I wanted to continue discussing commonly asked topics about the Chinese journey. I’ve noticed many many many kids in my class able to speak in Chinese and some very fluently but yet do not have the proper tones down or have picked up that “ABC” accent. This may be okay for most but there are also some parents who would rather have no accent at all.
For my kids, they actually have a Taiwanese accent and I’m okay with it but if I were to correct them further, I would ask them to go back and really read through every word paying attention to 注音。My main goal in their Chinese Journey though, is to just speak like a native and if that means they have a Taiwanese accent, so be it. I am speaking in Taiwanese accent at home afterall.
I find the children with the most trouble speaking in tones are the ones who don’t speak much Chinese at home and it means they:
- Don’t listen enough
- Don’t speak enough
- Are ignoring the tones in 注音 or pinyin
- Don’t speak enough
Here’s the issue with some parents:
- No time to hire a tutor to speak more to the child.
- Have only one parent speaking in Chinese at home (will touch more on this in another article)
- Work during the day and only have short evenings to talk to the kid which is not enough.
- No reason – plain lazy, don’t want to speak more to the kid… life is hard enough.
To that last point of being very lazy… well… results will suffer as well. Sorry. No pain, no gain. Some parents want a miracle system where the kid does it and they miraculously are perfect in Chinese. Nope. Nothing of the sort. SORRY! Language is a daily accumulation of EFFORT. Key word: effort.
Having said that, I believe in long term accumulation and daily rituals.
Here is one thing I’ve been suggesting to parents in my classes. It takes 30 minutes a day. The beauty of it is… if they’re self sufficient, you don’t even need to be there:
- Buy a set of books with CDs that read word for word with the book.
- Have your child listen to the CDs while looking at the words everyday for 15 minutes AT LEAST. Better if you can do 30 but hey, I’ll take 15 if you can give it.
- Have your child READ ALOUD for 15 minutes a day with the same text or some other novel they like. They need to get used to reading aloud. Reading aloud helps you achieve many goals such as speaking, pronunciation, and memory recollection of new terms and phrases.
For parents who DO HAVE TIME:
Read with your child! Ask them to read aloud while you’re there! Do this 30 minutes a day and you’ll see marked improvements very fast!
For those that don’t speak Chinese at home: hire a tutor to read with the child 30 minutes a day or however many times you can afford a week. There are many online tutors now and they can just follow along with your child while he/she reads aloud.
There are also options that others have used like hire a live in au pair, send to Chinese immersion, send to an Asian country for the summer or winter, and many other methods!
What I’m proposing here is something you can start RIGHT AWAY with zero excuses. It’s the easiest way to start and then you can add on other stuff as you see fit in the future.
This is just a start of a discussion. To learn how other parents have used many other methods, you can join in the discussion here: https://www.facebook.com/groups/motherlynotes