She speaks! (Part II) しゃべった!(新菜の巻)

Every morning and evening I drop off and pick up Nina at her daycare and the “Lao Shi” (Chinese teacher) speaks to Nina in Mandarin.  I’ve only seen Nina nod or answer 好 (good) or 不好(not good).  Essentially, I’ve seen a word or two, but never a full sentence. Lao Shi has been telling me that Nina’s pronunciation is good, but she is a passive speaker. She speaks when she’s asked to, but doesn’t voluntarily speak in Mandarin.  I’ve decided that she can take her time. It’s not like MY Mandarin is going anywhere, and she’s already handling two languages at home.

Then on last Tuesday,  I finally heard it!  When Lao Shi asked about her weekend, Nina responded by telling her what she did…in a full sentence!…in Mandarin!  Nina has been attending her local daycare since she was 19 months, so close to two years now. Although I know that there are plenty of families that teach their children more than three languages, seeing Nina struggle, I was feeling like maybe it is too much too fast. I started to focus on Japanese at home after she turned three and started to show interest in learning Japanese.  I’ve been reading to her only in Japanese, responding to her in Japanese and asking her to repeat her English sentences in Japanese.  Her Japanese is now much better than it used to be.  It’s still weaker than her English and she doesn’t sound like a full Japanese child, but she can now communicate decently well. Actually, I think what prompted her to speak Mandarin is her newfound ability to speak Japanese.

As she’s become more comfortable with Japanese, I think she’s gotten a confidence boost in her abilities as a student and I feel that this has been a huge factor in the leaps she’s been making with all her languages.  She often says, (in Japanese) “Nina can speak Japanese! Nina is Amaaaazing” and we spend a lot of time praising her for speaking two languages at home.  It’s interesting how her fascination with one language actually seems to have encouraged her to focus on the third language.

She now has a Mandarin reading bee from school and the title is exactly how I feel.  私很高兴! (I am very hapypy!)




新菜は今、学校で中国語の本を読む練習をしている、タイトルは 私很高兴。今のママの気分と同じ \(^ o ^ )/ とっても嬉しいわ。

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