    spockey is offline Registered User
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    Yuukalim0404

    There is no right or wrong method.
    Consistency is probably more important. Keep at it.
    Don't think there is anything wrong with what you're doing.

    She probably understands Cantonese and English. But given that her primary caregiver speaks in Cantonese, she may start with that. Don't worry if she does, she'll also show signs of English language development as you are speaking to her only in English and if she attends English playgroup, she's exposed to it regularly too.

    Cheers!

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