Wa Si Teochew Kia—My First 120 Teochew Expressions 《我是潮州囝——精选一百二十潮语词语》
We have launched a crowdfunding campaign on Kickstarter for this project. To support us, please click here to visit of Kickstarter page.
The Teochew language sits at the heart of Teochew culture and life. Since time immemorial, it has been passed from one generation to another in the family setting. However, a large number of overseas Teochew now live in non-Teochew-speaking environments and many young parents no longer speak the language well.
Besides, existing Teochew language learning resources for children are limited to nursery rhymes composed long ago, which few people today can relate to. As the result, getting our little ones to start speaking Teochew has become a great challenge for many families.
Wa Si Teochew Kia—My First 120 Teochew Expressions is a set of multimedia flashcards developed by The Teochew Store for children under the age of three to learn the Teochew language together with their parents. Experts have recognised early childhood as a golden window for language learning and our educational flashcards and videos are specially designed to tailor to the learning behaviours of babies and toddlers.
Scientists are finding out that biologically, the brain of young children are designed to absorb information and learn languages in the first few years of life. They are sensitive to new sounds and can acquire language unconsciously through passive hearing. One reason for this is that children form neural connections at a very rapid pace during the development of their brains. Another is that they are simply less conscious of making mistakes or mispronouncing a word. Something that adults need to learn!
With these gifts from nature, it is no wonder that babies and toddlers are recognised as the world’s best language learners. It follows that if we have a pool of Teochew expressions that parents can use to speak with their children in day-to-day activities, it is likely for the children to master a core Teochew vocabulary by toddlerhood. With this language foundation, it becomes a natural process for our young ones to pick up more Teochew words as they grow older.
Our flashcards provide this much need vocabulary.
Wa Si Teochew Kia—My First 120 Teochew Expressions consists of three boxes of 40 educational flashcards each and ten simple animated videos, each corresponding to a topic.
Our use of flashcards and videos as the media of teaching conforms to this by combining images and sound, and at the same time satisfying the requirement for repetition. Moreover, flashcards are known to promote cognitive and memory development in several ways, while repetition-based learning is acknowledged to help children build their confidence.
To meet the need for context, as well as to cater to the developmental stage of younger children, we created a dedicated vocabulary list of 120 Teochew expressions drawn from ten topics that either relate to the daily care routine of the young child or support his self-discovery, namely:
- Feeding time 喂奶;
- Changing time 换衣;
- Mealtime 吃饭;
- Bathtime 洗浴;
- Bedtime 睡觉;
- Playtime 玩耍;
- Body parts 身体部位;
- Basic actions 基本动作;
- Feelings and emotions 感觉与情绪;
- Family 家庭.
Because these expressions relate intimately to the child's everyday life and development, they can easily include in regular conversations between parents and the child, thus reinforcing what have been learned.
These are the special features of our flashcards and videos:
Brightly-coloured and lively pictures can draw the attention and learning interest of children.
Our Teochew expressions will be represented by drawings illustrated by two up-and-coming artists from China, 福宝 and Kola豆. Their artwork will include distinctive elements of Teochew culture, as seen in the examples below of grandfather holding a Teochew-style teacup and grandmother’s hair bun, as well as their traditional clothing:
There is a common misperception of Teochew as a spoken language without writing. The truth is that Chinese linguistic scholars have identified the Teochew language as a "living fossil" of Middle Chinese, which was the standard form of written Chinese used during the height of the Chinese civilisation between the Tang (618 to 907) and Song (960 to 1279) dynasties.
The reverse side of each of our 120 physical flashcards will display the written form of its Teochew expression using traditional Chinese characters. Various 19th-century and modern Teochew language dictionaries and handbooks were consulted to ensure the use of correct written characters.
The Teochew text will be accompanied by translations in English as well as Mandarin (in simplified Chinese characters). In this way, the flashcards can also be useful to the child when he learns to read and write in these languages.
Our videos will contain audio readings in both Teochew and English languages for every expression. This bilingual approach will enrich the learning experience and at the same time give a sense of familiarity to children growing up in English-speaking environments.
The way Teochew is spoken varies from place to place. Our Teochew readings will teach expressions commonly spoken both in China and Southeast Asia. They will be recorded by a native of Swatow now living in Singapore. Although there is no standard accent for speaking Teochew, the Swatow variant is readily understood both in China and overseas.
For child safety and health, we will use high-quality durable paper and vegetable oil-based ink.
Keeping in mind parental concerns about screen time, as well as the short attention span of children, the length of our videos will be kept to within three and a half minutes. The videos will also contain simple animation and fun children’s music to make them more entertaining.
With some creativity, flashcards can easily be adapted for games to instantly turn learning sessions into precious parent-child bonding time. Grandparents can also watch the videos together with children and thereby sow the seeds for tomorrow’s Teochew conversations at home.
Our crowdfunding campaign is on "all or nothing"(i.e. this project will only be funded if it reaches its goal by the campaign deadline). No matter how big or small your contribution, whether it is monetary or just passing the word on to another follow Teochew you know, it will go a long way in encouraging us and help Restoring Teochew to Our Families.
We have launched a crowdfunding campaign on Kickstarter to raise at least S$6,500 (approximately US$4,630) to fund the production of our flashcards and videos. This is an “all or nothing” campaign, which means that our flashcards will only be produced if we meet our fundraising target by the campaign deadline on 15 August 2022. Support us. Click on the Kickstarter logo below to go to our campaign page.
The Teochew Store (www.theteochewstore.org) is an independent website for Teochews around the world to discover and share our culture. We are passionate about keeping the use of the Teochew language alive, especially among the young.
Since our set up in 2014, we have taken the following initiatives to promote the learning of Teochew:
- Gathered and making available for free download a collection of rare 19th and 20th centuries Teochew/English-Teochew dictionaries and learning guides, such as Teo-swa 15 Sounds (潮汕十五音, 1938) by 鳴平 and AM Fielde's First Lessons in the Swatow Dialect (1878);
- Adapted for English speakers and converted into various digital formats two out-of-print Mandarin-Teochew self-learning audio-book titles, 潮州话一月通 (Conversational Teochew for a Month) and 潮州话口语 (Spoken Dioziu);
- Sell on our online store recent Teochew language learning publications and dictionaries, as well as Teochew nursery rhymes audio-books for children;
- Uploaded and created dedicated playlists on YouTube for videos for Teochew language learning as well as for children.
- 收集十九世纪至二十世纪的潮州字典、英潮双语词典和手册 - 例如鳴平所編的《潮汕十五音》(1938年)和 A.M. Fielde的《First Lessons in the Swatow Dialect》（1878年）,并在网站上免费分享；
- 在Youtube上传，并且创建学习潮语及适合儿童观赏的视频播放列表 。
For updates, follow us on:
Email 电邮: firstname.lastname@example.org
The artists partnering us in this project are 福宝 (Fubao)and Kola豆 (Kola Dou).
福宝 comes from Swatow. Becoming an artist has been her dream from young. After graduating, she now works as an illustrator and packaging graphic designer in the Pearl River Delta region. Her drawings of her hometown food and delicacies have stirred much attention on social media, especially among fellow Teochews. For 福宝, to be able to promote the Teochew culture through her art is a source of great satisfaction.
- Facebook：Chahuadou Kafei
- Xiaohongshu (小红书): 咖啡插画逗
- Email 电邮：email@example.com
Kola豆 is from Kaiping, Guangdong. She is an illustrator and graphic designer who takes her inspiration from adorable children. She loves portraying their sensitive nature and purity. Her hope for the future is to bring her creative artworks into the fields of parent-child relations and child education.
- Xiaohongshu (小红书): kola豆
Wait... isn't Teochew a "dying dialect"? 等等，潮州话不是正在没落吗？
No. The Teochew language is very much alive. It can still be widely heard in the Teochew region and major population centres in China and Southeast Asia, including Guangzhou, Shenzhen, Hong Kong, Bangkok, Ho Chi Minh City, Phnom Penh, Singapore, Johor Baru, Penang, Pontianak and the Riau Islands.
The use of the language has also proliferated in recent years on popular social media platforms, such as Facebook, Tik Tok, YouTube and Discord.
More importantly, Teochew remains the language at home for many families, particularly as the channel for grandparents and other elders to impart their valuable life knowledge and wisdom to the younger generations.
Will a child be confused if he learns more than one language at such a young age? 小小年纪就学几种语言，会令孩子混淆吗？
Well, no. A study conducted by PhD researchers from the University of Alberta and the University of Padova discovered that "bilingualism does not lead to confusion, nor does it have any inherent negative impact on development". On the contrary, it found that "bilingual children show some advantages in socio-cognitive development when compared to monolinguals, particularly in understanding the beliefs of others, picking out the important variables to solve a problem, and entertaining two possible interpretations of the same stimulus at once".
Another Michigan State University report further assures that"between the ages of 0-3, the brains of young children are uniquely suited to learn a second language as the brain is in its most flexible stage" and infants "can learn a second language as easy as they learned to walk and learn their primary language".
Why do some of your Teochew audio readings sound different from the Teochew we hear at home? 为什么视频中有些潮州话发音跟我们在家里说的不一样？
Teochew is spoken with a variety of accents that differ from district to district, even from village to village. The difference between the Swatow accent and those from Teoyor (潮陽), Pholeng (普寧) and Huilai (惠來) counties is particularly pronounced. Our view is that you should stick to what you speak at home because this is your family heritage.
Some Teochew expressions can be said in many ways. For example, “mother” is traditionally “ah ni” or "ah ne" (亞奶), "ah-bou" (亞母) or "ah-ai" (亞姨, also written as 亞嬡), but these are increasingly displaced by “ah-ma” (亞媽). To simplify our contents, we will in such instances teach the terms that are currently in common use.
有些词语，在潮语中有多个表达。例如“妈妈”，传统表达有“ah ni”/"ah ne" (亞奶), "ah-bou" (亞母)或"ah-ai" (亞姨/亞嬡)，但这些正慢慢地被“ah-ma” (亞媽)取代。为了简化内容，我们的教材将教目前经常被使用的表达。
Why do you need to crowdfund? 为什么你们需要众筹？
Despite our name, The Teochew Store is not run as a profit-seeking business. All these years, we receive only token commissions for the sale of books and other products on our website. The revenues and donations/tips we receive are ploughed back to meet the costs of maintaining our website and online store.
More importantly, we are not just trying to sell a product through this project. We see this as an opportunity of engaging the Teochew community worldwide to raise awareness of the possibilities and importance of teaching our mother tongue to the next generation at a very young age.
How will the money collected be used? 如何使用筹到的款项？
The money raised will be used to pay for the artwork, video production, printing and packaging, as well as the fulfilment of gifts.
10% of all money collected will go towards meeting the Kickstarter and payment processing fees for this fundraising campaign.
Delivery timeline 项目截止日期
Upon a successful wrap-up of our fundraising campaign on 15 August 2022, we will commence with the completion of the artwork, video production as well as printing of the physical flashcards.
Our goal is to finish all production in November 2022 and deliver the flashcards and gifts to you by mid-December, in time for Christmas.
Updates on the progress of our project and any changes will be provided on this webpage as well as on The Teochew Store website (www.theteochewstore.org)
What are the designs and sizes of your T-shirts, tote bags and cartoon portrait? 礼品T恤衫、手提袋和手绘肖像画的设计与尺寸是怎样的？
Our T-shirts will come in adult and child sizes. It will be in white and printed with the words "Wa Si Teochew Kia" and one of our series family characters of your choice.
我们的礼品T恤衫将有成人与小孩的尺码。白色T恤衫将印有英文“Wa Si Teochew Kia"和一个由您选择的“我是潮州囝”家庭人物图案。
Our tote bags will be printed with the Wa Si Teochew Kia family characters portrait and they come in two sizes, big (40X35X10cm) and small (22X25cm).
我们的礼品手提袋将印有“我是潮州囝”卡通全家福图画，有大号 (40X35X10cm) 也有小号(22X25cm)。
You can also have a personalised cartoon portrait of your child hand painted by our partner illustrators (canvas size:10X10cm). But act fast as this is a limited reward! (Picture above is solely for reference).
Will you come up with something similar for older children? 你们是否有适合三岁以上孩子的类似产品？
Yes, we do have something on the cards for children aged three and above. As a matter of fact, we have already drawn up a second list of 120 expressions. However, this is our first-ever product. It is a baby step for us that we want to get right, before taking the next leap. So do support us!