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Maggie
Reply with quote  #1 
Hi,

We are trying to bring our 3 year old daughter up billingually.  My mother tongue is English and I speak to her in English almost all of the time (with a very few simly words and phrases in Cantonese - I limit this as my accent is terrible).  My husband speaks to her in Cantonese all of the time (he is a native speaker from Hong Kong).  We live in the UK and she has just started attending nursery so she is hearing English almost all of the time.  My husband works long hours so she spends limited time with him.  Up until she was about 2 years and 9 months she would answer back in Cantonese when my husband spoke to her but recently she has been answering back in English and has been quite reluctant to speak in Cantonese.  Her speech in English has become far more sophisticated recently so she automatically wants to speak in English as she can now express herself far more clearly in this language  Does anyone have any ideas as to how we can encourage her to speak in Cantonese more?

I have two older children 11 and 14 years who speak and understand very little Cantonese due to my husband working away from home a lot when they were little so she is also speaking with them in English too.  They also speak to their dad in English as they know so little Cantonese.  I think my 3 year old is wondering why she is the only person that my husband is speaking cantonese to.  We have no other relatives here and only manage to spend 2 weeks a year in Hong Kong.

She watches a lot of Cantonese dvds whch I think is helping.  Does anyone know of any software in cantonese or websites (such as the equivalent of cbeebies) in cantonese?

I would appreciate any advice as my husband any I have already failed to bring up our older  children billingually and are very keen that it shouldn't happen with our youngest child.

Thanks
Maggie
Jessica
Reply with quote  #2 

Hello Maggie-

I am from Spain and my husband in from the States. We live in Florida and we have a 7 year old and a 4 year old. Because of the impact of English in our children's lifes (they both attend to school/preschool), my husband and I decided that we were going to speak Spanish at home, as much as we could. My oldest son didn't show much resistance to speak Spanish when he actualy started to do it arounf age 4. On the other hand, my youngest, who happened to be very verbal, refused to say a word in Spanish even thought he perfectly understood everything we said to him in Spanish (my husband speaks Spanish as his second language, and even with an accent he has helped our chidren a lot achiving the language as they understand it is the language that we use as a family without any negotiations). I though that my youngest will not be as fluent as my oldest but..to my surprise, at age 3 1/2 he started building sentences and to communicate with us in Spanish more and more. Computer games (those that you find on line and are free), tv, books... any other source of information you could use to reinforce the target language will benefit your child (even if it takes a while for you to "hear" it.

Best wishes,

Jessica

P.D: ask your husband to teach you a couple of sentences every week that are involved in your daily routine with your children and practice while he is not around. It seems like they need your reinforcement a lot. Having an accent is not such a bad thing, in the future they will be able to communicate with dad and he will master their pronunciation as they speak to each other or with other relatives (skype?).




Quote:
Originally Posted by Maggie
Hi,

We are trying to bring our 3 year old daughter up billingually.  My mother tongue is English and I speak to her in English almost all of the time (with a very few simly words and phrases in Cantonese - I limit this as my accent is terrible).  My husband speaks to her in Cantonese all of the time (he is a native speaker from Hong Kong).  We live in the UK and she has just started attending nursery so she is hearing English almost all of the time.  My husband works long hours so she spends limited time with him.  Up until she was about 2 years and 9 months she would answer back in Cantonese when my husband spoke to her but recently she has been answering back in English and has been quite reluctant to speak in Cantonese.  Her speech in English has become far more sophisticated recently so she automatically wants to speak in English as she can now express herself far more clearly in this language  Does anyone have any ideas as to how we can encourage her to speak in Cantonese more?

I have two older children 11 and 14 years who speak and understand very little Cantonese due to my husband working away from home a lot when they were little so she is also speaking with them in English too.  They also speak to their dad in English as they know so little Cantonese.  I think my 3 year old is wondering why she is the only person that my husband is speaking cantonese to.  We have no other relatives here and only manage to spend 2 weeks a year in Hong Kong.

She watches a lot of Cantonese dvds whch I think is helping.  Does anyone know of any software in cantonese or websites (such as the equivalent of cbeebies) in cantonese?

I would appreciate any advice as my husband any I have already failed to bring up our older  children billingually and are very keen that it shouldn't happen with our youngest child.

Thanks
Maggie

Geraldine
Reply with quote  #3 
We speak French and English, and live in the United states.  My husband and I are native French speaker, but I grew in an English environment since birth.  We have a 3 years old daughter and a 14 years old son.  Our daughter speaks both English and French.  Our son speaks English but understands French (he is passive bilingual).  We speak only French at home.

When our daughter started nursery school in September we decided that because she mostly spoke French I would speak English to her and my husband would speak French.  But we learned quickly that it was a mistake for us.  As she quickly was speaking less and less French.  So we quickly reverted to speaking French only at home.  We also have encouraged our son to speak and understand more.  We would address him mostly in French, although he would answer in English.  On weekends, the rule is that he has to answer in French.  He will also be taking French in high school next year.  Our goal is for him to be speaking French by the summer?  80% of the books we read with our daughter is in French.  Now I have limited English TV for mostly French programming.  She started balking, but for the past month she has not ask for sesame street.

If my daughter starts speaking English to me, we tell her we do not understand and to please repeat in French.  If she is really having a tough time we would repeat the word or sentence in French and answer in French.

It would be great if you could increase your Cantonese.  Do not worry about your accent (everybody has one).  Try to get free Cantonese programming (TV or net, or public library) for the kids.   On Friday we have family movie night and we have it in French so this forces my son to follow, my son may complain at the beginning of the movie but adapt quickly.  If your younger daughter sees that you address your older ones in Cantonese, maybe that could help, and at the same time they may start answering with simple phrase.  Games in Cantonese that involved all 3 kids?

Good luck.

Geraldine
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