Who’s Afraid of Chinese? Hint: Grab An App

thumbnail_afraidofchinese“What if I say the wrong thing to her?”

“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!

  1. thanks for sharing the apps you use. I speak mostly Chinese to my 3YO daughter and Pleco has come in very useful for me. In fact, she gets very excited to listen to the translation and repeats after it.

    will try out the other apps too!

  2. Hi Diana! Since young, I have always known you to be effectively bilingual! In fact, the reason why I chose to work hard and be effectively bilingual when I was young was because I want to be as effectively bilingual as you. Now that I have embarked on a journey on being an early childhood educator for the past 10 years, and to date, I have this opportunity to train early childhood educators. All the more I would like to try advocate and share the joy of learning Chinese and being effectively bilingual with my colleagues and the educators in the industry. Now that my hubby and I also have a little one of our own who has just turned 2 this year, we are beginning to expose him to Chinese as much as we can when we are at home. I must thank my MIL for having chanced upon your blog posts and introduced it to me. After watching your videos, albeit short, nonetheless encourages and spurs me on in making it an active and purposeful effort to simplify some of these activities to cater to the needs of my son, thus making it age appropriate for him, AND make learning Chinese as fun as I can! Thank you for sharing and starting this initiative! You are awesome!

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