Elderly speakers of Cantonese, Hakka and Hokkien sometimes cannot talk to their own grandchildren W HEN SANDY , a young Chinese Singaporean, learned that her grandmother was terminally ill, she signed up for a workshop in the Hokkien language run by LearnDialect.sg, a charity founded to help Singaporeans communicate with the city-state’s older Chinese residents—including within their own families. Sandy is fluent in English and Mandarin, the official “mother tongue” of Chinese Singaporeans. […] Before she died, Sandy thrilled her by asking in Hokkien, “What was your childhood like?” […] Mandarin is a standardised version of the language spoken by the people of the vast plains of northern China. […] The use of Chinese vernaculars at home has collapsed, from 76% of Chinese households in 1980 to 16% in 2015.
Click here to read the full article