Chinglish at two

MsB at two-and-a-bit is taking her time at learning to talk. She's bright as a button, but gets by with a few words and lots of miming. I think she's decided her parents are too thick to waste time talking to us, but the problem is we're never quite sure if she is trying to speak to us in English or Cantonese - and usually it's a bit of both. For example...

This week she's going through a possessive phase. When asked to give us something, we've been thinking she's saying "no way" but saying that just winds her up even more. Sister-in-law worked it out yesterday to be "no bei" ("bei" is "give" in Cantonese).

The same Sister-in-law mainly speaks Cantonese, which causes problem of it's own. MsB is well acquainted with cats, calling them "maau", the Cantonese word. She was calling another animal "maau" yesterday, and being corrected by our Sister-in-law "That's not a cat, silly". No, it was a mouse (we've just been to Disney), pronounced "maau".

Ahh, it can't be easy growing up as a mixed-up kid.


Re:Chinglish at two

My 3.5 year old has been able to distinguish between english and cantonese for the past half year. We speak a mixture of english and cantonese to her. She speaks english to our helper.

Her daytime school is a local chinese medium school (no english - but fair number of non-chinese pupils attend to learn cantonese). I think things are working out just as we had hoped on the language front. Her english seems to be a bit stronger at the moment, so that's when I try to use my cantonese more.

Try not to get upset at the language pains. Sure it's frustrating. We had them as well :)

more language problems . . .

Daughter Tall's just about 3.5 herself right now, and we've run into a new problem. She's now become aware of the fact that she's bilingual. That's nice, but the flip side is she's a bit contemptuous of those who are not. She gives her poor Daddy credit for at least knowing 'siu-siu' Cantonese, but yesterday she was telling Grandpa and Grandma (i.e. Mrs Tall's parents) that since they didn't know how to speak English, they'd better go to school and learn some!

Now we are three

I speak like a 3 year-old. Or to be precise, a 3 year and 3-month old. Sigh...

MissB started Chinese-speaking kindergarten in September, and since then her spoken Cantonese has gone from strength to strength. So in August I could keep up, in September I could just about keep up with a bit of guessing, but this month I have to ask MrsB 'what that word means'.

Similar to Mr Tall's experience, MissB currently has me labelled as 'He speaks English and a little bit of Chinese'. I guess it can't be long before she starts telling people to speak slowly to me.

And so the child's view of father as invincible super-being starts the long decline...