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04th  Raising Bilingual Kids

投稿者: ハワイ歩き方事務局 更新日:2006年10月14日

4th Raising Bilingual Kids

右脳を本当に刺激している? 七田先生のドリル

●Out of the mouths of babes come a thousand words
There’s a question I get asked a lot, and that’s how I’m raising my daughter to be bilingual. Let me tell you ? It’s hard, and it’s hilarious. Hard, because I have to stay on top of every opportunity possible to expose her to Japanese, and because it takes an ungodly amount of patience to refrain from harping on her when our communication lags. It also chokes me up sometimes to find her struggling to express herself, and I blame myself for that.

But what keeps me going ? I have to start writing this down — is the stuff that comes out of her mouth that cracks me up! I mean, how do you teach a three-year-old the difference between 4(shi), and 4(yon), or 7 (shichi) and 7(nana)~ How would she know that, when you count up, it’s”shi” and “shichi,” and when you count down, it’s “nana” and “yon?” I say this, because she was counting her rocks the other day, and she said, “ikko, niko, sanko, shikko” (shikko, as in pee). I just about died. Killing my laughter, I said, “Ki-chan, that should be ‘yonko.’ ” She shook her head and said, “No mommy, it’s ichi, ni, san, shi. It’s shikko.” I was speechless. Oh, the logic that spins through their tiny little heads!

Then on another day, we discussed what her favorite foods (daikobutsu) were. In typical kiddy fashion, hers are inari, kamaboko, and pizza. It just so happened that we were also watching a movie called “Spirited Away,” and a skull showed up in a scene. She asked me what it was, so I said, “gaikotsu.” A week later we were at the mall, we walked past a skeleton hanging in a store window, and she belted out, “Mommy, look! It’s daikobutsu!”

So the question still remains, what am I doing personally to help her with her language skills? Apart from the obvious ? talking to her non-stop, and almost always praising and scolding her in Japanese ? I enlist the help of books, videos, and (shock! Horror!) enrichment classes. The one she’s been in for over a year now teaches the Shichida method, which supposedly stimulates the right-brain by speed-feeding repetitious information through flash cards, puzzles, and worksheets. Honestly, I didn’t buy into it at first But in the last couple of weeks, something must have clicked, because now she recognizes almost all of her hiragana letters. She puts together puzzles and completes mazes with unbelievable speed. It may be coincidence, but I certainly am not taking the credit!


The other activity that has profoundly affected her interest in Japanese is her monthly fix of Shimajiro, a cartoon tiger made popular by a series of age-appropriate books and videos. It’s a subscription service, but for about $200 a year, a package arrives in our mailbox every month, filled with clever, kid-friendly activities, a book and video, and a theme-oriented, amazingly high-quality toy.
For school-aged kids, I’m told Kumon is also a valuable tool for learning Japanese. There are 12 Kumon centers in the Honolulu area alone, with three of them offering Japanese. The drawback is that Kumon curriculum is self-motivated, so kids who hate homework might have trouble enjoying the process. So far, my daughter is showing slightly “nerdy” signs, so I’ll look into this, too.

Then there’s the famous Rainbow School, a Saturday school located at Kaimuki Middle School. Kids are taught reading, math, and social studies based on official Japanese text books (but apparently the Consulate General’s office will give Japanese families the text books for free even if you don’t enroll your kids at the school). The biggest merits are the sheer environment, and making other Japanese-speaking friends. The downside is the commitment ? giving up Saturdays for school is hard on both kids and parents. But this, too, is a road I’m considering. Yes, my daughter will probably hate me for sending her to school on the weekend, but in the end, it’s for her good, right?


And finally, I plan to bombard her with manga. My mom tells me she barely taught me and my brother how to read or write Japanese — because manga did.
In the meantime, I’m hoping to just enjoy the unintentional puns that fall out of her mouth. Way back when, my mom and I drove past a used car dealership, and I asked her, “What’s ‘chu-kichi-guruma?'” That was a starting point for me ? as a seven-year-old, just beginning to learn her kanji. And I know my daughter will indulge me with her bilingual comedy, too.

ハパママがよく聞かれる質問、それはどうやって子供をバイリンガルに育てるのか? まず言えるのが、苦闘と大爆笑の連続であること。なぜ難しいか、と言えば、娘が日本語に接する機会を常に与えなければならないのと、コミュニケーションがうまくいかなくても、自分の感情をぶつけてはならないこと。時には、言いたいことをなかなか表現できない娘の姿を見て動揺し、自分を責めることさえあります。

でもそんな気持ちを紛らわせてくれるのが、わが娘キーちゃんの笑える「キーちゃん語録」。あるエピソード、大好きな石ころを並べていたキーちゃんが「いっこ、にっこ、さんこ、しっこ」と数えてました。「キーちゃん、そういう時はよんこ、って言うんだよ」と笑いをこらえて直す私。「違うよ、ママ。いち、に、さん、し、だからしっこだよ」と自信満々な娘。ですよね〜。「4」は「し」と「よん」、「7」は「しち」と「なな」と状況に応じて読み方が変わるなんて3歳児にどうやって説明すべきか? 娘の純粋なロジックにママは唖然とするばかり。

続いて、キーちゃんの「大好物」の話をしていたある日。おいなりさん、ピザ、かまぼこ、とお子ちゃまらしい答え。たまたま同時に「千と千尋の神隠し」のビデオを見ていました。ワンシーンに頭蓋骨が出てきて「あれなあに?」と聞かれたので「がいこつだよ」と教えました。一週間ほど後にモールで買い物をしていると、お店にあったハロウィーンの飾りの骸骨を見て「ママ、見て だいこうぶつだよ」と堂々と叫んでました。

そんなわけで、実際に私はどうやって娘の語学力を育んでいるのでしょう? ノンストップに日本語で話しかけるのは勿論のこと、褒める時も叱る時も日本語を使っています。更に重要なのが日本語の本とビデオと、(なんと)幼稚園の後に訪ねる「お塾」。ここ1年間通っている「七田式」の学習教室はフラッシュカードやパズルとプリントを利用して子供の右脳を活性化する方式なんですが、実は最初は半信半疑でした。でも最近になって彼女の中にある何かが目覚めたのか、ひらがなを殆ど憶えている娘に私もビックリ。パズルやめいろも驚くスピードで終わらせるんです。偶然かもしれませんが、私が手伝ったわけでもないし…






Pretty (プリティ)と言うと「可愛い」、「きれい」を意味する形容詞をまず想像しますよね。 でも日本語と似て同音異義語の多い英語では「かなり」、「結構」とも使えて、日常会話によく登場します。使い慣れると表情範囲が広がるので是非トライしてみましょう

1) How are you doing? (調子はどう?) / Pretty good (結構いいよ)
2) The mall is pretty far from here (モールはここから相当遠いよ)
3) This is a pretty big hotel (かなり大きなホテルね)

娘:エリン・霧江(きりえ)、愛称キーちゃん。外見は恥かしがり屋、家では結構「キレちゃう」典型的内弁慶。ハロー・キティとパパをこよなく愛す保育園児。ちなみに、ハワイの人達のひとついいところは名前に「ちゃん」付けをしても分かってくれること。サンフランに住んでた頃、「キーちゃん、キーちゃん」と呼んでる私は廻りの人に「なんだそりゃ? 中国語かい?」と聞くかの様に変な顔をされました。こっちでは白人でも平気に「キーちゃん」と呼んでくれます。 

この記事が属するカテゴリー: アロハダイアリー