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You know you’re a Mandarin immersion parent when….

January 24, 2013

[I’m looking for a few more to add to the list for my book. If you’ve got one, please email me or add it to comments. And I’d love some from Mandarin speaking parents as well. — Beth]

You know you’re a Mandarin immersion parent* when….


Your third grader is starting to lose it over homework so you offer to race him looking up the characters in a story he doesn’t know in the dictionary by stroke order. You beat him.


You know what is and how to use it.


You have strong preferences in moon cakes types, and know how to answer the question “One egg yolk, two or none?”


Your kid says “I have to fuxi for my kaoshi, but after that I’m done with my gongke” and you understand her.


When you reach into your purse for Kleenex you come out with a handful of flashcards.


All the CDs in your car are in Chinese.


You know who the biggest K-pop stars are and have their songs, with Chinese subtitles, bookmarked on your computer.


You own more Chinese dictionaries than English dictionaries.


You can explain to a Kindergarten parent what a measure word is, and get it right.


You can pick out your child’s handwriting on the bulletin board outside his classroom, even though the papers are all in Chinese.


You forget that in most schools teachers will speak to you in English when there are kids around.



*A non-Chinese speaking MI parent, that is.


2 Comments leave one →
  1. Katie permalink
    January 29, 2013 6:09 pm

    You learned to belt out the entire chorus of “Gong Xi Gong Xi” or “Liang Zhi Lao Hu” long before you could say basic phrases in Chinese.

    You are instinctively wary of dumplings around Chinese New Year, due in part to years of overconsumption, and in part to an unfortunate coin-biting incident.

    You forget that “hongbao” is not an English word, and that non-Mandarin Immersion friends may not know what’s inside.

  2. elizabethweise permalink*
    January 29, 2013 6:33 pm

    Ah, right, hongbao! We once had a babysitter who was tidying up and threw the whole New Years stash away because she thought they were just envelopes. I had to go through the trash to get them, and the money the contained, back.

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