12/4/17

A 2-year-old learning Chinese and Finnish

When our daughter started speaking she spoke mostly Cantonese as she was home with a nanny a lot. But now Mandarin had completely replaced it and Finnish is a good second.

At home I speak Finnish with Anna and my husband speaks Mandarin. She goes to daycare where she hears both Mandarin and Japanese. Cantonese she hears once a week at the grand parents house and English occasionally when we meet friends.

Anna has now clearly entered a phase of rapid language learning. She is starting to form sentences like 佩奇睡觉 Peppa is sleeping and 佩奇哪里啊 Where is Peppa. Yes, Peppa Pig is hugely popular at our household.

In Finnish she isn’t forming sentences yet, but knows a lot of words. Some words she only uses Finnish, some she knows in Mandarin as well. Anna calls me mama (mother) in Chinese and only just today said äiti (mother in Finnish) after I told her to use that term. Not sure when she will change to äiti for real.

Anna doesn’t separate the languages yet in a sense that she would speak only Finnish to me or only Chinese to daddy. Of course she knows I understand Chinese too. And my husband have learned some Finnish from Anna as well!

Right now Anna is big on giving orders: syö (eat in Finnish), 坐 (sit in Chinese) just to name two. She had strong opinions and preferences as well.

Anna likes to look at pictures and say the names of items and animals, if she doesn’t know it she will ask us. She likes repeating what we say and is learning new words almost daily.

We feel Anna had a bit of foreign accent in both her Mandarin and Finnish, but it’s a first time for us so don’t know if that happens with all kids.

At the daycare Anna is very quiet, just saying 要 want and 不要 don’t want. Typical introverted Finnish! But at home she speaks nonstop, most of it we don’t yet understand.

I feel this is going to be super interesting this coming year to see how Anna’s languages improve. Can’t wait to communicate more with her!