If you have followed me from the beginning, you would know that Hubby and I made a deliberate decision to speak to little man in Mandarin since he was young.
Due to my personal experience in teaching the language, observations and feedback from many parents, I felt that children in Singapore are able to learn English at a faster pace because of our English-speaking environment. Many children only speak Mandarin to their grandparents, which is really not a good way to learn proper Mandarin as the Mandarin of their generation is often greatly tainted by the influence of their dialects. Hence, we make it a point to speak proper Mandarin in proper sentences to little man, trying our very best not to mix it with another language, which is so common in Singapore.
Our efforts paid off as little man become rather good in communicating in Mandarin. In fact, the very first week when he attended school, his Chinese teacher commented that he is very much stronger in the language than most of his peers. On the downside, as much as little man has a wide range of vocabulary in English, he is unable to put them to use when communicating with others.
This morning, I brought little man down to the playground.
He started to make friends with some of the older children who were there. They were very kind to take care of him while playing. I was rather amused, yet slightly troubled when I hear their conversation.
Boy A: Don’t go down here okay? It is very dangerous.
Little Man: @#$%^&#$%^&*@….. dinosaur… roar! (with a very dramatic act)
Boy B: I let you go down this slide, I will go down the other slide.
Little Man: @#$%^&#$%^&*@….. dinosaur… roar! (again with a very dramatic act)
And then my little boy went on to roar at his other playmates before ending it with a happy laugh. The other children did not seem to mind. They actually thought he was cute. I have to agree with them, he was really cute. But it brought along new sets of concern.
Perhaps, I should start conversing in English more often to him.