Sunday, March 05, 2006

Mother Tongue

My previous post blog about the language we used at home with the kids and had 1 blogger comment about the mother tongue we seldom used nowadays.

Tracy comment:

1+2 mom, have to borrow ur space since u started the subject.Actually, how many of us do speak in our mother tongue nowadays?

Come to think of it. My father's a Hakka, my stepfather's a Hokkien, my mom's a Cantonese. I was under the care of my grandma and she spoke Cantonese with me. My PILs are Hokkiens but they speak Cantonese with my hubby. So, both of us (I'm a banana in Mandarin and hubby's no good in English) communicate in a mixture of Cantonese, English and Mandarin, so how do we speak ur mother tongue with our girl? Hee, hee, confused?

Then our girl will put the blame on us and we should put the blame on our parents and so on ....???*roll eyes and wondering*

In my case, my father is Hokkien and my mother is Cantonese and I born in KL so my parents scare we dunno how to communicate with other ppl that they usually speak Cantonese so they spoke Cantonese with us. Luckily my grandmom (father side) stayed together with us and she dunno other languages but just know Hokkien, so I still know some Hokkien but long time didn’t speak most of the word already forgot (since my grandmom pass away I didn’t speak Hokkien).

My hubby side, his father is Hakka (hor bo 河婆) and his mother is Teohchew. They spoke Hakka with his father but Cantonese with his mother, and between siblings they spoke Mandarin. They very less talk to his father so I very less hear they say Hakka at home. Because of very less ppl used this type of Hakka so my MIL (mother in law) said no need teach my children say Hakka.

Last time I ask my father speak Hokkien with my children because I notice quite a lot of ppl using Hokkien in so many places. Maybe my father didn’t speak Hokkien with us so he also dunwan teach them and my children 1 week once see my father, useless to teach them Hokkien. I hope my children can be multilanguager too.

I still blame my father why dun speak with us in Hokkien, nowadays very less ppl talk their mother tongue maybe soon or later our generation dunno what is own mother tongue are.

I know like some area they still used back their mother tongue eg. At Penang, Klang and Johor usually they used Hokkien. My friend told me, if you in Klang or Penang need to buy drink or food at store. Those ppl speak Hokkien they gave more and count cheap if other then Hokkien they gave less and count expensive. I tried when I went to Penang, we had our lunch at those food store. My father get very cheap price when he order mix rice but I and 1+2dad were very expensive. I know 1 slogan they always said : Ka Ki Lang, Pa Si Bo Xiang Gang (in Hokkien) (in English means same race of ppl, been killed also nvm) (in Manderin means 自己人,打死没关系). They very help same race of ppl dunno is true or not.


mom2ashley said...

hey i too do not speak my own dialect! i am like a banana la! i am relying on my MIL to speak cantonese to ashley! hehehe

Loc Kee said...

i can speak both my dad n mom' smother tongue, Hokien n Hakka. but too bad there is no one would speak with SS :< just hope she will pick it up from somewhere lo.

Egghead said...

I can listen to all kinds of languages... and speaks a bit of all kinds... I don't care as long as the message got through :)

Jesslyn said...

I can speak hakka, hokkien, cantonese. Too bad, never talk to my girls with those tougue! Only emphasis on eng, very bad hor!
I think should start speak with them one day!

Princess Yoyo & family said...

Here, i'm one of those who don't know at all,not even a word of our own language, Shanghainese. I can't call it mother tongue bcs non of us at home can speak Shanghainese. We speak Hokkien just bcs we are Penangites loh. SO, you see, we lose our language just like that!! But, it's true, most Penangites feel comfortable in Hokkien, if i hear someone speak Pg Hokkien in Japan, I sure jump wth excitement lah ^^ I miss it badly. That's why i listen to this funny podcast weekly in Japan.^^

Zara's Mama said...

I just picked up lots of dialect when I lived with my grandma.. I speak Hakka, Hokkien, Cantonese, Mandarin.. But Zara only speaks English..

I really have to speak to her in Mandarin.. that's my priority.. As for dialect, let her pick it up herself.. Nowadays not many people speak dialects, they are all switching to Mandarin.

michelle said...

I am also a banana but can speak Cantonese and understand Hokkien & Mandarin. Both my parents are Cantonese but Chinese Educated.

For my children, I will let them learn as many language as possible. My son speaks cantonese like ang mo, very funny tune.

As for school, I will still send them to National school, so that I can tutor them.

Lazymama said...

Can I borrow your space and ask some question...

Since when the kids switch to speak Mandarin instead of mother tounge and why? I used to ask this question to peoples with children before I was pregnant but no one is able to give me a clear answer.

Not to mean to start a debate but just want to know the reason. :)

1+2mom said...

mom2ashley, she still can learn it when she start school :)

lockee, who will speak to her the mother tongue..when she dunno what their say??haha.

egghead, your are long that ppl know what you say.

jessly, when the day will come?? If you already get used what language to speak to them i think will always forgot to speak mother tongue to them..hehe.

princess yoyo & family, yea if at oversea got ppl speak same dialect sure feel very familier and worm.

zara's mama
, she will pick up very fast when at school. Yea nowaday many ppl speak Manderin but my area most of them speak English although they study in chinese school.

michelle, For my opinion i rather let my kids know 1 more language so i will send them to Chinese school :)

jefferene, i also dunno but i speak english with my son cause this area most of the ppl speak english. I scare my children hard to communicate with other so i speak english with them. Luckily my IL speak Manderin with them so they understand 1 more language, soon when they start learn Manderin will be more eazy for them to pick up :)

Tracy said...

True, true, true. As long as our kids understand what we are saying, I think it's good enough. Once they enter school or the society, I'm sure they'll learn more languages and dialects.

Jefferene: U know, ppl always have this kiasu feeling. For e.g. When A knows dat B's kid is speaking Mandarin/English, A will try to speak the language with his own kid too and thus maybe dat was how it started. (heehee, maybe it's just my exaggeration).

bluebird said...

gosh, you people aren't so bad. I'm a true banana! My ancestors are from Guangdong. Both my mother and father are Hakka, and I might have some distant relatives who are cantonese.

Hakka is quite common amongst the chinese (in the place where I live) -- except amongst the youth (you can tell it's dying out). Mandarin is also used, but it's recent.

Because, the way we pronounce (dishes and greetings, I've noticed more, like "恭喜發財"), I came to confuse Cantonese and Hakka. At that point, I thought that it was the same . I feel EXTREMELY embarrassed, for this. Because, now in Uni when people ask me, I answer "probably cantonese?"

My family is Ng. But when I was learning Mandarin in school, my teacher called me Wu (吴) Yan Yan. I remember being extremely surprised by that.

我的天啊。。。so humiliating...I want to sink into the ground XD; I'm so stupid.

Lazymama -- I have no idea. But here Mandarin is taught in school now.