language learning

We have been here over 1 year and I’m sad to say that I don’t know more Cantonese. There are lots of reasons I haven’t learned very much, on the top of the list would be: I was busy with a newborn, homeschooling and adjusting to life over seas. Another reason we haven’t been forced to learn more of the language is that English is widely spoken here. But really I just haven’t spent much time learning the language. Cantonese has been quite intimidating to me. It is a very difficult tonal language with 6 different tones.

While Cantonese is the spoken language in HK, in China the predominant language is Mandarin which people say is a bit easier to learn (only 5 tones…only!) We have learned that since 1997 (after the hand over of HK from Britain back to China) there has been more and more Mandarin spoken here in HK. That being said we have learned a little of both but have begun to pursue learning Mandarin a bit more now. Abe is very good with languages and has been proactive in getting books and flashcards for the kids to learn Mandarin from but there is nothing like learning while speaking with someone.

We have been blessed to have a sweet young Chinese lady come and clean our apartment weekly. She is from Hong Kong and speaks Cantonese but also speaks Mandarin fluently. We have had a few impromptu Mandarin lessons with Fong when she is here. Fong has helped us learn some vocab and is patient with our pronunciation. She has also helped the boys begin writing Chinese characters. The written language is just beautiful. It was interesting to find out that there is a proper way, a correct order of each stroke in a character. The boys seem to soak it all up better than I do for sure but the learning is slow. Life and busy and full…we’ll see how much we learn. Just don’t quiz us! 🙂IMG_6188

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3 thoughts on “language learning

  1. I am so impressed by your boys’ Chinese writing. I can read all the words! They can certainly write more than my kids…very impressive!! Also, I see that one of your boys is really becoming an Asian local…photographed with a victory/peace sign! Hahaha… =)

    One of my aunts (who is married to my uncle…one of my mom’s younger brothers) is Caucasian. She is from New Jersey but she has lived in Hong Kong for over 30 years. I remember when she first moved to Hong Kong, my mom made a deal with her, telling her to speak to me in Cantonese and making me speak only English to her. My mom said that this way we could correct each other’s language. Thinking back, I think my aunt and I have both benefited from the practice. It was the weirdest thing back then because I remember when we went out together, people would look at us like we were crazy because we were speaking each other’s native tongue. My aunt now speaks perfect Cantonese (and Mandarin) with no accent. Of course, she took some Chinese classes over the years and has lived in Hong Kong for so long…even longer than my years in Hong Kong. I think your children will benefit a lot from Fong when it comes to learning both Cantonese and Mandarin.

    CBS is coming to a close in two weeks. I think of you often when I go to CBS and am thankful we had a chance to know each other a little before you moved to Hong Kong. Miss you… ~ Vinny =)

    • Vinny I loved reading your comment!!! Wish I could hear you and your aunt speak to each other! 🙂 Great way to learn for you both. Enjoy the last couple weeks of CBS. I have missed it greatly. Blessings to you!

  2. Elliot’s writing looks so good – perfect. Is each box one letter or one word? Looks very difficult either way. Your boys are getting to experience such wonderful things. They are fortunate – just so they don’t become permanent HK residents! Love, Mom

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