Sunday, 30 December 2007

Who's a Teochew Boy?

Isaac is a Teochew Boy!!! Both hubbs and I are Teochew. All four of my grandparents are Teochew; and all four of hubbs' grandparents are Teochew. Thus Isaac is as pure a Teochew Boy as can be!

And yes, we defintely plan to expose Isaac to the Teochew language. In fact, we're hoping to expose Isaac to Chinese and Teochew from a young age so that he can learn to speak these two languages fluently, and be effectively multi-lingual.

For those of you who know me personally, you know my chinese sucks big time. Well, yes, it HAS kinda improved quite a lot since I went Crescent and then JJ, and even much more when I got together with hubbs and actually married him. hahaha... In fact, most of you nice people out there would comment that my spoken mandarin is not THAT bad at all. Yeah my spoken mandarin's quite alright - conversational mandarin that is. I still can't forget the fact that I had to take my "A" Levels Chinese paper 3 times in order to scrape a pass so that I can go uni. tsk tsk tsk...

Well, at home, my parents speak mostly English, with a mix of Teochew. So we don't speak mandarin at home at all when I was growing up coz my parents themselves didn't really know mandarin coz they went to "English Schools" when they were growing up - thus they learnt English and Malay then (when we were for a short time, part of Malaysia). But then again, maybe it's just me, coz my sister's Chinese was almost perfect - she scored "A"s all the time!

Hubbs' side is almost totally opposite. His dad went to "Chinese School" and so is "Chinese Educated". So at home, they speak mostly Teochew and Chinese. So, hubbs' English is quite bad whilst his Chinese is very very good. Well, people also say that his England has improved lots since we got together kekeke...

As for Teochew, people tell me that when I was young, my Teochew was very fluent - coz I was brought up by my maternal grandmother (whom I call "Popo" !!!) and she spoke to me in Teochew all the time. I amtold that I was so fluent that I could sing Teochew songs! However, when I started schooling, I went back to live with my parents, and my Teochew deteriorated from insufficient practice. Now, am slowly trying to learn back my Teochew by practicing it with hubbs. Hubbs tells me that my Teochew has improved a lot since we got together. He's being nice. My MIL still has trouble understanding me when I speak Teochew.

Anywayz, we want Isaac to be fluent in English, Mandarin, and Teochew. Minimally. If he has capacity, I would like him to be fluent in Malay as well. Why? Well... coz both my maternal and paternal grandmothers are Nonya - Straits Chinese - so they both speak Malay. I was especially close to my Popo, and she tried to teach me some Malay when I was young. So... it'd be nice if Isaac learns some Malay. It'd be a tribute to my Popo! :)

So, this is our plan. We will assign different people to speak to Isaac in different languages. Exclusively. As much as possible. I'd be the one speaking to Isaac in English; hubbs in Chinese and my parents in law - Teochew. My parents would probably speak to Isaac in both English and Teochew. And we have a Malay family as our neighbours, so we hope they'd be able to teach Isaac the Malay language (they love playing with Isaac!).

So there it is! That's our plan. If we are successful (which I am sure we'd be), Isaac will be effectively multilingual! And most importantly, he'd be a rare TEOCHEW BOY!!!


  1. Chinese culture and history is fascinating and mysterious. As China increasingly is seen as a growing business power, interest in learning the Chinese language had rocketed, and dominance of Chinese over English will be a long time coming. More and more people begin to learn Chinese, because here is clear career potential for the future. Chinese language education market will be prosperous.

  2. Oh, I had no idea that Petrina's Mandarin was that good. The only time I encountered her speaking Mandarin, oops! I think it was her singing in Mandarin. That's my knowledge of her Mandarin.

    My parents threatened us with the cane if they ever heard us speaking dialect. It was strictly English and Mandarin all the time, with them and amongst ourselves. The only time we were allowed to use dialect was with our grandparents. Hence, our Teochew is so bad. Ha! Ha!


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