Dr. John Joyner and Angie Hui have launched an interactive book that would help Chinese parents bond with their child while learning English. The book would help parents learn English and in the process teach their child to speak Mandarin and English.
The book is first of a series. Joyner plans to come up with a Chamorro to English and vice-versa as his next project. Similar books in Carolinian, Japanese, Korean, and Spanish are also in the pipeline.
Joyner said the book is similar to a project he did while he was in the U.S. mainland and this is also timely since the CNMI is now multicultural. The book—a paperback or electronic copy on Kindle—is only available outside the CNMI. There are plans to sell the book on island.
“We want to have every family understand child growth and development. So these languages are the ones that are in my mind. I’m really fortunate to have this one, meeting Angie, and helping me put this together by doing the translation to Chinese,” said Joyner.
“We talked about the project and slowly worked together. In the time that we’re working on the book, we also attended [Walt Goodridge’s] writer’s workshop that was held here on Saipan.”
He said they talked to Goodridge after the workshop to ask him if he wants to be a part of the project. Goodridge at first declined, saying that he is only a coach and does not want to get directly involved.
“But as we talked and using my persuasive skills, he finally agreed to join us. So, I’m very pleased with all his help,” said Joyner, who added the collaboration for the project began in July and the first preview copy was printed last month.
The book is specially intended for mothers, who just gave birth to her child. But fathers could also join since both parents must be involved in their child’s development.
Joyner said that learning a new language is not hard. “It is not that hard. You must remember that each language has its own characteristics and idiosyncrasies. The Carolinian [language] has some tonal with its pronunciations. Chinese is also very tonal.”
“And since we are a multicultural community, you pick up the other languages, then slowly learn how to speak. This book would help parents realize and understand the wonders of development.”
Hui, who hails from Shanghai, said that learning to speak Mandarin or Cantonese takes a lot of practice but is not that difficult. “The characters are the same, whether it is Mandarin or Cantonese.”
“You need a lot of practice in everything before you learn, same goes for speaking Chinese. I only know how to speak a little bit of English and I learned more when I met Dr. Joyner, when I helped with the book, and doing other translations.”
The concept and presentation of the words in the book are done in a simple way in order for parents to be able to easily read it to their child.
The book would also be helpful to Chinese couples who have children and are planning to visit Saipan where they can learn how to converse with simple English words.