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confused about the languages

  1. #9
    MommyTo3 is offline Registered User
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    If you're not here for the long run (and I know we never know for sure) I wouldn't "bother" too much with the Cantonese. Make sure she gets to speak good English and Italian. You can always choose for a bi-lingual stream with both English and Mandarin. Our children are bi-lingual and having Mandarin a few hours a week as a third language. Since we don't plan to stay here for many many years, that's sufficient for us.

  2. #10
    baguette is offline Registered User
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    Ok.

    first of all, being Italian, even if she learn "only" English she's gonna be bilingual (of course to say so she must have learnt it well), so with the Chinese (M or C) she would be trilingual (ans Mon2Sofie's kids).

    I think we should start from this point: she will already have 2 languages to learn.

    Second, we cannot speak English at home with her because we are both 100% Italian and, as 99% of the Italians our English is not very good, our vocabulary is poor and we both have a strong accent.

    The best English speaker at home is the girl!! believe me.

    But, on the other hand, still it would be a pity being born in HongKong and living there and not being able to speak a world of Chinese.

    I don't know....

    p.s. anyway, I believe Cantonese is not only a spoken dialect, as someone said.
    I have friends studying it in University and they even take an ancient language exam.

  3. #11
    TheQuasimother is offline Registered User
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    Deleted as I posted it twice by accident!
    “If you want to get to the castle, you’ve got to swim the moat.” Richard Jenkins in Eat Pray Love

  4. #12
    TheQuasimother is offline Registered User
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    Baguette, there are after school classes for children interested in other languages. Our son's school has Saturday classes for Putonghua. Lots of kids in his school attend Putonghua classes during the week too in private playgroups at least once a week just for fun.

    And all international schools (including ESF) has Putonghua. We're in the ESF system and speak no Chinese. He is already struggling with another European language as that is his second language. And even with Putonghua just once a week, the boy can sing in Chinese! It's not very clear but we were completed astounded by him counting in Putonghua (of course part of a song).

    So, as a third language goes, we're quite satisfied with his development. We're currently searching for a second language class for my son's second language. And, as far as I know, from an Italian family we are close to, there's Saturday Italian classes for Italian children overseas to keep up with their literacy and numeracy when they're in K2?/P1? I'm unsure.

    Also, I'm hiring one of my students who has graduated from high school recently to be my son's Putonghua teacher twice a week. It costs me just $40 per hour as I'm not looking for an expert! Just someone I trust who can play with him in Putonghua. So there are ways to learn Chinese not just from the local school system :-) My son's classmate (from another EU country) learns Putonghua from local SAHM ladies they hire at local costs. She comes round once a week, plays with the kids in Putonghua.
    Last edited by TheQuasimother; 05-15-2010 at 06:24 PM.
    “If you want to get to the castle, you’ve got to swim the moat.” Richard Jenkins in Eat Pray Love

  5. #13
    carey is offline Registered User
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    I learned acient Chinese at school and many of the sounds are origially cantonese and being adopted to putonghua sound.

    But in the modern Chinese, the written form of Cantonese only uses in Hongkong, although cantonese is spoken in the province of Guangdong and Hongkong. Cantonese in the mainland has many types of accents. Most people in the Mainland would struggle to read and understand the complicated form of Charater use in Hongkong.

    So like many suggested here, if you are not staying in Hongkong for long, there is not much a point for your child to learn it. But she probably would develop an ear for it from people around her and watching TV.

    A lot of expats in Guangdong would learn Putonghua because knowing this would get them futhur than cantonese.

    Anyway, my 12 month old is exposed to English, Putonghua, Cantonese, a local dialect and German.

    English-- mother to son, mum with
    Cantonese--helper to him, helper with mum
    The local dialet--my parents and relatives to him
    German--mu husband's parents and relatives to him


    We are trying to limit to two at home:English and cantonese. ( I would prefer Putonhua to be the other. But my currunt helper speaks it poorly. ) We plan to send him to an English medium international school here. (choices are very limited in this city in the Mainland. But prices are similar to those in HongKong)

    If I were you, I would also keep it to two. Italian and English. Then learn the third for fun.

  6. #14
    carang's Avatar
    carang is offline Registered User
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    all i can say is that everyone chooses what they believe with most benefit their children, both in short term and in the long term.

    we each make the best decision we can for our own families and our own kids. we all have different needs/preferences and circumstances that influence our decision and in the end it is up to us, the parents to decide what is best for our own situations.

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