Growing up, I was taught to understand how Chinese writing evolved from pictorial representations of things and how some words and phases arose from wisdom about things, recorded by people who lived a very very long time ago. These things made the language interesting to me, it was more than just a subject in school because of the way I was taught and exposed to it. I believe the same is possible for Joy. I want to make it happen for her.
We made a conscious decision to raise Joy in a predominantly Mandarin speaking environment at home, since she would grow up in an English speaking environment when she goes to school. She also learns through singing a good mix of both Mandarin and English songs with me. This way, she would become effectively bilingual. One of the reasons why I like her current pre-school so much is because her mandarin teachers in pre-school speaks very good and proper mandarin, much better than my sometimes localised version.
I am happy with the outcome so far, Joy speaks good mandarin. For example, she knows that “Wet wipes” should be called “湿纸巾” in Mandarin, that closing your eyes is not “关眼睛” but “闭眼睛”, that pre-school is not “学校” but “幼儿园” and that a bath towel is not “毛巾” but “浴巾”. She also picks it up when others pronounce a word wrongly and tries to correct them sometimes. Detailed things like that.
As we have had good success, I initially declined when a good friend asked if I would like to review a talk “Language Power” (phonetically translated to “蓝格子，跑啊!”) by speaker, Eeva Chang. She advised me to look carefully again at what the talk would cover before making a confirmed decision. I’m glad I did, because I changed my mind.
(Topic points are originally in Chinese, English versions are my attempt to translate)
Do you have language power?
Are you or your child using the most optimal method for language development?
Is it really so difficult to learn languages in Singapore?
How are you really using your voice and language ability?
At which point in primary school does your family language level start to show disparity with the school’s language level
Is our society one that is sensitive or perceptive about languages?
How does sensitivity or perceptiveness to language increase one’s level of understanding greatly?
What do primary school children really think (about languages)?
Is language inherited or learnt?
Did you know that, all along, we might have been going against the golden rule of language learning?
Some of these topic points are subjective of course, but they really got me thinking. Although we might still have some time to go until I can’t teach Joy the language effectively anymore, I can’t be sure I can gear up well enough to teach her as her language power increases. I rather start now especially since the speaker at this talk is the very experienced Broadcaster cum Educator, Eeva Chang.
If you do know her, you must know what she is well known for but if you don’t, you can read my friend, Lynn’s very good summary of her background here or my friend, Jenn / her son’s experience interacting with her / learning from her here, here and here. Personally, I find that the charisma and confidence that she has in the Chinese language is infectious, watch the video below and you’ll get it.
I’m very interested to learn from her because of the topic points. If you’d like to know how to help your child in the Chinese language as well, here are details of the talk.
Date: 20 September 2014
Venue: Resort World Theatre (Sentosa)
Ticketing: $58/$78/$98. You may purchase your tickets from Sistic here or direct from Rediffusion by calling 62883321 to save booking fees.
You can also look out for more updates and information on her Facebook page here.
Disclosure: I was gifted with a ticket to attend the talk and learn but all opinions are my own.
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