An older adult immigrant parent once commented something along this line, “Why spend so much effort teaching the children Chinese? Their children won’t be able to speak Chinese anyway.” What she meant was that second generation heritage children mostly achieve low Chinese proficiency level; so, their own children (3rd generation) practically have little chance of learning much Chinese at all. The “line” will be broken anyways.
Well, that was NOT my plan from the beginning. 我自己是第ㄧ代半. I am a 1.5 generation immigrant, having emigrated at the age of 11, and my daughters are 2.5 generations. I want something that is reproducible for the next generation. I would say that my overall Chinese proficiency is about ILR level 4-4.5. My listening should be close to 5, my general speaking 4.5, my reading 4-4.5, my writing (at least composition) – around 3.5 (I hope!). I wanted my children to achieve level 3.5-4 in overall proficiency by the end high school. If they continue to learn and read Chinese in college and their 20s, they should be able to improve further to solid 4-4.5 by the time they are parents. When they raise their own children in Chinese and English, as they will be consolidating their foundation further. My wife and I will even consider moving back to Taiwan for a period of time to hopefully care for our grandchildren (if any) for a few months a year for the first 6 years of their life, to help provide them a strong foundation in the Chinese language. So, hopefully through similar path and with further technological advances, my grandchildren will be able to achieve 3.5 by the end of high school.
這樣，至少有可以承傳給她們的下ㄧ代。But that’s just me.