Will my child be confused?

  1. #1

    Join Date
    Apr 2013

    Question Will my child be confused?

    Experienced parents would appreciate your advice:
    My daughter received zero offers to local prenurseries. My original hope was for her to learn Cantonese in PN and kindergarten, thereby giving her more options when it came time to applying for Primary. Ideally, we would like her to attend a Primary where the MOI is a combination of English and Putonghua(Pth) but as been said on this forum, it does not hurt to learn Cantonese. We speak English and another Asian language at home and can provide no support at home in either Canto or Pth, but do intend to fill that need when it arises with tutors.

    I am still hoping that a local PN place will open up for her, but may not know until as late as August, parents with multiple offers tend to release the spots they dont want in July I hear. In the meantime, my daughter is currently attending an English playgroup twice a week. I have found a Cantonese playgroup where I can send her twice a week an hour each time, and a Putonghua one that can offer 3hr classes three times a week.

    Is two hours of Canto immersion a week for five months enough to help my child pick up some rudimentary Canto? The Canto playgroup stops when she turns two in late summer. Will I be confusing my child if I send her to both the Canto and Pth classes, especially if I can not get her into a local PN?

    Should I just forget the idea of her learning Canto at the moment and try again for her K1 applications? This means she wont start learning Canto until K1 (from Aug 2014), assuming she gets into a Canto kindy...

    any insight would be most appreciated.

  2. #2

    Join Date
    Apr 2013

    I'm Cantonese and my husband is not. After living in Hong Kong for 13 years, I don't find Cantonese very helpful especially if you can speak English and Mandarin. If you ultimately want to send your kid to an English and Mandarin school, I would skip Cantonese. If you were to pick a 3rd language, Spanish will be more useful than Cantonese.

  3. #3

    Join Date
    Sep 2012
    Tung Chung, Lantau

    At this young age, my experience is that two languages are sufficient, especially if you want her to speak soon for interviewing purposes (takes much longer for kids to speak if they are CONSTANTLY exposed to more than one language before the age of 3, short weekly classes are fine). Canto & Mandarin are only two different dialects anyway, so if they know one, they should be able to pick up the other one at a rudimentary level later on (between age 3-6).

    My son started off with English & Canto simultaneously, but after learning from an experienced kindie principal, I spoke to my son in one solid language from 10 months onward. He was able to speak in full sentences by 23 months. I then add canto as a second language thereafter. He is now almost 1-1/2 years old and his Canto is alright. He's also been doing French lessons since 4 months of age, but honestly once a week with no additional exposure is pretty useless. His kindie is English+Mandarin, so hopefully his Canto can help him a bit to grasp Mando. The writing is basically the same anyway.