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.
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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.
Babies and toddlers love doing and watching the same things repeatedly. An important reason for this is that they learn their first words primarily through repeated listening and the discovery of cues from context.
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. 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.
To watch the full set of videos on YouTube, please scan the QR code that is found at the back of our flashcard boxes.
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.