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Developing a Bilingual Child

At my wedding dinner years ago, I was gullible enough to promise the guests who had come to wish my husband and I well that I would be a good wife and learn to speak his native language, Cantonese! More than a decade after, the extent of my spoken vocabulary in Cantonese is largely limited to “lei ho ma?” (directly translated, “Are you well?”), and “sek bao mei?” (“Have you eaten?”). I cannot even count from 1 to 10 correctly, mixing up the tones and the phonemes with expert ease.

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