My son the "English"man

  1. #1

    Join Date
    Sep 2004
    Location
    HK
    Posts
    29

    My son the "English"man

    My 3.5 yr old son asked me in Mandarin the other day "Mommy are you Chinese" to which I responded in Chinese "yes, I am, how about you" thinking he would say yes, but his response threw me off when he answered to me in Chinese "No, I'm "english"man"! He later claims that since I read to him in English, he should read in English so therefore, we are "English".

    Do other moms who raise their kids in a bilingual environment have similar experiences, and how do you deal with it? Is preference of one language over the other common?


  2. #2

    Join Date
    Mar 2003
    Location
    New Territories
    Posts
    72

    For a while my kids confused language use w/ nationality or ethnicity. They thought one of my friends was "English" because she speaks English w/ them, but she is from a different European country. They thought I was "English" (I'm from the USA) until I explained (a few times) the difference between language and country. Having globes around the house helps. :)

    For a while when my son was in P2, he did not like me to use his Chinese name when I was on his school grounds, or use any Chinese at all (it was an English medium school). He was rather anti-Chinese-language use for a while. I think it was because his English is much better than his Cantonese, and he felt inadequate or embarassed to speak Cantonese. Perhaps because our daughter is better at Cantonese than him too.

    This is improving now that he is older. Lately he is willing to speak Cantonese, especially because he can point out my mistakes.


  3. #3

    Join Date
    Sep 2009
    Posts
    2

    One of my fondest memories was the day my then 4 year old proudly proclaimed he was English. A bit odd as daddy is american and mother is Chinese. Never saw it coming....


  4. #4

    Join Date
    Feb 2008
    Location
    HK Island
    Posts
    307

    My 5 yo was born in the US (like my twins) and she moved her when she was a little over 4 (we were in Europe 6 months in between, we're European). She refuses to speak Dutch, always has, she only wants to speak English even though I speak Dutch to her 90% of the time (I have slip of the tongues too, especially if somebody continues to talk back in English!), but so far hardly a single word. She talks English to her siblings so they're on the same path, although they occasionally say a Dutch word ... it's very typical, also the transition from US English (awesome was one of her first words) to UK English ...