Kids using "My home has..."

I have a problem with my students who are at the competitive stage of “I have two stickers.”…“I have FOUR stickers!”, etc. etc. etc.
But instead of simply putting it like that, they consistently use the sentence “My home has two stickers.”
Is that from Mandarin? and if it is, how and when is it used?
And if they say “My home has…”, do they really mean “I have…” or something else entirely?
Please help!

What the kids are trying to say “wǒ jiā yǒu liǎng zhāng tiēzhǐ”

If your kids are saying “My home has…” then they are at least getting the subject-verb agreement down and you should be patting them on the back. Most of my students still say, “My home have…”

I think Mandarin transfers into English are singly why teaching kids here is helping my Chinese grammar much more than paying for private lessons. My favorite is when they say, “Teacher, he no give me see.” (Ta bu gei wo kan.) or “I yesterday go to…” (wo zuotian qu…) Yes, my job is to help them break from these structures and get more native-like syntax down, but I am still enjoying these free Mandarin grammar lessons…I think I have picked up more Chinese grammar since I have been teaching here than I did when I studied it in college. Shoot, instead of paying for lessons, I am getting paid to receive them…and my “teachers” are much more adorable than my professors ever were.

In Chinese the verb “to have” can either mean “to have” or “there is/are”. Instead of saying “There are two books on the desk,” Chinese would say something like “The desk has two books,” if tranlsated literally. So your students are trying to say, “There are two stickers in my home.”

There are two approaches to correct this when your students are too young for explicit grammar instruction. For anything to do with the home teach your students to say, “We/I have … at home.” I find this is easier than getting them to say “There is a … in my home.”

Later you can explain that they can use “have” to describe things the home “has” but usually they must be things that are normal for a particular room, or the house in general. In other words, you can say, “My house has four rooms and an attic,” but not my house has “two stickers.” You can say, “My bedroom has a red bed and a blue desk,” but not “My bedroom has a doll.” In both cases though if the students add “in it” to the end of the sentence it does makes sense.

You can also tease your students when they make the mistake you described by demonstrating the absurdity of a house walking down to the store to buy some stickers. This will make them laugh and also help them to develop an intuitive sense of the difference between English and Chinese usage of “have”.

I think one of the advantages of being an English teacher who understands Chinese, is that I try and listen to see what kids naturally talk about, so that I can teach them the sort of language that they will naturally use.

In this quest for natural language one of the most spoken phrases I hear little kids (especially K1 xiao ban) saying is ‘Wo jiali ye you’. I hear this at home. It is literally ‘my home has it too’. I have tried getting kids to say ‘we have one at home’, but it’s a bit difficult for the littlies.

The little classes and nursery classes also often say stuff like ‘I’ve eaten that before’, ‘I’ve seen that before’ etc. At this level I don’t think it’s competitiveness, but just kids relating it back to their own experience.

Teaching elementary classes I did once have a grade 3 or so kid who used to take every opportunity to tell everyone how many TVs, telephones, Benzes, expensive holidays etc hios family had. I used to ask the class in Chinese whether they thought that was wasteful considering the poor people who don’t have any (sounds preachy, but I did it in a mocking joking way). The boy wasn’t a bad kid and after a while he stopped it.

Hey, shouldn’t this be in the teaching forum?


No, I was more interested in learning the sentence in Chinese myself so that I could at least understand what they are trying to say to me.
I seldom correct my 3 year-olds because I think they’ll start using the correct form when they’re ready for it, but I do want to know what they’re trying to say…so learning the correct Mandarin will help.
Thank you!