Ni Hao, Gyuna

18 06 2008

Recently, I was browsing for some educational stuff for the girls to watch. I’ve set up the family TV with an Apple TV and such, I put a lot of our existing content, and new content on it for them to watch on demand, without the use of a DVD (I hate when they scratch the DVD’s). Among the usual suspects, Seaseme Street, Dora and Super Why on PBS, I saw a link to a show called “Ni Hao, Kai-lan”. It’s a new show with a Chinese American girl as the main character. It’s a lot different than Dora in that it’s not as formulaic. The kids enjoy watching it (and almost anything else we put on the TV). But what I like about this is the introduction of the Mandarin Chinese language.

Back in college, I studied chinese for two whole semesters. Yes, my wife is Korean, as are my kids, but I find the written chinese language to be elegant, artistic and beautiful. Perhaps that was why I was drawn to it in the first place. In college, I heard about the upcoming chinese boom, and I figured learning the language would be useful; so I was also trying help my future career. It was also great in broadening my horizons and introducing me to a new culture. But, it has been quite a long time since college, and I never practiced enough to gain a decent fluency of the language.

I have long known that now is the best time for the kids to learn all languages as this is the easiest time of their lives to learn that stuff. I want them to learn chinese just so that they can have another tool in their toolbox at their disposal for the rest of their lives. But, I would like to be able to use it too. Well, all this post is trying to say is that I will hence forth be trying to teach the kids my limited knowledge of the chinese language, as time permits, of course.

I’m going to have to find other ways for the kids to learn chinese too. They will learn Korean fairly easily because they have daily exposure to the language. The same goes for English. Chinese (and Spanish, for that matter) will be more difficult since none of us are native speakers. But, to start, at least being exposed to this new show has let me help the girls start learning some simple words in chinese like “Hello” and “Thank You”. Over time, I will try to pursue this avenue of knowledge as well to help them, as well as myself.

We’ll just have to see how this experiment plays out.

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