Parenting & Family

would bilingual education be too much burden for young kids?

  • Last Updated:
  • Nov 8th, 2018 2:10 am
Deal Addict
Jan 27, 2015
1037 posts
453 upvotes
Edmonton, AB
fogetmylogin wrote:
Nov 5th, 2018 2:32 am
It is tough to keep up the home country language at least to an educated level. It might also be a cultural thing but most of the people I know who grew up speaking Mandarin to their parents can't talk about much more than food and other home topics.

Frankly any language besides French is rarely useful in the Canadian job market. Once in awhile it can be a benefit but mostly lower level jobs. Ironically sometimes being ethnically Chinese is a disadvantage for these jobs as they will be treated differently in China.

If you don't really care about the cultural side of it it might not be worth it for you. That said kids can easily learn two languages just be prepared for some times in the kids life when they refuse to speak Mandarin.
French is ONLY valuable if you want a civil position Federally. That is it.

Mandarin means you can actually network and work with others from all over the world. Whether you're for or against globalism, it is happening. We now live in a global world. Kids would be much better of learning Mandarin / Hindi as a 2nd language than French or Spanish.
Deal Addict
Apr 21, 2014
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Alberta
FinancialFreedom wrote:
Nov 5th, 2018 4:34 pm
French is ONLY valuable if you want a civil position Federally. That is it.

Mandarin means you can actually network and work with others from all over the world. Whether you're for or against globalism, it is happening. We now live in a global world. Kids would be much better of learning Mandarin / Hindi as a 2nd language than French or Spanish.
Agreed. Spanish Or Mandarin
Deal Addict
Nov 13, 2013
1364 posts
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OTTAWA
FinancialFreedom wrote:
Nov 5th, 2018 4:34 pm
French is ONLY valuable if you want a civil position Federally. That is it.

Mandarin means you can actually network and work with others from all over the world. Whether you're for or against globalism, it is happening. We now live in a global world. Kids would be much better of learning Mandarin / Hindi as a 2nd language than French or Spanish.
French is useful also in a lot of national sales jobs, call centers, hugely useful for teachers and in some places restaurants and other service industry jobs. It is also of course essential in Montreal and Ottawa for almost all jobs. (You might not think your kid will live in either city it is common for a trailing spouse to show up in those cities and be shut out of the job market. Haven't heard of that happening with Mandarin.

China is a big important market but they are learning English. When I was a kid Japanese was the essential language to learn (how did that turn out). In fact I lived in China and most of the expat jobs there didn't even require Mandarin. It was useful for some middle management jobs but likely those won't be expat jobs by the time your kid is working.

Hindi? Does anyone in the business world in India not speak English?

Spanish is also very important. As the most important language in the United States it will naturally be important in the Canadian job market given our deep connection with the US.
Deal Addict
Nov 24, 2004
3630 posts
385 upvotes
Toronto
Coming back to the OP's actual question, I think it's a no-brainer for him to speak exclusively Mandarin at home -- it doesn't cost anything, and his kid will then grow up speaking and understanding Mandarin "effortlessly".

French will come through the school system, and OP can choose to put his kid in French Immersion if he so chooses. French and Mandarin are both very useful, and not mutually exclusive. His kid can take other European languages in high school (Spanish, German, etc.)

The trickier point is whether OP should invest the time and money into making sure his kid becomes literate in Chinese, which is a much more challenging endeavour. I'm not sure that weekend classes suffice to build anything beyond a very basic literacy in Chinese languages. But I'm happy to be proven wrong.
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Jun 26, 2005
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Toronto
I'm a practical person. I look at his/her future.

Mandarin and English are the best business language in the World.

But I have coworkers (from China) that have kids in grade school and are refusing to go to mandarin school. Either they hate it ot whatever. So, you never know.

Don't worry, even if they only know English, they can still get a decent job and pick something that's in the government. So they have a defined benefit plan. If you didn't know, this means, when they retire (they calculate for you and tell you what age), he/she will get a guaranteed income of $x.xx amount every year.

So depends on your last salary amount on the job, it can bea very nice yearly guaranteed income. Like $70k, 90k, etc.

Unlike the non-govern jobs, we have defined contribution, meaning, like my job, every paycheck I put in 3%, and company gives 4%, this goes into Manulife for example and you pick their mutual fund. Then in 40 yrs when you retire, you PRAY and HOPE you have enough money to retire. If you don't, too bad, you can't rewind time and pick another fund.

Long story short, best to teach them Mandarin, esp. you speak it, but if it doesn't work out, DON'T worry, teach them to get a job with defined benefits, and they will be set for the future.
Sr. Member
Oct 17, 2002
634 posts
42 upvotes
Toronto
vkizzle wrote:
Nov 4th, 2018 10:58 pm
Public school's 50% French curriculum starts in kindergarten.
Not much choice to not learn it, other than enrolling into a private school.
I dont know... Maybe I'm biased because it's what I did, but I found most kids just went through the motion of attending French classes up to Grade 9. Again, I'm biased because of where I work, but I think French is only valuable in the workplace if you're a Canadian public servant. Private sector, and French isn't a very important language to have.

That said, I'm sure there are plenty of other benefits outside of work to learn French, but if I wasnt concerned about advantages in the workplace, Italian would be language I'd learn.
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Jan 17, 2002
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vkizzle wrote:
Nov 4th, 2018 10:58 pm
Public school's 50% French curriculum starts in kindergarten.
Not much choice to not learn it, other than enrolling into a private school.
Is that an Ottawa region thing??? There is definitely no 50% french curriculum in the GTA, it is just one class you take like math etc and then you need to take it one year in high school.
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Aug 22, 2011
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frogger wrote:
Nov 6th, 2018 1:34 pm
Is that an Ottawa region thing??? There is definitely no 50% french curriculum in the GTA, it is just one class you take like math etc and then you need to take it one year in high school.
The 50% is just for kinders and once they start grade 1, it should revert back to 1 class, unless they are in French Immersion.
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vkizzle wrote:
Nov 6th, 2018 1:38 pm
The 50% is just for kinders and once they start grade 1, it should revert back to 1 class, unless they are in French Immersion.
I see.. Here there is no 50% for kinders, just french immersion option at SK.
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FinancialFreedom wrote:
Nov 5th, 2018 4:33 pm
Exactly. Mandarin would be way more valuable than French, simply given the sheer # of people who speak Mandarin. Couple with the fact that China will be a force to reckon with economically speaking over the next 5 decades.
A friend of mine is a business analyst at RBC downtown Toronto, she told me recently there are times everyone in the team meeting of half a dozen people or so speak Mandarin and they conduct those meetings in Mandarin.
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Aug 22, 2011
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frogger wrote:
Nov 6th, 2018 1:39 pm
I see.. Here there is no 50% for kinders, just french immersion option at SK.
At the end of the day it's personal preference and learning a 2nd or 3rd is a bonus.
I work for in the private sector, with plants in the US , EU and China and the preferred universal language is English (even with our Chinese counterparts).
Sr. Member
Mar 24, 2015
781 posts
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Ottawa, ON
I'm seeing more and more Chinese parents speaking French and sending their kids to full french school in my neighbourhood. I was surprised by how many Chinese parents could actually speak French. I guess for these parents, French is essential, especially being in Ottawa and close to Quebec.

For our kids, we focus on English and French. They are fully bilingual. Both go to French school and learned English by themselves by just watching TV or hearing us speaking it at home. They also go to Mandarin classes every Saturday morning, their grandparents speak Mandarin to them sometimes too. My oldest learns Spanish as well every Wednesday after school (program offered by the school). He requested to learn Arabic once (because his friend spoke Arabic) and did so for a few months over the summer. Won't make him fluent, but he has a keen interest in languages. It really depends on the kids. Happy he want to learn so many languages, but only English and French would be fine too. A lot of his Chinese friends speak English anyway.
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Jun 26, 2005
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ckay1980 wrote:
Nov 6th, 2018 2:31 pm
I'm seeing more and more Chinese parents speaking French and sending their kids to full french school in my neighbourhood. I was surprised by how many Chinese parents could actually speak French. I guess for these parents, French is essential, especially being in Ottawa and close to Quebec.

For our kids, we focus on English and French. They are fully bilingual. Both go to French school and learned English by themselves by just watching TV or hearing us speaking it at home. They also go to Mandarin classes every Saturday morning, their grandparents speak Mandarin to them sometimes too. My oldest learns Spanish as well every Wednesday after school (program offered by the school). He requested to learn Arabic once (because his friend spoke Arabic) and did so for a few months over the summer. Won't make him fluent, but he has a keen interest in languages. It really depends on the kids. Happy he want to learn so many languages, but only English and French would be fine too. A lot of his Chinese friends speak English anyway.
In Ontario, you have to send your child to within your house/home zone. So, in my neighbourhood, there's a "good" school, and many parents are going there and sending their Gr 1 kids to French Imm.

yes, even Chinese parents. I was wondering why too.

Turns out, all of them are NOT zoned to attend this school, but, if you go to French Imm. then yes you can, because this is their closest French I school.

That's one reason why people enrol into French Imm.
Sr. Member
Mar 24, 2015
781 posts
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Ottawa, ON
rfdrfd wrote:
Nov 6th, 2018 4:16 pm
In Ontario, you have to send your child to within your house/home zone. So, in my neighbourhood, there's a "good" school, and many parents are going there and sending their Gr 1 kids to French Imm.

yes, even Chinese parents. I was wondering why too.

Turns out, all of them are NOT zoned to attend this school, but, if you go to French Imm. then yes you can, because this is their closest French I school.

That's one reason why people enrol into French Imm.
There are a lot of English schools with French immersion in my neighbourhood. The school my kids to go and that I'm talking about where I see more Chinese parents is a French public school, not immersion. 100% French. All communications with school is done in French. They will only speak French at school and parents need to know French as well to be able to help their kids with homework etc. So they are not enrolling their kids in the French school because they don't have a choice or it's because it's the only good school in the neighbourhood, but because they want the French. To be able to get a spot in the school, you need to do an interview, in French, if one of the parents didn't go to French school. So the Chinese are definitely learning French too or have done so in the past. I wouldn't be surprised if these parents were federal employees.
Jr. Member
Feb 4, 2017
161 posts
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Toronto
I would encourage you to only speak Mandarin a home. knowing multiple languages only puts you at an advantage in life.

You don't have to FORCE IT upon your child, but you can influence it.

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