CLE update: Chinese Language Ecosystem (中文語言生態系)

Chinese proficiency aside, which I had posted here on this blog, I am glad that my DDs (“Charlotte”, 14, and “Georgia”, 11) continue to enjoy the cultural experience still.  This June, they had a lot of fun touring different parts of metro Taipei and Taichung in Taiwan.  I think they had the most fun goofing off and shopping at Taipei’s 西門町!  Here is one such photo (truth be told, this one was my idea….).

“Charlotte”, now at 14, just started high school and continues to enjoy the Chinese cultural experience.  She is taking Chinese III class on-line to do more expository writing (typing really) and to learn reading simplified Chinese.  “Georgia”, now at 6th grade in a new large middle school (we recently relocated), is half way through reading the Chinese edition of Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s stone, whose English edition she read a few times before.

She should have finished this book a while back, as she reads it at 400-450 characters a minute or about one chapter in 15 minutes or so.  But she has not, as she is mostly reading English novels these days, an English Language Art (ELA) class requirement.  She probably has caught up to most kids of her age in terms of English reading and is taking Advanced 7th grade ELA at school.  With all the extracurricular activities these days including debate class, weekend 7th grade Chinese class (simplified), tennis league, guitar, etc., I have to set aside time for her to read Chinese novels.  She does, however, continue to enjoy reading Chinese comics on her own at meal time, now reading 機器娃娃與怪博士, which I also loved reading as a child.

At the mean time, the three of us watched the famed 2015 Chinese TV series 琅琊榜 over the last three months and we absolutely loved it!!  They are now big fans of 王凱, who played 靖王蕭景琰 in the TV series!  They probably prefer 靖王蕭景琰 over 梅長蘇/林殊 since beauty standard is different between Chinese and Western culture and they grew up in the US.  Charlotte learns to play 紅顏舊, one of the theme songs, on the guitar herself.  (“這明明有ㄧ顆痣!”…….非禮啊…..LOL)  She does that for the Chinese songs she enjoys listening.

We also rewatched 那些年,我们一起追的女孩, a hit 2011 teen romance film, and 我的少女時代,a hit 2015 teen romance film, both of Taiwan.  These two movies always cheer them up ~

We are now starting to watch 女医明妃传 (The Imperial Doctress), a top 2016 TV series from mainland China about a young lady determined to become a life saving Chinese medicine doctor despite the limitation of Ming Dynastic’s conservative feudal ethics in the 15th century.  The backdrop of Ming dynasty, limitation of its conservative feudal ethics on women, and the practice of medicine seem like a good fit for us.

So, that’s what they have been up to these days in terms of Chinese.  They continue to converse with each other in Chinese 80-90% of the time at home.


5 thoughts on “CLE update: Chinese Language Ecosystem (中文語言生態系)


    Do you have any comment about this? (9/30 titled “三語教育的閱讀進度紀錄” posted on Is it normal for multiple language learning kids having a relatively slow progress in reading? Hope you can share your inside if you happen to feel the same way. Thanks.


  2. Hi Grace. Sure, it takes more time commitment to learn more languages in every respect. There is nothing fancy about language learning. Exposure and practice are what one needs. There are only so many hours in a day and parents need to prioritize their children’s time commitment. If it takes X more hours of exposure and practice for a child to pick up another language, parents have to determine if the opportunity cost is worth the commitment. Personally, I don’t want my child to learn an additional language if it would interfere with their “core competency”. And what that entails is different for every child. That’s where smarter kids have an advantage. They can learn more things in the same amount of time.


  3. Hi Grace,

    Thanks for sharing 安媽’s post! My take-away from her post and my own experience with my 4.5 year-old is that the kids’ personality and interest in reading (in any lauguage) is very critical to their journey of being literate. If the kid is a fast learner in reading, the effort to be literate in additional language is smaller than average learners. So true that every child is different.


  4. 安媽had problem posting to my comment section; so, she emailed me the following comment instead.

    This is 安媽。I’m an avid reader of the Great Oliver’s blog, and you may imagine that I’m somewhat amused to find that my blog entry has made it way into this comment section (albeit in a slightly negative light). Given that you’ve kindly provided feedback on my previous article, I’m wondering what you may think about the follow-up entry which I posted several months ago, shortly after my daughter finished the first semester of second grade on her trilingual learning journey.

    Basically, she’s making steady, if non-spectacular, progresses in all three languages. She has just finished a month-long stint as a second grader in a public school in Taiwan, which went smoothly with little need of extra assistance. However, as far as Chinese learning goes, I think she’s entering the “Consolidation Stage” which you described as “extremely difficult”. While she can recognize over 1,500 Chinese characters and can readily read many “bridging books” (橋樑書)without relying on zhuyin, she’s not an avid reader (in any language) and will not simply pick up any book to read. She does enjoy learning Chinese in many ways, including learning new characters and doing workbooks in writing. She just does not seem to have much zest to read on her own, despite the fact that both of her parents are huge bookworms who cannot do without daily leisure reading, and when she occasionally reads out of her own initiative, she prefers English books, as expected. It takes a lot of efforts to find Chinese books which interest her, and I’ve tried every trick I can think of such as buying books which should fascinate little girls, introducing her to addictive comics (which she’s not interested in any language), or reading exciting books to her and then stopping abruptly at a climatic point to see if she would pick up from there, and alas, nothing has worked very well so far. And I’m not quite sure how to proceed from where we are now.

    My background is similar to Oliver’s in many ways. I’m also a full-time practicing physician who immigrated from Taiwan to the US at 9th grade. My husband is also from Taiwan and we are both obsessed with our child’s Chinese education. I also run my own Oversea Chinese Learning (海外學中文) series in my blog. However, at this point I’m still gingerly sailing some uncharted water as far as my attempt in trilingual teaching goes, while you are much further along the way in your daughters’ language education, so I would highly value any opinion or advise you can offer at this point. (By the way, I do not have an FB account and do not intend to get one out of personal choice.)



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