David Beckham is a legendary figure in the sports world, renowned not only as a top football player but also as a successful businessman and philanthropist. He has four children, and Harper Beckham, affectionately nicknamed xiǎo qī, meaning little seven, by her Chinese fans, is the youngest one.
In 2021, Beckham posted a video on social media that sparked much discussion among Chinese fans. In the video, Beckham can be seen teaching Harper to write with a brush, and she demonstrates impressive skill in writing Chinese numbers “one, two, three, four, five” on paper.
In the video, Beckham’s wife, Victoria, revealed that Harper had been learning Mandarin for several months, and Harper herself expressed her enjoyment of the language and her interest in learning it further. Victoria also praised Harper for her coolness in learning Chinese and even requested that she teach her once she had become proficient.
During the Chinese New Year holiday in 2023, David Beckham and Harper expressed their greetings to their Chinese fans in Chinese. In this video, Harper was speaking Chinese with very good pronunciation and fluency, indicating that she had continued learning Chinese since 2021 and had made big progress.
While it is possible that it was Harper’s own decision to start learning Chinese, Beckham himself has also been very supportive of her efforts in learning Chinese. For example, he frequently posts videos where Harper is learning or writing Chinese. You may wonder why David Beckham has encouraged his daughter to learn Chinese. Based on our research, these two are the top reasons.
Firstly, Beckham himself is very interested in Chinese culture. He regularly posts content related to Chinese culture on social media. For example, in one of his social media posts, he used chopsticks to eat longevity noodles on his birthday, while in another post, he tried to build the Great Wall using building blocks. He has also taught Harper about Chinese culture, such as teaching her to write “seven” in calligraphy on her birthday. It is clear that he is enthusiastic about Chinese culture and wishes for his children to share his appreciation for it.
Secondly, with the rapid development of the Chinese economy, China has become a huge market with vast opportunities. Beckham has many fans in China and frequently interacts with Chinese football fans. He also has accounts on Chinese social media platforms such as Weibo(the Chinese equivalent of Twitter) and Douyin(Chinese TikTok）, to maintain interaction with his fans. Obviously, Beckham has many commercial opportunities in the Chinese market. As a father with a strong business sense, he does not want his children to miss opportunities in the Chinese market when they grow up, which explains why he wanted Harper to learn Chinese.
Harper started learning Mandarin when she was 8 years old. You might have been impressed by how quickly Harper’s Chinese had advanced since she started learning the language, especially compared with the progress adult learners can make within the same period of time. Indeed, kids learn languages more quickly than their adult counterparts in general.
1）The earlier children begin to learn a language, the more likely they are to develop precise and standard pronunciation. Due to their developing oral muscles and pronunciation organs that have not yet formed fixed habits, young learners have a heightened ability to imitate and master the correct intonation and pronunciation of a language.
2）Early language learning can enhance a child’s ability to accept and internalize new language input. The young brain is known for its plasticity and adaptability, which makes it highly receptive to new language input. During early childhood, language acquisition occurs naturally, and children are able to more easily comprehend and process new language input, leading to the formation of correct language habits.
If, like David Beckham, you see the benefits of your children learning Chinese for their future, the best time to start teaching them Chinese is now, whether they are three, five, eight, or ten years old. The earlier children start learning the Chinese language, the more quickly they can master it.
As a teacher with 13 years of experience in teaching Mandarin to kids, I have seen many parents who are unsure about when and how to get their kid to start learning Chinese. If you have the same concern, sign up for a free one-on-one trial lesson, and I will provide specific advice and feedback to you after the lesson.
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