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What does first language mean?

  1. #1
    wegetable is offline Registered User
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    What does first language mean?

    ESF application asks for mother's first language. Does it mean my native language or language I speak on a daily basis? I was born in Hong Kong but move to the U.S. many years ago so my native language is Chinese but I speak English most of my life.

  2. #2
    elle is offline Registered User
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    Your first language would be Chinese. The question refers to the first language you spoke, ie,, your native language, which for most people is also their parents native language.

  3. #3
    geocup Guest
    First language or mother tongue has a few definitions. It can be the language you first learned or the language you converse with the best. I would say English is your first language.

  4. #4
    howardcoombs is offline Registered User
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    What language do you do mental arithmetic in?
    What language do you dream in?
    Its *that* one.

    It doesnt matter which language you learned first or speak most often; its the one your brain is most closely linked with.

    HC

  5. #5
    shoni is offline Registered User
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    I would suggest that if you are applying for ESF school for your child where they take children with English as a 'first' language as a priority and as it is a language you are comfortable with day today, then I would put English.

  6. #6
    wegetable is offline Registered User
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    Thanks for everyone's reply and you are all correct. I looked up the definition online, first language could mean native language or the language one uses best. I totally agree with Shoni, ESF gives priority to English speakers so I probably should put English as my first language then. Gosh, I wish so badly my kids can speak Chinese. Hopefully by moving to Hong Kong for couple years will change that.

  7. #7
    howardcoombs is offline Registered User
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    Quote Originally Posted by wegetable View Post
    ...Gosh, I wish so badly my kids can speak Chinese. Hopefully by moving to Hong Kong for couple years will change that....
    Putting your kids into ESF will not help you very much with your wish. There are no Cantonese classes in ESF and the mandarin is quite limited. Depending on the ages of your kids, you may still have a chance to get them into a Cantonese kindie (full immersion) so they can fulfill your wish.

    If you havent considered this, now is the best time. We put 3 kids thru Lingnan and after a few short months they were able to converse. Lingnan is just one choice out of hundreds that are available to you. Search and consider a Cantonese start for your little ones and your wish may come true.

    HC

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