Sunday, November 07, 2010

Struggles of a bi-lingual child

One of the advantages of having a euro-asian child, as I see it, is the opportunity for the child to learn two languages from a  very young age, and possibly optimising the child’s intellectual capacity at a time when the child has capacity to spare.

Because of my mother-in-law, my child learned to speak Mandarin in parallel with his English from the start.

This may or may not explain why my son experienced speech delay problems when he reached about 12 months old, but I suspect not.

These delay problems eventually required about 4 years of speech pathology treatment. I suspect however that maybe my son had an inherent weakness with language to begin with, rather than any complications arising out of his bi-lingual environment.

Despite my son making remarkable progress with his English speech once he entered speech pathology, he still struggles with learning Mandarin.

At this stage my son has a genuine appreciation of the English language. He is an excellent speller and he has developed a very broad and impressive vocabulary.

But his Mandarin, despite being given every opportunity to learn, is quite woeful.

He attends Chinese lessons once a week, and I am wondering whether more lessons will help him gain some traction in this language.

It would be a terrible shame if my son does not master this language, given the importance of this language to my son’s heritage, and the ever growing role this language will play on the world scene.

What do you like/dislike most about Chinese women?