The best way to learn to speak a language is to practise, practise and practise!
The kids are being raised to be trilingual. They learn Chinese, Malay and English in School (in that order of priority), we speak to them in English at home and the maid speaks to them in Malay at home.
Their spoken Malay has improved significantly after the maid arrived. Initially, all the 5 year old could say was “Ini ahhhhhh” and point. He would also go “Achoo!” in great exageration to get her attention. It was really amusing. Now he can say “Kereta itu banyak cepat.” Its broken Malay no doubt but still a vast improvement and they are learning each day because they are not shy to speak it and we, the maid and I, will correct them if they are wrong.
I noticed that even the maid’s English has improved significantly. Now she can converse with them in English too. Her English is qetting quite good too. My husband jokingly said that maybe she lied to us about not knowing English but I pointed out to him about how the kids Malay language has improved tremendously. If their Malay can improve so well, why can’t her English improve as well?
Once I remember reading a comment somewhere where the commentor mentioned that she is so annoyed because the maid keeps on talking to her kids in her lousy broken English. Thats a pity because I think the maid is just trying to communicate with the kids. I don’t mind the maid speaking to the kids in English but I prefer it if she speaks to them in Malay so that they can improve their Malay. It really helps.
Now, my biggest problem is getting the kids to converse in Chinese. At the moment, Chinese videos and books still do not interest them. They always request for English tapes and English books instead.
Now that my girl is in school and her lessons in Moral etc teaches her about the different races in Malaysia, she laughs at the time when she is young and called herself “English” simply because she speaks English. She thought she was “English” because she spoke English. Thats sad isn’t it? Even if my Chinese is poor, I better introduce and instil more Chinese culture to and in her.
Ok. I think I better rush out to buy some boxes of mooncakes and lanterns soon for a start. Hahaha. I plan to buy my kids their yearly lanterns this coming Hari Raya Holidays. What about you?
hahhahahaa.. then i must be English too! 🙂
Its funny yes, even she is laughing at herself now.
My girl refuses to speak Chinese when she’s with us too but she’ll speak Chinese when she’s in school.
I used to be a banana in the Chinese language (don’t even know how to write her Chinese name *blek*) but ever since my girl started school in the Chinese school, I learnt a lot of the Chinese characters from her but still need my ‘han yu pin yin’ dictionary with me.
I’ve oredi bought a “Princess” lantern for my girl *heehee*.
My girl doesn’t like Barbie or princesses. She only likes Hello Kitty.
this year we bought a snow white lantern for qiqi too 🙂
I am sure Qiqi loves it yah.
What about your parents or inlaws? My son picks up loads more cantonese from my mum. And some hokkien from my inlaws.
his fav word will be ‘moi’ (no in cantonese) and ‘mai’ (no in hokkien)!! hahaha….
We’ve only got my dad who has dementia. During his good days, he speaks English with the kids. Other days, he keeps quiet. Sadly, the rest of the parents and inlaws are no longer here.
My parents were born in Malaysia and yes they know Melayu too, but I was born in Singapore, my dad tried to teach my Melayu so many times…but failed… I guess my heart was just not into it!
In terms of language, I really have to salute my fellow Malaysians friends, which include your kids too!
My sil is Singaporean with parents who were born in Malaysia like you. When she relocated here with my bro, she had a really hard time trying to get her driving license with tests in Malay. 🙂