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Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Aquiring Language

The girls are doing really well aquiring their second language. I say both of them because Lucy never really spoke in Chinese...she was pretty much nonverbal 2 years ago. Now that I've started taking classes (more on that in a bit), I can understand why she may not have spoken much...the sounds required to speak Mandarin are really hard to make if your tongue does not move to touch your palate, your teeth or to curl up. Mandarin is all about tones and if your tongue doesn't move, you can't really communicate. Lucy has had a lot of exercises to be able to move her tongue so life is so much easier for her now. As an example, she could not touch her tongue to her lips in any direction, she could not "cluck" her tongue on the roof of her mouth and she couldn't really wiggle it around much.

I found a really nice record (what do you call it now when you download an "album" of songs onto your iPad...it's not a cd, it's not a record, it's not a tape...??) of Mandarin music and fortunately, several of the songs are sung in their class at circle time, like this one:
Going to School song from Lisa on Vimeo.

This song cracks me up every time because Lucy only really knows the last word in each verse....but she sings it with gusto!

In the meantime, in an effort to keep up with them on some level and to move my brain out of mommy-mode, I've started going to class to learn Mandarin. I've got my books
and I took my first 2 hour class on Tuesday. I'll go twice a week for 2 hours at a time, with homework in-between. I got some really good feedback from my instructor in that I can hear and say the four different tones. Most Westerners have trouble hearing the difference, much less saying it consistently. It will take a lot of practice on my part to really nail it without looking at my notes for the proper cues but I'm really enjoying it thus far.

And with that, I'm off to bed. Wǎn'ān!

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