We are a native Vietnamese family with a 4 y.o. boy.
My little boy is quite keen on languages. I, as mommy, speak English with him at home, and his daddy speaks Vietnamese with him (One Person, One Language). As a result, he can communicate in English on a casual basis.
As he loves languages, we had him try Chinese, and he LOVES it. He feels so excited with Chinese classes. But, we face the challenge that none of us knows Chinese, so my boy cannot have a Chinese environment to practice at home. We tried to find a playgroup in Chinese but couldn't. And his kindergarten is in English & Vietnamese.
Do you have any ideas? Would love to learn from you guys.
Thanks in advance,
Mom of 4yo boy enjoying Vietnamese, English, Chinese
I wanted my eldest daughter to hear our ml2 from another speaker so she would learn and accept that it's not just "Mummy's language", so I went with a language agency through which I hire ml2 speakers to come and play with my daughter once a week. I feel that this has definitely helped my eldest to accept the fact that the ml2 is used by many and hence make the effort to use it.
Maybe Google a similar agency in your town...or how about a babysitter/nanny?
Ngan, welcome! And I'm sorry my response to your introduction was so slow--I haven't been as actively here lately.
First, congratulations on all the good progress you and your son have experienced so far. As long as you maintain your daily efforts to support his English side, I expect his bilingual ability will continue to grow well.
As for Chinese, I would also encourage you to see the post that Amy suggested. Since you and your husband don't have ability in this language, you'll need to be resourceful about working with other speakers of the language to provide input. Of course, his Chinese probably won't develop at the same strong pace as Vietnamese and English, but if you stay persistent with this exposure, he can still make steady progress over time.
In a way, this is similar to our third language, Spanish. I don't speak the language myself (though I'm now studying along with my kids) so I've had to rely on a Spanish speaker to provide them with input. While she only comes to our house twice a month, I've supplemented this exposure with music, apps, workbooks, etc. Their progress is slow, but it's steady, and they now have a basic foundation in this language that can be built on for the future. And, with more opportunities as they get older, maybe one day they'll gain fluency in Spanish, too!
If you're curious, I wrote a post about our efforts to learn Spanish...
Adam Beck is the founder of Bilingual Monkeys and The Bilingual Zoo and the author of "Maximize Your Child's Bilingual Ability"; "I WANT TO BE BILINGUAL!"; "28 Bilingual English-Spanish Fairy Tales & Fables"; and the award-winning humorous novel "How I Lost My Ear".
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