When do you speak Chinese to your spouse/girlfriend/boyfriend/children?

When do you speak Chinese to your spouse/girlfriend/boyfriend/children?

  • All the time
  • Only at home
  • Only in public
  • Whenever I feel like it
  • Not at all

0 voters

I’d be very curious to know when and where you speak Chinese with your partner (like spouse, girlfriend/boyfriend) or children, and when you do, why you are and how it came to it.

As for me, at first my wife and I only spoke English, mainly because my Chinese wasn’t even close to useful at that time, although I did have some theoretical background, like basic vocabulary and grammar, I just never actually used that knowledge in a practical manner.

Anyway, after a while I asked my wife if it would be okay to speak a little Chinese everyday, not like “let’s sit down and go through a dialog” but more in sense of using that language instead of English for everyday life. At first it was awkward, I don’t know why, but it just felt weird, after all, English was our language when we met and married. But as time went by, my Chinese got better and so it kind of started to become second nature to speak Chinese with her at home pretty much all the time, and later on also in public, like when we discuss things in front of other people (landlords, buying stuff, banks etc.). Before, we would always switch to English in public situations, but I then thought that it’s kind of impolite to have that “secret” conversation in a language that the other participants wouldn’t be able to (fully) understand, but also because I’m used to use the common language, considering everyone around me, back in my home country.

Now we speak Chinese most of the day, though would occasionally switch to English every once in a while to give me a mental break or if we just feel the need to trash talk in public. :popcorn:

So what about you? Do you think it’s too weird to switch from the “this is how I met you” language to Chinese? That you’re obligated to speak in the national language? Must speak in Chinese for the sake of your children? That Chinese just has no room in your private life? Or whatever… I’m listening (…reading).

My gf and I use Chinese at home when one or both of us is angry or horny. It hasn’t prepared me very well for normal Chinese conversations outside of the home

[quote=“bitsnbytes”]I’d be very curious to know when and where you speak Chinese with your partner (like spouse, girlfriend/boyfriend) or children, and when you do, why you are and how it came to it.

As for me, at first my wife and I only spoke English, mainly because my Chinese wasn’t even close to useful at that time, although I did have some theoretical background, like basic vocabulary and grammar, I just never actually used that knowledge in a practical manner.

Anyway, after a while I asked my wife if it would be okay to speak a little Chinese everyday, not like “let’s sit down and go through a dialog” but more in sense of using that language instead of English for everyday life. At first it was awkward, I don’t know why, but it just felt weird, after all, English was our language when we met and married. But as time went by, my Chinese got better and so it kind of started to become second nature to speak Chinese with her at home pretty much all the time, and later on also in public, like when we discuss things in front of other people (landlords, buying stuff, banks etc.). Before, we would always switch to English in public situations, but I then thought that it’s kind of impolite to have that “secret” conversation in a language that the other participants wouldn’t be able to (fully) understand, but also because I’m used to use the common language, considering everyone around me, back in my home country.

Now we speak Chinese most of the day, though would occasionally switch to English every once in a while to give me a mental break or if we just feel the need to trash talk in public. :popcorn:

So what about you? Do you think it’s too weird to switch from the “this is how I met you” language to Chinese? That you’re obligated to speak in the national language? Must speak in Chinese for the sake of your children? That Chinese just has no room in your private life? Or whatever… I’m listening (…reading).[/quote]

I usually just speak Chinese to everyone

So I can’t vote.

I could not get any of my gfs to speak any Chinese, not even as much as “good morning”. Even when I speak Chinese, they speak English…lowest common denominator I guess as they all speak high level English.

My good friends gf did not speak any English, so they spoke Chinese and his Chinese rocketed.

Only when I curse.

100% of the time. My fiance (hey that’s a new thing there isn’t it) doesn’t speak English on any functional level, so it’s not like I really have a choice. We’ve tried “practicing English” but the level of conversation was so low we gave up after a few sentences. Needless to say, very awkward when she tries to communicate with my parents, but it’s a heart-warming kind of awkward.

I also speak Chinese with almost all of my friends, even the ones who are fluent in English or grew up abroad. Sort of a “when in Rome” thing… If we all moved to an English-speaking country I expect we would change.

Well, my situation is a little more complicated… I can speak 3 languages fluently (I’m a native bilingual in catalan and spanish). My chinese is quite limited (I only studied an intensive course for 3 months, and I still have to go back to learn it when I have the time).

In our case, my wife and me have decided to teach 4 languages to our child (3 1/2 months old now): catalan, spanish, chinese and english.

To do so, I speak to my daughter in catalan, my wife (and all her family) speaks chinese to her, my wife and me speak spanish to each other, and I speak english to my father-in-law and my wife’s cousins and the uncles that understand english. As for the rest of my wife’s family, I try my best in the limited chinese I know (because they can’t speak english at all).

Congratulations! (I’m reading that right, aren’t I?)

Congratulations! (I’m reading that right, aren’t I?)[/quote]

:thumbsup: You are. (I proposed Friday after about half a year of planning :whistle: )

Only concern now is that it’s going to get complicated if we end up moving to the US (depending on my working situation) because she doesn’t have the language capability to find a job there. We’ve tried working on her English but it didn’t go very far. She now, however, knows the very useful terms “shady,” “ghetto,” and “off and on,” even if she can’t really build sentences around them. I’m sure we’ll figure it out when the time comes, though.

I speak Chinese to the wife, and English to the kids. The wife and kids speak Taiwanese, and the kids speak English to each other.

[quote=“Blaquesmith”]Well, my situation is a little more complicated… I can speak 3 languages fluently (I’m a native bilingual in catalan and spanish). My chinese is quite limited (I only studied an intensive course for 3 months, and I still have to go back to learn it when I have the time).

In our case, my wife and me have decided to teach 4 languages to our child (3 1/2 months old now): catalan, spanish, chinese and english.

To do so, I speak to my daughter in catalan, my wife (and all her family) speaks chinese to her, my wife and me speak spanish to each other, and I speak english to my father-in-law and my wife’s cousins and the uncles that understand english. As for the rest of my wife’s family, I try my best in the limited chinese I know (because they can’t speak english at all).[/quote]

Well, we had our child confused, my parents and me would speak Spanish to each other and them to her, the wife and I speak English between us and to her and mommy would speak Chinese as well, then we came here and everybody would speak Taiwanese at home, both uncles, grandma and mommy, and daddy stopped talking. She’s talking now some English and some Chinese but is having troubles, I ruled out my own language for the greater good, I will try to teach her when she is speaking Chinese fluently, I know English will stick somehow.

Whatever the path of least resistance is.

[quote=“TexMex”][quote=“Blaquesmith”]Well, my situation is a little more complicated… I can speak 3 languages fluently (I’m a native bilingual in catalan and spanish). My chinese is quite limited (I only studied an intensive course for 3 months, and I still have to go back to learn it when I have the time).

In our case, my wife and me have decided to teach 4 languages to our child (3 1/2 months old now): catalan, spanish, chinese and english.

To do so, I speak to my daughter in catalan, my wife (and all her family) speaks chinese to her, my wife and me speak spanish to each other, and I speak english to my father-in-law and my wife’s cousins and the uncles that understand english. As for the rest of my wife’s family, I try my best in the limited chinese I know (because they can’t speak english at all).[/quote]

Well, we had our child confused, my parents and me would speak Spanish to each other and them to her, the wife and I speak English between us and to her and mommy would speak Chinese as well, then we came here and everybody would speak Taiwanese at home, both uncles, grandma and mommy, and daddy stopped talking. She’s talking now some English and some Chinese but is having troubles, I ruled out my own language for the greater good, I will try to teach her when she is speaking Chinese fluently, I know English will stick somehow.[/quote]

The thing is: The child should learn spanish or other roman language first along with chinese, because their grammar is much more complex than the chinese/english one. For the chinese native speakers (or even for the english native speakers), learning proper spanish (or other roman language) grammar is much more difficult, so it’s better if the children learn it when they are very young.

I’m very interested to teach my daughter catalan, because the grammar is a little more difficult than the spanish one (the only roman language with a more difficult grammar is french). Also, catalan has more sounds than spanish, and includes all of the necessary sounds to speak english and spanish, and the only sounds in chinese it doesn’t have are the ü, zh, ch, r (which I managed to pronounce in 5 minutes). The most difficult thing about chinese is reading/writing, but she will learn that at school. Also, if you know two different roman languages (in my case, catalan and spanish) it’s fairly easy to learn others from the same family (french, portuguese, italian…). The more she knows, the better.

It’s common for young children to mix some vocabulary from the different languages, but that’s common in multilingual children up to 4-5 years of age. They learn some words in one language before they learn the same words in the others, so they switch to that language for that word, and they come back to the original language for the rest of the sentence. It’s a common thing, and the parents don’t have to make a fuss about that, or think that their child is retarded because it takes a little longer for he/she to begin speaking until they grasp the different grammar/sounds of each language. It only requires patience and understanding, and in my oppinion, even if the child is a few months behind others of the same age in speaking one of the languages, the ability to speak more than one is far more useful, and makes it easier to learn additional languages later.

Never. My girlfriend’s Chinese is worse than mine.

I thought your gf was a local?

Congratulations! (I’m reading that right, aren’t I?)[/quote]

:thumbsup: You are. (I proposed Friday after about half a year of planning :whistle: )

Only concern now is that it’s going to get complicated if we end up moving to the US (depending on my working situation) because she doesn’t have the language capability to find a job there. We’ve tried working on her English but it didn’t go very far. She now, however, knows the very useful terms “shady,” “ghetto,” and “off and on,” even if she can’t really build sentences around them. I’m sure we’ll figure it out when the time comes, though.[/quote]

CONGRATS ! tell us bout your proposal, how’d you pull it off?

now i’m confused ! :laughing:

Sounds a bit like my situation- but with a twist or two. Chinese to my wife and English with my kids (though the youngest one really can’t understand any of it). My wife speaks Chinese to our kids. And then when my wife and I want a secret language, we speak to each other in Korean. And to really mess things up, I’m now insisting that we speak to each other in English during the week and Chinese on the weekends. I’ve got to say, that really gives me one more reason to look forward to the weekends because my wife’s English isn’t the best.

I thought your gf was a local?[/quote]

No. I’ve stated many times before my fiance is from Iran. (hard to drop the “girlfriend” after so much time).