An exciting new Teochew language project, “Numbers - English and Chinese Bilingual Book (3 Dialects)”, has just launched on Kickstarter!
Jennifer Te is a Cambodian-Teochew living in Las Vegas, Nevada. As a mother, she wishes to pass on her family language and heritage to her 10-year-old daughter and 3-year-old son. Like many of us, Jennifer faces a challenge in finding suitable learning materials for her children, but she wants to change things.
Jennifer has designed an illustrated book teaching numbers in English and Chinese with Teochew peng’im. She plans to self-publish it and hopes to raise US$3,000 to realise her dream. Two other versions of the book with Cantonese and Mandarin phonetics are also in the works.
The Teochew Store spoke with Jennifer to find out about her story and this wonderful project:
The Teochew Store (TTS): Can you share with us about your Teochew heritage?
Jennifer Te (JT): My family was from Cambodia and their ancestors are Teochew. I was raised in Teochew culture and language in Las Vegas, Nevada.
TTS: What does the Teochew language mean to you? Living in an English-speaking country, why do you want your children to learn Teochew?
JT: Even though I was born in an English-speaking country, Teochew is my native language. I communicated with my parents daily and eventually learned English. Being able to communicate with my family and community in Teochew means so much.
In an English-speaking country, instilling the knowledge of Teochew in my children holds profound importance. Teochew, a language rich in cultural heritage, serves as a bridge to our familial roots and heritage. By nurturing fluency in Teochew, my children gain a deeper connection to our ancestral traditions, fostering a sense of identity and belonging. This bilingual proficiency not only honors our family's legacy but also cultivates a broader perspective, promoting cultural diversity in an English-centric environment.
Ultimately, learning Teochew becomes a cherished legacy, empowering my children to navigate a globalized world with a strong foundation in their linguistic and cultural heritage.
TTS: How have you been teaching your children to Teochew? When was the moment you felt you needed to design a bilingual book for them and other children?
JT: I was mainly teaching them by talking to them, I started to realize that they wanted to read but I didn’t have anything for them. They also like to watch videos and read along. After some time of searching, I saw the lack of learning material for Teochew. I decided to create something that can teach my children.
TTS: Is this a family project? How have your children been involved in the books and your Kickstarter project?
JT: Yes, it is! My children helped me design the art and encouraged me. I could see the love they had for the sample books I had. They are very excited about the project.
TTS: Besides Numbers 号码, do you have plans for more books? What topics will they cover?
JT: Numbers 号码 is just the beginning. The plan is to grow the book into a series including possible future books with topics for fruits, animals, 100 first words, common phrases, holidays, etc.
TTS: How important do you think this project is to the Teochew community in the US, and other countries?
JT: The Teochew community has been close-knit. One thing I love the most about the Teochew community is their love and kindness towards one another. They are so accepting and willing to share, give and love. This is something I want to pass on to the future generations. I want our community to continue growing. This is the purpose of this project.
TTS: How can we support your project?
JT: The project is currently available on Kickstarter. I am trying to get funding for publishing these books. Eventually, they will be on my Shopify page for purchase. Currently, the Kickstarter page has exclusive offers that are a one-time deal. Feel free to check it out before everything is cleared out.
Jennifer is seeking to raise USD3,000 to self-publish her book Numbers 号码. She has an "all or nothing" fundraising project on Kickstarter and must meet her target before the end of 31 December 2023 for it to be funded. Do support Jennifer on her Kickstarter page: https://bit.ly/Kickstarter-3bilingualbooks
Here some Teochew-learning videos for young children Jennifer has marvellously created on YouTube:
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