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How I help my baby acquire a second language?

When I was pregnant with DD for just one month, I already thought about helping her acquire a second language, rather than learning it. (see the difference of acquiring a language and learning a language in How children acquire second languages?)

Here is how I help her acquire a second language. Of course, in her case, the second language is Chinese, since she grows up in an English environment.

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Fairy tales for children, now in Chinese

Who doesn’t like fairy tales? We all have favorite fairy tales we learned from our parents or grandparents when we were growing up.

Right now, thanks to DD’s Chinese uncle (see I have an idea to open a Chinese bookstore online!), I can read all these famous traditional English fairy tales to DD in Chinese. All the story books contain the Chinese characters and the Pinyin (phonetic transcriptions).

Although I don’t deliberately teach her pinyin at her age (see The reason why NOT to teach babies pinyin), these story books offer a great way for her to get familiar with Chinese characters and even recognize them later. The accompanying appealing and colorful cartoons illustrations also help engage her and compliment the text.

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How to say alligator, ant, anteater and armadillo in Chinese?

After three series of learning Chinese (how to call family members in Chinese, how to name body parts in Chinese and how to name vegetables and fruits in Chinese), the forth lesson series starts today: Lesson 4-Animals.

The animals in this series include wild and domestic animals, sorted alphabetically by common name. Today, I am going to teach you to say alligator, ant, anteater and armadillo in Chinese.

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Best4Future bilingual bookstore is under construction

Since June (I have an idea to open a Chinese bookstore online!), I have been working on building the online bilingual bookstore. I decided to call it an online “bilingual bookstore” rather than a “Chinese bookstore”, since I might add other language books and multimedia later, for an instance, Spanish, French, German, Japanese, and etc.

The bookstore is supposed to be open on Monday, November 1 2010. My dear fellow-readers, welcome to shop with us during the grand-opening. With your support, more books for more languages will be available for parents who want to bring up babies bilingual. And I can continue to produce and develop more posts for the blog, including free Chinese language lessons.

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How to say tomato, watermelon, yam and zucchini in Chinese?

Since September 2009, once a week, I have been putting out a lesson on how to name vegetables and fruits in Chinese. Today’s lesson is the last episode of this series.

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How to help children learn Chinese characters? (Method 5)

Phono-semantic compound, also called semantic-phonetic compound or pictophonetic compound, is composed of two parts: one of a limited set of pictograms, often graphically simplified, which suggests the general meaning of the character, and an existing character pronounced approximately as the new target word.

Considering its size and close assocations among pictograms, ideograms and phono-semantic compounds, my forth advice would be children should use pictograms and ideograms as bases to understand and memorize phono-semantic compounds.

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How to say snow pea, spinach, sweet potato and strawberry in Chinese?

Spinach truly is one of the healthiest foods you can eat. Though low in calories, spinach contains high concentration of iron and calcium. It is extremely high in antioxidants, especially when fresh, steamed, or quickly boiled (see Get children eat vegetables: Spinach casserole with bacon and fresh shiitake mushrooms). It is a rich source of […]

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I have an idea to open a Chinese bookstore online!

I want to share these wonderful Chinese learning resources with my worldwide readers. How about I open Chinese bookstore online and sell them via the Internet? I already have a blog. Now I just need to add a database-driven shopping cart onto the website.

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How to help children learn Chinese characters? (Method 4)

Approximately 13% of the total Chinese characters are ideogrammic compounds, making it the second largest category. Considering the close assocations among pictograms, ideograms and ideogrammic compounds, my forth advice would be children should use pictograms and ideograms as bases to understand and memorize ideogrammic compounds.

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How to say pumpkin, papaya, pineapple and plum in Chinese?

It looks like there are more vegetables and fruits starting with the letter p. Besides pea, potato, peach and pear, pumpkin, papaya, pineapple and plum all start with the letter p. Here is the tutorial on how to say pumpkin, papaya, pineapple and plum in Chinese.

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How to help children learn Chinese characters? (Method 3)

According to the US State Department, Chinese ranks among the toughest languages in the world for English speakers, requiring 2200 hours of study for minimal proficiency.

Therefore, it makes perfect sense for learners to start with the simplest Chinese characters, for example, pictograms, which are stylised drawings of the objects they represent (see How to help children learn Chinese characters? (Method 2))

Besides pictograms, a lot of ideograms are the simplest Chinese characters. Also called simple indicatives or simple ideographs, ideograms express an abstract idea through an iconic form. They either modify existing pictographs iconically, or are direct iconic illustrations.
In another word, ideograms are more like graphical representations of abstract ideas.

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Book review: My First Book of Mandarin Chinese Words

Overall, My First Book of Mandarin Chinese Words offers a good start to expose Chinese language to young bilingual learners.

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How to say pea, potato, peach and pear in Chinese?

Now you know how to say vegetables and fruits starting with the letter o (see How to say olive, onion, nectarine and orange in Chinese?) , which vegetables and fruits start with the letter p? Here they come, pea, potato, peach and pear.

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How to say olive, onion, nectarine and orange in Chinese?

Today, I am going to teach you to say olive, onion, nectarine and orange in Chinese.

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How to help children learn Chinese characters? (Method 1)

Which standard sets of Chinese characters we should learn, traditional Chinese or simplified Chinese? My advice would be children should learn simplified Chinese rather than traditional Chinese.

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How to say mushroom, mango, mandarin, and mulberry in Chinese?

Today, I am going to teach you to say mushroom, mango, mandarin and mulberry in Chinese.

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How to say leek, lettuce, lemon and lime in Chinese?

Today, I am going to teach you to say leek, lettuce, lemon and lime in Chinese.

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How to say garlic, green bean, grape and grapefruit in Chinese?

Today, I am going to teach you to say garlic, green bean, grape and grapefruit in Chinese.

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How to say celery, corn, cucumber and coconut in Chinese?

There are a lot of vegetables and fruits startting with the letter c. Besides carrot, cauliflower, cantaloupe and cherry (see How to say carrot, cauliflower, cantaloupe, and cherry in Chinese?), there are celery, corn, cucumber and coconut all starting with the letter c. Do you know how to say them in Chinese?

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The reason why NOT to teach babies pinyin

Because starting from pinyin to learn Chinese may intervene or even interrupt the linkage-establishing process babies need for their future language development and growth, my suggestion is not to teach babies pinyin when they just start to learn language.

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