Forums  •  Classifieds  •  Events  •  Directory

 

Cantonese exposure without going to Cantonese school

  1. #1
    kacoak is offline Registered User
    Join Date
    Mar 2011
    Location
    Mid-levels Central
    Posts
    89

    Cantonese exposure without going to Cantonese school

    We are an overseas chinese family with English as our first language at home. My husband and I both know some Mandarin, and so does our daughter. She currently attends a bilingual English/Mandarin nursery. We've been here for ~8 months, and due to the nature of my husband's job, we're not sure how long we will be in HK for. Hence our decision to enroll her in an English/Mandarin school. However, I would still like for her to be exposed to SOME Cantonese. If I do not want to put her in local/Cantonese kindergarten, what other ways can I get her to be exposed to the language? It may sound silly since we do live in Hong Kong where Cantonese is spoken everywhere, but I think surprisingly many people get by here without learning Cantonese at all. We have no Cantonese friends, we don't watch Cantonese TV, etc. Would like to hear your thoughts/suggestions on this matter...

  2. #2
    howardcoombs is offline Registered User
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Location
    Happy Valley
    Posts
    552
    Going to a Cantonese nursery/kindergarten would be the natural choice; may I know why have you decided to not put her into that environment?

    I know families who have hired Cantonese playmates/tutors (young teenagers or university students) as an alternative. If you go this route, you must give a good number of hours (eg : 10+ hours a week) to be effective at all; anything less than this will be very quickly forgotten. Once child starts speaking simple language, a whole world opens up; art/drama classes, scouts/guides etc

  3. #3
    kacoak is offline Registered User
    Join Date
    Mar 2011
    Location
    Mid-levels Central
    Posts
    89
    I guess it's a matter of practicality, among other things. 1) she was already speaking English and knows some Mandarin. 2) we may be in HK for as short as 2 years 3) Cantonese would be the fourth language she's picking up.

    My daughter knows some Bahasa Indonesia as that's my mother tongue and I speak to her in it too at times. At home she speaks to our helper in Indonesian, and during visits to her maternal grandparents, my daughter would largely speak Indonesian since my parents speak very little English. Before nursery school, her exposure to Mandarin was minimal so her English and Bahasa are stronger. Now she gets daily Mandarin in school, so she's understanding more and starting to speak more Mandarin.

    In the event that we are here for a good number of years, I would like her to know Cantonese because, as you said howard, a whole world opens up here in HK. I'm not sure how to go about approaching this though, introducing another new language when she's still learning a couple others. Using your formula of 10hrs/a week, that's 40 a day for 4 languages! I could be overthinking this, and something's definitely got to give (she'll be stronger in 1,2 languages than others), but at this point I'm just exploring options.

  4. #4
    howardcoombs is offline Registered User
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Location
    Happy Valley
    Posts
    552
    hmmm...4 languages at a time, I never tried that and dont have experience in it at all.
    My comment about 10h was to be really proficient. If you are happy with just having exposure and be able to understand & only speak small amount, then you can consider less hours. The child will still play and have fund as well as absorb; I just dont think they will be able to get proficient at that level of exposure...

    If you do decide to stay later on you can always get more intensive and catch up later.

  5. #5
    bonita is offline Registered User
    Join Date
    Aug 2009
    Location
    mid-levels
    Posts
    176
    You can sign her up for music, art, sport classes conducted in Cantonese.

  6. #6
    howardcoombs is offline Registered User
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Location
    Happy Valley
    Posts
    552
    I would not recommend signing up a non speaker for such classes. The child may find it confusing/frustrating and also this would be disruptive to the class when one of the kids doesn't understand what is going on and runs around unable to pay attention.
    It would be better to have some base before putting the child into more structured environment.

  7. #7
    kindredspirit is offline Registered User
    Join Date
    Jun 2007
    Location
    Pok Fu Lam
    Posts
    21
    I hired a Cantonese playmate/tutor from uni to play with my son a few times a week, starting before he turned two. He does not really talk much in Cantonese (his first language is English, then Putonghua) but he's comfortable enough with Cantonese that I can now send him to his art class which is conducted in Cantonese.

Similar Threads

  1. Cantonese Playgroup?
    By flobash in forum Playgroups
    Replies: 9
    Last Post: 12-29-2010, 09:31 AM
  2. Replies: 2
    Last Post: 03-01-2010, 10:23 PM
  3. Cantonese classes?
    By ctrbabe1 in forum Everything Else
    Replies: 11
    Last Post: 06-15-2007, 08:44 AM
  4. cantonese lessons
    By twindebank in forum Education
    Replies: 0
    Last Post: 07-19-2006, 11:36 AM
  5. CDs for Learning Cantonese
    By Mona in forum Preparing for the Arrival
    Replies: 1
    Last Post: 07-19-2004, 04:44 PM
Scroll to top