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What age to start with Mandarin lessons?

  1. #1
    HKMum is offline Registered User
    Join Date
    Oct 2002
    Hong Kong

    What age to start with Mandarin lessons?

    I'd love for my son to be bi-lingual if not tri-lingual and see the perfect opportunity living in HK He's nine months old and i'd like to know when the best time to start with a tutor would be?
    And if there are any playgroups that are taught in Mandarin but aimed at children with English as a first language?

  2. #2
    rani's Avatar
    rani is offline Administrator
    Join Date
    Sep 2002
    Pokfulam, Hong Kong
    Reply from Allison Stone - Speech Pathologist

    If your child is acquiring language typically, now would be the best time.

    You want to make sure that you continue to speak English to him, since that is what your native language is and what you feel most comfortable with.

    Have the tutor speak to the child in a naturalistic way in Mandarin, this way the child will start to hear both languages. Also you can pick up Mandarin books and have the tutor print the English speaking word for it underneath and teach you as well.

    Hope this helps.
    Last edited by rani; 12-18-2002 at 09:21 AM.

  3. #3
    lucinda_k is offline Registered User
    Join Date
    May 2004

    What age to start with Mandarin lessons?

    I know a little Mandarin but not well enough to provide a true bilingual environment for my son. So I didn't actuallyy do anything about it until he turned 18-months. It was a hard slog because by then he was resistant to me speaking anthing exceppt English, so he's just keep saying "English" whenever I tried to say anythin to him in Mandarin. I've done a lot of reading on secnd lanngauge acquisition and it seems the earlier the better is the rule. Fortunately I found a good teacher for him and now he loves the weekly mandairn lessons with two of his other friends (who also come form English-speaking only homes). And, mood permitting, he'd even let me read him mandarin rhymes or sing songs in Mandarin. And on very good days, he would even concede to tell me names of things in Chinese!! So if you're serious, find a good teacher, preferably one with expeirnece with expat kids. It makes a whole world of difference!

  4. #4
    loupou is offline Baby Guru
    Join Date
    Mar 2003
    New Territories

    Baby learning Mandarin

    I think since the BB is only 9 months old, I think the best thing would be to find a Mandarin speaking playgroup where he can hear it used in a usual way. Also, use Mandarin phrases for certain regular activities or things (like "Go for a walk" or "play play".

    Another idea might be to hire a Mandarin speaking woman to provide part-time baby and child care in the mornings or something like that. Ask her to speak and sing and play with the baby in Mandarin.

    If you go to the Labour Department's website, you can search local domestic helpers by criteria such as wages and language. If you're willing to pay HK$ 50 per hour, there appear to be women who have completed secondary school and speak good Mandarin available.

    For a baby, this seems like a much more logical way to learn language (from someone who speaks it in the normal course of things).

    The website is here:

    You have to register as an employer to look at the postings.

    Good Luck

  5. #5
    val is offline Registered User
    Join Date
    Mar 2004
    how about tutor time or sunshine house?
    they offer 50% english + 50% mandarin in the playgroup or preschool.

  6. #6
    New Daddy is offline Registered User
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Hong Kong
    On the point about how soon can you start, most developmental psycologists stated that children are international citizens before they reach 12 months and their ability to acquire a second language as a mother tongue declines after that.

    If you want your child to start Mandarin or any other language early, you need to give him good tuition and an environment in which he could be stimulated in the language of your choice.

    If you are interested in this subject, you should read Doman's book on "How to teach your baby to read"

    New Daddy

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