Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Read a Grocery List

Once your child has learned how to sound out characters using ㄅㄆㄇㄈ or pinyin the next step is to practice it in meaningful context.  One example of this would be at the grocery store.  You might be thinking to yourself, "Really?"  But lets look at some of the advantages:
  • Captive audience- your child has to be with you there anyway.
  • Willing helper- most kids I know are begging for something to do while mom marches up and down the aisles.  This gives them that "something" while feeling helpful.  AND kids really like to cross off items!
  • The foods you are buying are the words your kids are most likely the words your kids will want to know how to say. 
  • Kids see that Chinese is a language that is being used not just studied.  Seeing mom and dad using Chinese reinforces that the Chinese language is important and a useful tool.  Kids want to imitate their parents!

So help your family practice Chinese by writing part or all of your grocery list using ㄅㄆㄇㄈ/pinyin (with or without the characters). What foods should you start with?  It's common for kids to learn the names of fruits early in their exploration of Chinese.  Here's some of the most common fruit names:
  • 平果 (ㄆ一ㄥˊ  ㄍㄨㄛˇ, píng guǒ, apple)
  • 香蕉 (ㄒ一ㄤ  ㄐ一ㄠ, xiāng jiāo, banana)
  • 葡萄 (ㄆㄨˊ  ㄊㄠˊ, pú táo, grapes)
  • 橘子 (ㄐㄩˊ  ㄗ˙, jú zi, orange)
  • 番茄 (ㄈㄢ  ㄑ一ㄝˊ, fān qié, tomato)
  • 桃子 (ㄊㄠˊ  ㄗ˙, táo zi, peach)
  • 杏子 (ㄒ一ㄥˋ  ㄗ˙, xìng zi, apricot)
  • 木瓜 (ㄇㄨˋ  ㄍㄨㄚ, mù guā, papaya)
  • 李子 (ㄌ一ˇ  ㄗ˙, lǐ zǐ, plum)
  • 梨 (ㄌ一ˊ, lí zi, pear) OR 梨子 (ㄌ一ˊ  ㄗ˙, lí zi, pear)

Consider including the number of each fruit you want to buy in your list.  If you are not sure what Measure Word  (MW) to use between the number and the fruit, use 個 (ㄍㄜˋ)- it's the generic MW.  As your family's skill in Chinese advances, you'll learn the proper MWs for nouns, but for now don't let imperfect grammar stop you from practicing. (If it is absolutely driving you crazy that you don't know the correct MWs, click here.)
  • Remember to use 兩 (ㄌ一ㄤˇ, liǎng) instead of 二 (ㄦˋ, èr) for two.
  • Examples,
    • 一個蘋果
    • 兩個蘋果
    • 三個蘋果
    • 四個蘋果

If your child is flying along, ask him/her to help you write one or two words on the list using ㄅㄆㄇㄈ or pinyin.  This is also a great way to introduce new vocabulary.  You can come along later and write in the characters.  Not sure how to write the word?  Use an online dictionary such as YellowBridge.com* or ask a friend or teacher-  they'll LOVE to help!

*YellowBridge does not allow you to look for characters based on the ㄅㄆㄇㄈ system.  There is a conversion page between the pinyin system and the ㄅㄆㄇ system here.

    No comments:

    Post a Comment