As English is the universal language for communication, parents and teachers use English more frequently at home and in school. As a result, children lack opportunities to speak and learn their mother tongue, resulting in deteriorating proficiency in the language (Exposure at home key to kids picking up mother tongue, June 4).
The home environment plays an important role in shaping children's fluency in their mother tongue.
From a young age, I was raised by my grandmother and had no choice but to communicate with her in Chinese because of her lack of proficiency in English. She would teach me to read and write Chinese characters, memorise Chinese poems and idioms.
As a result, my fluency in my mother tongue was always better than that of my peers and I would always score high marks in my mother tongue examinations and compositions.
Languages cannot be learnt over a short duration but require practice over many years.
Arissa Lee, 15,
Secondary 3 student
CALLING YOUNG READERS: If you are a student or aged 21 years or below, and want to air your opinion on any report or letter in The Straits Times, e-mail your letter to email@example.com, with the subject header “Voices of Youth”. Do include your age, school level and contact details, and the headline of the report/letter you refer to. Please keep to a length of 250 words.