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    Dr Maggie Ziyin Mai Shared Her Study on Acquiring Chinese in Bilingual or Trilingual Contexts


    29 Mar, 2024

    11 : 47

    • On 26th March, Dr Maggie Ziyin Mai shared with us how to prepare a supportive linguistic environment for the multilingual development (Cantonese (local main dialect), Mandarin and English) for children growing up in Hong Kong, and likewise in many cities in mainland China.


      Through her studies on bilingual and trilingual children in the context of Hong Kong, with reference to other studies of multilingual children in foreign contexts, she found that interaction with a personal touch between caregivers and children (e.g. intentional speech and eye contact) is the crucial key for a successful acquisition of a language by young children. Mere exposure will not guarantee a good grasp of the language. 


      Dr Mai has also shared an interesting finding from her work that exposure does not seem to be about quantity as much as purportedly assumed. Quantity is important, but it only needs to be up to all that is required - as observed in previous research of a 50% threshold for bilinguals, and a 37% threshold for the trilinguals in Dr Mai's studies. 


      A consistent and well-distributed quality input during the period of age 0-3, on the other hand, is important to allow young children to develop a balanced and successful mastery of the languages. 


    • Dr Mai received a thank you certificate from YCCECE Head of Research Office Dr Elaine Lau