My husband and I are attempting to teach our kids how to speak Mandarin Chinese. The problem is that we don’t speak it ourselves.
Progress has been slooooooow… until my husband decided to “incentivise” the boys’ efforts. They no longer get pocket money for doing their household jobs – putting out the rubbish, folding the laundry, or cleaning the toilet. They still do those jobs, but now it’s for love (or to get dinner!)
Instead, they can only make money by speaking a Chinese phrases.
They get a $1 for the first three times they use a new word, and then they get another $1 for the first three times they use it in a new phrase. The system is a bit complicated, but it works for us. They are happy and we are happy.
Plus, all the money goes into a piggy bank, as they are saving up for some kind of digital device.
We’ve started with simple words and phrases, that we use all the time, like:
Goodbye, good night, thank you, excuse me. I like school. This is RED. I want to go for a swim. I want to go to the toilet. Can I have some ice cream?
However, desperate for more money, my boys started to get clever AND desperate with what little they knew. And strung together a few of their own phrases.
“I want swim toilet”
“I want eat toilet!”
“May we play with Mummy’s car?”
“Mummy may we eat little brother?”.
I guess it is progress – of a kind.
My husband likes to reward the kids for their ingenuity, but I’m not so impressed.
I’m not looking forward to the moment when they learn the Chinese words for various toilet activities and private body parts.
That’s all I need!
Bum jokes in grammatically incorrect Mandarin, spoken with a strong Australian accent!