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would you be concerned your baby can't spean cantonese

  1. #1
    hunhun_l is offline Registered User
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
    hong kong

    would you be concerned your baby can't spean cantonese

    we speak mandarin and english at home. We are thinking of sending her to a mandarin/english nursery. most parent these days are concerned about mandarin. but for us, the question is can she pick up cantonese or does it matter? Was anyone here ever in this situation?

  2. #2
    mscheerful is offline Registered User
    Join Date
    Jun 2007
    Hong Kong

    where r u from and where r u going to be eventaully? If you dont see your family going to stay here in HK for good then I really dont mind her not knowing much contonese, somehow she will pick up when she starts to play with other local kids (if you do find her local playmates). The local here really wants their kids to learn Mandarin and your are concerned that she will not know Cantonese.... My son speaks English and his dad speaks contonese to him but his closest playmate is Mandarin speaking so he is learning and speaking 3 languages at the same time. 19 months soon. His sister is 8+, she has no problem speaking 3 languages although she goes to English-Mandarin School but Cantonese is better than Mandarin because of her local playmates.

  3. #3
    MLBW Guest


    First of all, I would have to say, congrats on getting two languages into your home! That is great and will be a great gift to your child, I think.

    I agree with Ms Cheerful--it is a good idea to assess what your future might hold when deciding which languages are important for your child.

    If you plan to stay in Hong Kong, I wouldn't say that it's time yet to start "worrying" about your child not yet speaking Cantonese. There is still plenty of time to expose him or her to that language. There are lots of resources in Hong Kong to do that--schools, playgroups, private tutoring...

    I will just relate one story. My husband is Hong Kong Chinese and his first language is Cantonese. His uncle immigrated to Canada when he was in college and married a Caucasian, English-speaking Canadian lady. Together they have two very brilliant children--a boy and girl, both of which are doctors now. My husband says that his cousins grew up speaking absolutely no Cantonese. They have no Cantonese ability--spoken or written. Although, it may not be an issue for them in their day-to-day lives in Canada, the rest of the family that still lives in Hong Kong feel a sort of sadness that there is such a language barrier between them and the "foreign" cousins. For example, the cousins are not able to speak with their grandparents or many of their aunts and uncles. Also, maybe the cousins also feel like they missed out on a culture-enriching experience because their father never made Cantonese learning a priority.

    At any rate, there is a lot to consider when exposing children to language learning. I am sure you and your husband will make the right decision for your child.

    The best to you!

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