ERIC Number: ED026642
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1969
Reference Count: N/A
The Language Problems of Chinese Children in America.
Chao, Yuen Ren
The author encourages American parents of Chinese ancestry to use the Chinese language with their children whenever this is possible. It is a major opportunity for children to learn an important second language while they are young enough to do so naturally, without conscious effort. Although it is more difficult when parents are speakers of different dialects and cannot use Chinese to communicate with each other, it is possible for a child to learn to speak with one parent in Chinese and the other in English. The author has five suggestions for maintaining the Chinese language in the home: (1) Be sure that the habit of speaking only one language is fixed early enough so that children understand they must use only Chinese in order to communicate. (2) Expose the child to other Chinese speakers (children and other adults) so that the language is not associated exclusively with one group. (3) As much as possible, avoid mixing English words or phrases into Chinese sentences. (4) Don't underestimate the value of local dialects. It is much better to learn Cantonese or Chungshan than to learn no Chinese at all. (5) The spoken language is more basic than the written language. Learning to speak is easier for children than learning characters and the actual use of the language makes it a living experience for them. (JD)
Descriptors: Bilingualism, Chinese, Chinese Americans, Cultural Background, Dialects, Family Environment, Language Skills, Language Usage, Second Languages
Limited number of copies available from the Chinese Linguistics Project, Green Hall Annex, Princeton University, Princeton, N.J. 08540 ($1.50 for handling).
Publication Type: N/A
Education Level: N/A
Sponsor: Ford Foundation, New York, NY.
Authoring Institution: Princeton Univ., NJ. Chinese Linguistics Project.
Note: Preprint appearing in "Unicorn No. 3".