Monday, May 13th, 2013
Do I teach my child my native language even though I am not fluent?
Do I teach child my native language even though I am not fluent?/ © shutterstock
Dear Dr. Gupta,
Is it “worthwhile” to speak to my young baby (nine months) in my native Cantonese with the hope that he will acquire some of the language even though I have rudimentary fluency (grade school level)?
Although Cantonese is my native language and was what I spoke at home with my parents, English quickly became my dominant language once I started school and is currently my dominant language as an adult. Still, I would like my son to have some understanding or better yet, some fluency in Cantonese.
I have been speaking to him almost exclusively in Cantonese since he was born. However, I am afraid he will learn incorrect Cantonese from me (bad accent, grammar). Unfortunately, I do not know anyone else in my area who speaks Cantonese and I am the only one who speaks it at home, so I feel this is an uphill battle.
Will my son’s command of Cantonese only be as good as my own? Would it better for him to just focus on one language (English) than to be somewhat bilingual and learn bad Cantonese?
© 2013, Anthea Fraser Gupta. All rights reserved.
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