On raising bilingual kids: 7.5yo and 3.5yo

This half year, I knew I didn’t have access to my website (got it back in February 2023) but the lack of notes is also because there is less cute, novel things to say and it’s sliding towards English. Which is part of bilingualism. I’m processing my thoughts on it. This post was actually finalized and posted in April 2023.


31 July 2022– Kiddo surprised me at MY’s charging in from the garage when dinner was ready and inquiring what’s for dinner and chanting 食嘢食嘢 / sik6 je5 sik6 je5 / “eat things eat things!” which Baby followed – and some time after dinner, he told MY 多謝文怡姨你煮嘢畀我 / do1 ze6 man4 ji4 ji4 nei5 zyu2 je5 bei2 ngo5 / “thank you Aunt MY for cooking something for me” or something like that like that. WOW! Did he see hear that when SIL makes her kid say that (please can I be excused from the table)? (Unlikely.) Or did he have a moment of gratitude?? Yes??

3 Aug – love how when SIL’s husband asks Kiddo how he is (in English), he answers 好 / hou2 / “good”. I’m not entirely sure he answers the same to NPY’s brother. And NPY and FIL were talking in English about fixing the dishwasher (or washing machine) and Kiddo despite that, asks his questions in Chinese.

7 Aug – recent props from friends Herb and Carole (separate occasions) about the kids speaking in Chinese – to Herb I responded that it was for congratulations for me – Carole’s kids speak Chinglish. When Kiddo doesn’t know that work but he just threw in 氣球 / hei3 kau4 / “balloon” in an otherwise English sentence. Kiddo and Baby are switching languages when they play – you think it’s veering to English and then a sudden switch.

21 Aug the kids are chanting Cana-大/daai6 which is cute because they are retaining the last syllable from the Chinese name, 加拿大 / gaa1 naa4 daai6 / Canada. But when singing the national anthem (attempting it) they are pronouncing it Cana-DA.

26 Aug sitting alone in the backseat and listening to us argue on English and Kiddo shouts back at us, 你講緊乜中文/ nei5 gong2 gan2 me1 zung1 man4 / “which Chinese are you talking in??”

26 Sept Baby confuses white (白 / baak6) and says “black” which is so funny because it’s the opposite.

10 Sept I guess Baby is the truly bilingual one. At the same age, Kiddo didn’t know but could use English and Chinese, but his English was much worse. Her Chinese is possibly much worse.

24 Oct I asked Kiddo to count to 60 (one minute) when sharing something and he said he counted in “our Chinese” in his head – dreaming in Chinese 我選咗嗰 B 但係 / gno5 syun2 zo2 go2 B daan6 hai6 / “I chose B but…” When he was counting his Pokemon cards out loud, it was in Chinese – but he translates days of the week and months to English.

5 Jan 2023 Kiddo doesn’t guide her to play in Chinese anymore – he says colours in English and doesn’t want to recast, and probably counts in English too

19 Jan Kiddo graduated from ESL for grade two but back for vocab boost, to help him with comprehension (which might be a reluctance to focus on the meaning after being able to pronounce the words)