Young S'poreans losing touch with Chinese language
NOWADAYS, the younger generation of Chinese Singaporeans are very well-versed in English, but some of them cannot speak Mandarin or read Chinese characters. This worrying trend is on the rise and we may lose touch with our roots soon.
The growing number of English-speaking families contributed to the situation, as parents do not speak Mandarin to their children.
The young have few opportunities to use Mandarin in school, as Chinese language lessons take up only about four hours each week.
So if parents do not interact with their children in Mandarin, the only way for the young to learn the language is through that short period of time in school.
Also, schoolchildren are trying to learn the language by memorising words from textbooks. They may be able to pass or even do well in their examinations without understanding the meaning of the words.
With more English-speaking Chinese Singaporean students, schools have to find a way to effectively teach the language to the younger generation, and make them feel that learning Chinese is meaningful.
Jenson Seah Guo Long