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Spending time in China is the best way for children to learn Mandarin

The South China Morning Post – Anita Shum

“There’s no better way to learn a language than to speak it, and there’s no better way to “make” you speak it than travelling to that country. To practise Mandarin, China is a preferred choice for most as it is the only official language, but you can choose other destinations such as Singapore, Taiwan and even Malaysia, where Mandarin is one of the official languages. Check beforehand whether your children will be learning simplified or traditional Chinese characters. Taiwan is the only one of the three that uses traditional characters, the others use simplified characters.” (more)

Mandarin speaking children have ‘head start’ when learning maths, says bilingual nursery owner

Day Nurseries – Michaela Chirgwin

“Mr John believes that those who can speak Mandarin have a head start when it comes to learning maths. The language has a more binary structure than English and lends itself very well to computation, as he explains: “Chinese, and indeed other East Asian languages, have a much simpler mathematical structure in their language than we do. If you consider just the words we use to associate with numerals – you can learn one through ten relatively easily, but then you have to learn an entire new set for eleven through to twenty.” The language is also very good for young children as they need to learn less words. Mr John says: “The only numbers you need to learn in oral Chinese are one through ten, one hundred, one thousand, ten thousand and then 100 million. Twenty is just two tens. eleven is just 10+1. ” (more)

UK: learning Mandarin will give children ‘significant’ career boost

The PIE News – Staff Writer

“More than three-quarters of UK business leaders believe fluency in Mandarin Chinese will give school leavers a career advantage, with more than a quarter saying it would be ‘significant’, according to a survey commissioned by the Mandarin Excellence Programme. The MEP, which is delivered by the UCL Institute of Education in partnership with the British Council, is an intensive language program that was introduced in 2016 to increase the number of young people with Mandarin language skills.” (more)

Learning Mandarin can be child’s play – with the right approach

The South China Morning Post – Anita Shum

“Think back to how your child learned his or her mother tongue language. From the day he or she was born, you gave them a “silent language acquisition period” lasting for anything up to 3 years, during which they were immersed in the language 24/7, able to observe, listen and absorb the language before trying to speak their very first word. Now compare this with the expectations of our children when they are learning a second language, such as Mandarin. Many parents complain that their children aren’t conversing in the language they are learning when they receive perhaps only a few hours’ (or less) exposure to that language each week.” (more)

Orange County parents opt to put children in language immersion programs

Los Angeles Times – Caitlin Yoshiko Kandil

“‘They’re learning how to speak English anyway, so it’s really no different for them to learn other languages at the time,” said Carrie Mizera, executive director of Renascence School International, a tri-lingual English, Spanish and Mandarin immersion program in Costa Mesa. “Their brains are really, really absorbent at that time, and that’s why we want to capture this opportunity and teach multiple languages.'” (more)

In-Transit: Learning a foreign language is difficult but worthwhile

The Daily Trojan – Nayanika Kapoor

“For seven years, throughout middle school and high school, I learned Mandarin Chinese. “Learned” is a strong word — rather, I struggled through it. And when I say struggled, I mean it. Chinese was consistently my hardest subject. Even after practicing a character 30 times, I still would forget a little stroke in the corner. After repeating the pinyin — or pronunciation of the Chinese word using English phonetics — to myself in my head repeatedly, I would still mix up the second and third tones. There were countless moments when I wanted to quit, and every year, before I had to make my course selection to move onto the next level of Chinese, I said to myself, “Am I really doing this for another year?” I questioned my ability to learn new languages, and I constantly wondered and wondered if I was just bad at learning languages, or if I was bad at learning Chinese.” (more)