Because Claire is very young, we understand from other's experiences, that she will learn to speak English rapidly! This is good news since we speak VERY little Mandarin Chinese! But, one of the greatest things about adopting from China is getting to bring some of that culture into our life. We are fascinated with the Chinese culture and are enjoying learning about it. Yes, Claire will be an American girl, but there is no denying that her roots are Chinese and we believe it is important to help her embrace her birth country and it's culture, including the language. Therefore, we have been trying to learn a little Chinese!
As most people know, Chinese is written in symbols and it is not a phonetic language so the pronunciation of the words is not related to the written words! This makes it a little difficult to learn it! So, in the late 1950's Pinyin was created to transcribe Chinese characters so people could pronounce them. The writing of Pinyin is similar to the English alphabet. It has 21 initials, which are like consonants in English, and 38 finals, which are similar to our vowels. Of course it is a little more complicated than just putting the letters together because it is also a tonal language with letters having 4 possible tones and a neutral sound. For more information and some lessons check out http://www.chinese-tool.com/ and click on learn Chinese. Here are a few words to try that we are working on. The great thing is that you can find sites online that will pronounce the words for you! I'm hoping we will pick up a little more in China! We'll see!
Hello = Ni hao (nee how)
Goodbye = Zai jian (Zi geean)
Goodnight = wan an (won an)
Good morning = zao an (zow an)
Thank you = Xiexie (see-eh see-eh)
I love you = wo ai ni (woh I nee)
Mama = Mama (mah mah)!
Daddy= Baba (bah bah)
Big Brother = gege (guh guh)
Big Sister = jiejie (jee-eh jee-eh)
Litter Sister = meimei (may may)
Grandpa = yeye (yeh yeh)
Grandma = nainai (ni ni) long i sound