Thursday, January 28, 2016

Getting him to speak

One concern that a lot of people have mentioned, both in real life and online, is that if a language isn't used, it's lost. When B was small, we were out for lunch with some friends. They had brought other friends who had been teaching their kids Japanese.

Apparently, once their kids entered French immersion, they slowly stopped speaking Japanese. The focus shifted to learning French and the second language fell into disuse.

That's why we didn't apply for French immersion, even though B wants to learn French.

So I worry because he doesn't actually know enough Japanese to carry on a conversation, so it is hard for him to use it. It's like he has to reach a critical amount of vocabulary. What I have been trying to do is to revert back to how he learned English: using one or two word phrases and a lot of hand gestures to communicate. He says "hai!" and "iie" or "yada" a lot, but he has started trying to ask things in Japanese. I've also started repeating what he says back to him in Japanese and then pausing. Usually he just says, "hai" but occasionally he will repeat it back to me in Japanese.

In class, he tries to speak in Japanese but only in one word answers. So I need to find more ways to get him to use 2 word phrases.

I just remembered that when he was learning to talk, if he said one word, we would repeat it back to him in several different ways with 2 word phrases: "bus. big bus. yellow bus. fast bus"
I will try that and see how it goes.

Oh! For me, today I texted a friend and asked her what a book title was in English. B has a new set of books and I'm working my way through them so I can read them to him. I'm going to lend a couple to my friend though, so she can read them to her daughter. We have a lot, and everyone is so supportive of our efforts to learn Japanese, any way I can give back feels good. It's hard to find books in Japanese in Vancouver now that all the Japanese bookstores seem to have closed.

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