Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Lessons by Laoshi Xan

I often get questions about Xan's school and I thought we might start sharing a bit about what she is currently or has learned.  She attends a bilingual kindergarten and her teacher is Chinese.  She also has a part time teacher that comes into the room 1-2 times per day that speaks and teaches English.  She attended this school last year as well and we have been so impressed by the Mandarin (official language of China) that she has learned.  Here are a few facts about the Chinese language: (Source: Chinese
-Mandarin is the most widely spoken form of Chinese
-Chinese language has more native speakers than any other language
-Chinese language (Mandarin Chinese) is 1 of the 6 official languages used by the United Nations
-Chinese language is written with symbols.  These symbols are called characters.  Chinese characters represent the oldest writing system in the world.  
-There are over 100,000 characters.
-Chinese language does not have alphabets.  Pinyin is a system developed to write Mandarin Chinese using the Roman Alphabet
-The most difficult part when studying Chinese language is getting your tones right and learning how to read and write Chinese characters.

Xan has been spending a lot of time this year working on learning Pinyin.  For example the following characters mean teacher
but when you read it in pinyin it looks like
and it is pronounced "lousher".  

Xan's Chinese teacher is Laoshi Lily and her English teacher is JoJo.  Hence the name of this post, Lessons by Laoshi Xan (Teacher Xan).  Xan's class is working on memorizing all the many "sounds of pinyin" which is a building block to learning to speak and read it fluently.  This is similar to us learning our vowels and consonants and how they sound.  It can be very confusing....for example the "x" in English is pronounced using the "zzz" sound  as in Alexandria or the "cks" sound as in ax.  However, when you see the "x" in pinyin it is pronounced with the "sh" sound.  For this reason many chinese people think that Xan's name is pronounced Shan.  

Tones are a whole other part of the language and we'll save that for another post.  For now, please watch as Laoshi Xan introduces herself, states that she goes to school and what they have been learning.  She then recites the sounds of pinyin.  

Stay tuned for more Lessons by Laoshi Xan.
Chat with ya later-

1 comment:

shirley said...

Megan, absolutely adorable. It is amazing what children can process. Are you learning along with her?

tell her mimi is sooo proud of her.