Advice About My Mother Tongue is NEEDED!!
Hi. I’m 11 and have come to this forum to ask for advice (So please be nice). Some background info: I used to go to Chinese school when I was very young but my parents took me out because I was shy and wouldn’t speak any Chinese. Oh by the way, I am fully Chinese but was born in America. And now about the present. It’s been so long since I’ve practiced Chinese geezzzz. It’s just now that I realize the importance of learning another language and being able to communicate with others, especially if it’s your mother tongue. I am constantly compared to other Asians, and everyone is suddenly shocked that I can’t speak Chinese!! I really want to learn, but I’m not sure what I can do and what my parents will think about it. I can fully understand my parents when they talk in Chinese, but I can barely muster a word out and let’s not even TALK about reading or writing.
I need any advice. Sorry I’m so immature, but I feel like starting Chinese learning now won’t do me any bad.
It's never too late. If there's a strong ABC community in your area, that's great! Native/longtime speakers will love to help new learners.
And if you can, enroll back in Chinese school. Duolingo's good too, especially for recognition/reading. Speaking is key to learning ESPECIALLY with pinyin & the 4 tonal reflections. I know it's a HUGE barrier, but start with simple things like 早上好妈妈爸爸！我饿了! 今天好热! never be afraid to make mistakes - or ask for help! 学新语言的人都要厚脸皮 ;D
also the fact that you realize the importance of embracing your heritage's language? true maturity. :)
lastly, try listening to Chinese music! binge the CRA soundtrack!!
Never hesitate to learn. Anything. You will become stronger because you will be able to compare. And it will help you when you will be an adult.
Even if you were older as I am (I am more than 60), it is never too late to learn. Learning is a part of life. If you learn, you are living.
And look, perhaps I made some errors in my text but English is not my mother language. And I can write to you thou.
So I wish you will be able to speak fluently Chinese in some time.
I had an Australian born Japanese friend at university who refused to speak Japanese until she entered university, she regretted it deeply.
Start now before you regret it, and you will definitely regret it, also.
Talk with your parents! You definitely have a very good advantage that you can understand them when they speaking Chinese, so I think what you need to do is in fact just imitating. It should be very easy for you. I don't know how is your reading, but writting may be the problem.
Also, even though Duolingo does a great job teaching other languages, it hasn't gotten the hang of Asian languages. I would suggest you try the LingoDeer and/or HelloChinese apps, which are much better at teaching Chinese, including actually teaching stroke order and having helpful grammar tips for each lesson.
So you can understand conversations, that means you have some vocabulary, grammar, and the sounds of the language.
Speaking and listening are related, but not the same. We need to practice both in a language. But with all you already know, it shouldn't be too hard. Even things you already forgot can help, as refreshing is usually a bit easier that learning from zero.
Your biggest problem seems to be the fear of making mistakes in front of others. I can think of two ways of dealing with that.
One is "shadowing": repeating phrases after someone else. You can do it by yourself until you feel comfortable enough.
The other is to start using some phrases and words in Chinese. Saying hello, goodnight, thank you... And slowly add more and more, as you gain confidence.
But in the end, we all have to deal with the fact that we will make some mistakes, in every language we know. I bet you make mistakes in English some times, and you'll make some in Chinese too. I make mistakes in Spanish (my native language), all the time.
Maybe you can ask your parents (or other Chinese speakers available to you) to be patient and understanding, and to not put much pressure on you. They're a great resource, try to use them :D
PS: for shadowing, I like "Slow & Clear Chinese" in Youtube, but there are many other resources.