“What if my pronunciation is not spot on?”
These are some of the biggest fears parents have when it comes to speaking Mandarin to their children.
These fears are not unfounded.
But while research has shown that children who learn a language when they are very young have a much better chance of acquiring a “native” accent, the reverse may not necessarily be true. In other words, if you have a “local” accent, your child still has a chance to pick up a more “authentic” accent.
This is because our kids learn language not just from us, but also their friends, teachers, media, Grandpa, Grandma etc.
So your not being able to enunciate like a CCTV newscaster should not deter you from trying to speak some Mandarin regularly to your little one.
I firmly believe that my doing something is better than doing nothing at all. Thankfully, technology is on our side.
My secret weapon is… translation apps!
Here are my top picks:
– PLECO: Great for translating English to Chinese, and vice versa.
– WAYGO: You point the camera at the Chinese words, and voila, the English translation appears. Chinese to English only.
– ITRANSLATE: With audio aid. Champion.
I use the translation apps a lot, and I am not ashamed at all. In fact, this is how I show the kids that we never stop learning, no matter how old we are.
So translate away, and speak some Mandarin every day!