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Chinese Parents

Flo Toronto

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Flo Toronto last won the day on May 14 2018

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About Flo Toronto

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  • Family languages
    Cantonese, Mandarin
  1. Flo Toronto

    Introduce yourself! 介紹自己!

    Hi Tina, Thanks for your quick reply and compliments. Nice to meet you too :-) I work very hard on my son's Chinese because it's very important for me to pass along the mother tongue and myself and my parents. Nowadays, as China is getting stronger and stronger, many Hong Kong parents here are trying to get their kids to learn Cantonese for family/ heritage and Mandarin for future opportunities. The other reason is that I am myself a linguist by bachelor's degree :-) So I was aware of the importance of metalinguistic awareness earlier on. I believe that thanks for my communication of this to my boy, he knows how languages work better than the kids without. For example, he understands what classifier is about (e.g. a piece of, a loaf of) because in Chinese there are many classifiers and we have to add one before saying almost every noun. For now, I'm still reading story books to him in colloquial Cantonese because I want to make the reading enjoyable. On Sagebooks, I am reading literary Chinese because these are supposed to train him literacy. I've no choice but to use the OPOL strategy because my husband is an Anglo-Canadian. But I totally understand your struggle between OPOL and ML@H. There are many factors to consider. For example, it's, in general,good the best when both parents speak naturally in each of their 1st language. But if there's only one speaking Chinese, children will have less exposure. But with good strategies, the less exposure quantity-wise can be made up by good exposure quality-wise, like what I'm doing. My son will soon be finishing K1 level of Chinese class in Cantonese & traditional characters at Mon Sheong (Friday night session in North York) and we'll be enrolling him on K2 for the coming September. So far he really likes it! I'm fluent but not native in Mandarin, so for now I'm using SageBooks to teach train him basic literacy and Mandarin at the same time. He's enjoying this too because I try to relate the texts to his day-to-day life as much as possible. And even in here there is a metalinguistic awareness thing: I told him why in MonSheong he's learning Chinese in Cantonese and why over Sagebooks at home he's learning Chinese in Mandarin. If you'd like to meet some more like-minded moms, I recommend you to join this group who keep trying to organize Chinese speaking meet-ups. Mandarin/Cantonese kiddo meetups (downtown) https://www.facebook.com/groups/194958077766306/ As you are living in Midtown, I think we could also meet up for playdates on our own too? Or we could also exchange tel# for more discussion by phone conversation or Whatsapp, which is less time-consuming than writing here :-)
  2. Flo Toronto

    Introduce yourself! 介紹自己!

    Hi Tina, I'm so thrilled to see your post because until you joined, there were only two members in the GTA! I'm living in North York since 3 years already. I'm native Cantonese and speak exclusively Cantonese to my boy (absolutely no code-mix or code-switch) while his Anglo-Canadian daddy speaks English to him. That means I not only communicate with him in Cantonese on a day-day-basis but also teach him Chinese (both Cantonese and Mandarin) in Cantonese and give him metalinguistic awareness (advising him the WHY and HOW of his bilingual/ multilingual childhood) Over these years, by a lot of research and trials, I've finally got my son's Chinese learning better structured. But soon as he goes to school, the acquisition of Chinese will be like an uphill battle. Let's see how he gets on later :-) Cheers, Florence
  3. Flo Toronto

    Hello Markham!

    Hey Calvin, I'm sorry that I hadn't been in touch for a while. No, you are not the only one here because I am still here but have just been too busy. Having this said, I also wonder why there are only 2 of us here :-( BTW, I've visited Hong Kong again for 2 weeks and just got back on Sunday. My son had a good time and also a good Cantonese immersion :-)
  4. Flo Toronto

    Hello Markham!

    Hi Calvin, I hope you had a great Christmas break! Things have been hectic at my end because my husband has got back issues lately, meaning that I have to take over even more child caring chores. I eventually didn't join the talk regarding multilingual parenting because my son's got ear infection. The poor boy at this age still cannot use words to clearly express his feelings. The only thing he can do is to cry and it can take a while until we understand what's in him and whether we should take him to doctor right away. But the day when he can express himself clearly will come. He is now speaking more and more complete sentences in Cantonese and I really think this is a reward to my perseverance and consistence! I'll surely let you know when there are interesting events again, or I have also actually been thinking if you/ your kids would be interested in playdates with my boy at some point :-)
  5. Flo Toronto

    Introduce yourself! 介紹自己!

    你好,請問你們在哪裡居住?我在加拿大多倫多。
  6. My white husband and me a Hong Kong Chinese are based in Toronto raising our toddler boy. He is immersed in English at daycare, daddy, my whole family-in-law, the community-at-large and I am the only source of Cantonese to him. It's challenging in terms of both quantity and quality, because my boy doesn't pick up Cantonese conversation quickly as I am the only one speaking it to him one-way, instead of two-way when there is another Cantonese speaker around. He's code-mixing with me seriously. My other strategies to fight for both quantity and quality is not to code-mix myself - meaning I don't mix any English words inside Cantonese sentences. This takes a lot of self control for me who is also used to be code-mixing like many other Hong Kong people. I hope this can help him learn more vocabulary, better syntax and, as well as the self control in switching between languages. Whether he's speaking Cantonese, English or code-mixing to me, I respond exclusively in Cantonese and ask him to repeat his words in Cantonese wherever possible. I understand this may be difficult for Chinese born/raised overseas. When he's older, I also plan to sending him to Saturday Chinese class to learn reading, writing and Mandarin (I am fluent in Mandarin but have accent) properly. So in order to get him better prepared, I started showing him cartoons in Mandarin instead of Cantonese Saturday mornings :-)
  7. That's ready great stuff! Thanks Tammy and Andrew for the sharing! It's really a great way of immersion, so that kids learn new stuff in the target language itself!
  8. hi where in toronto are you from?
    1. Flo Toronto

      Flo Toronto

      Hi I am living in North York. How about you?
  9. Flo Toronto

    Hello Markham!

    Wow! Thank you so much for sharing the files and dictionary! You are so nice! I try to play Cantonese nursery Rhymes at home as much as possible, but we usually play mainstream Canadian pop music in the car because daddy is white Canadian and PRIMARY DRIVER. Oh yes, for jooksings like you, raising kids in Chinese is much harder because most of them can't read Chinese or only very little! But believe me, your kids will thank you when they are grown up. BTW, I just wonder if you also know about and are interested in this event? I have registered already and hope I can make it. I am hoping not only to get more insights, but also to network with other Chinese parents. I believe the Chinese parents who would attend this event would have at least the determination (even if not yet the right approach) http://www.lifewithababy.com/event-2330355
  10. Flo Toronto

    Hello Markham!

    Hi Calvin, thank you for your recommendation of TF boys. My son loves music too and I hope this can also enthuse him. Among my friends here, the whites of course can speak only English to my son, but even the Chinese "naturally" speak English/ Chinglish/ mix code to my boy because they think they should be speaking English to a "gwaizai". I had to remind them that I am putting my utmost efforts to raise him in Chinese and had to beg them for help by not speaking English. Hong Kong people are serious code-mixers wherever they are. All Hong Kong parents I know here (except YOU & another friend) are code-mixing seriously but not even aware of it (let alone it's negative impact on their kids' language development). Although they are using a lot of English words in their parent-child conversations, they claim that they are also doing "Chinese only at home". I wish they'd know the best teachers of minority language are parents. If they could also be consistent, like you and me, the learning from Chinese class could be very much leveraged!!!!! So I'd like to give kudos to you and your wife for your awareness and efforts in doing REAL "Chinese only at home". Yes, it'd costly to travel to Hong Kong as a family of 4 huh? This is not something a regular family can do every year. We are only 3 so we plan to travel there once every 2-3 years. We really have to do so despite the cost because my husband has to land Hong Kong every 3 years to keep his permanent residency anyway.
  11. Living in Toronto. OPOL in the family. Father/ in-laws side all English. Target languages: Cantonese, Mandarin and German
  12. Flo Toronto

    Introduce yourself! 介紹自己!

    Hi everybody, I am Florence, born and raised in Hong Kong and moved to Toronto with my husband and boy 2 years ago when he was just 3.5 months. I am native in Cantonese, fluent in Mandarin and German as well. Living in Toronto with my Anglo-Canadian husband and sending my boy to a regular daycare, my son's exposure to Cantonese is only around 25%. I plan to keep on immersing him in Cantonese with my native fluency and send him to Chinese school to learn Mandarin properly when he's older. I am familiar with both Pinyin and Jyutping so I can help him in this as well. I'm also contemplating how to add German into my multilingual parenting scheme, for which I'll have to coordinate fun activities at home and with some German families in the area.
  13. Flo Toronto

    Hello Markham!

    Hi Calvin, I am living on the Yonge St Part of North York so it's more Korean/ Mainstream rather than Chinese (unlike Markham). Daddy and all my in-laws are English, daycare is English and community is English, so the exposure to my son is around 25% only. I was born and raised in Hong Kong and also came to Canada knowing too much "Chinese", but I also knew (as a linguistics graduate) very early that kids pick up the community language quickly, and Chinese is a damn difficult language that has to be taught when kids are really really young. So I started speaking Cantonese to him exclusively when he was still in my womb already :D It's funny. All my Hong Kong friends thought I would just be raising my boy in English because I am living in Canada in an inter-racial marriage. As I visited Hong Kong in March, they asked if I would speak at least a little bit of Chinese to him and were totally surprised when I told them that I don't actually speak any bit of English to him :rolleyes: I used to be living on Warden and Steeles and would have been very close to Yips. But for now it's not a choice anymore :confused: It's not only about the distance but also the preference of my white-Canadian husband. He totally supports my decision to raise our boy bilingually, but he trusts mainstream English speaking daycare/ early learning places more. The performances you shared look great and I am very happy for your sons!
  14. Flo Toronto

    Hello Markham!

    Thanks for your recommendations re schools. My boy is speaking more English than Cantonese now already because his dad is white Canadian, let alone daycare and the community at large. That's why I am trying my utmost to maximize his exposure to Chinese. I totally agree with you that kids will pick up English easily here and the Chinese at home only policy is really smart. I don't understand why there are still so many Hong Kong parents still worrying about their kids' development of English proficiency and chose not to use "too much" Chinese to them. I have a friend whose boy is 5 too. Even though the parents speak Cantonese mainly (but code-mixing), the boy is no longer willing to speak Cantonese anymore. Since recently we are having gatherings regularly to immerse our boys with fun activities that would allow "captive learning" of Cantonese. Let's see.
  15. Flo Toronto

    Hello Markham!

    Hey Calvin, I think you are doing an ABSOLUTELY great job! What you are doing make perfect sense to me - saying things in English only when their names sounds natural/official only in English. And I also agree that it's worth to look things up if you don't know how to say certain words in Chinese. This is also what I am doing. I was born and raised in Hong Kong, so my Chinese is still way better than English, but I am also used to code-mixing like many other Hong Kong people, so for my son and myself I am now training myself not to code-mix. I am glad to hear that we have the same determination! It's really great to meet you Calvin! How old are your kids if I may ask? My son is 2 yrs 4 mths and he also enjoys Peppa Pig in Cantonese!!!!! :)
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