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Cross-Linguistics Between Vietnamese And English In Bilingual Participants

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Abstract

Currently, in the United States, there are approximately 2 million Vietnamese-Americans. There is a shift in the relative language dominance from the first language (L1) to the second language (L2) of immigrant populations that have come to the United States (Tang, M.G., 2007). Maintaining the Vietnamese language provides a critical means for transmitting cultural values across generations and within the ethnic community, which promotes emotional and social balance in self-perception and identity. The Vietnamese language differs from the English language in many aspects, including grammatical time, plurality, and tone. Many Vietnamese words also have multiple-to-one mappings into English, which can cause errors at the lexical-semantic (word) level (Pham, 2011). In this paper, we will be proposing an experiment on how to determine whether the multiple-to-one mappings and reduplications in the Vietnamese language affect the child’s ability in L2, in this case, English.

Background and Significance

The Vietnamese language is different from English in terms of grammatical time and plurality and distinction of words based on changes of tone. Time in the Vietnamese language is not marked with morphemes such as -ed or -ing, as seen in English, but rather uses optional words such as đã (past) , đang (present), and sẽ (future). Plurality in the Vietnamese language also is not marked with the morphemes -s or -es as in English. Instead, a number is marked within the sentence or context. For example, “con mèo” (cat) or “hai con meo” (two cats). The issue arises when Vietnamese speakers are learning English and these rules are applied across systems. An error would be if an individual said ‘This is so bore’ or ‘Yesterday I walk to school with my two friend.’ Plurality and verb tense may be omitted and marked within the phrase incorrectly.

Vietnamese-American students acquiring both languages may make errors at the lexical-semantic (word) level (Tang, M.G., 2007). The Vietnamese language is relatively high context compared to English and the meanings of phrases may change based on that context. For example, the word ‘đá’ in Vietnamese can be translated to rock, stone, ice, or kick. In a different perspective, an object in English can be translated into different labels in Vietnamese. For example, a backpack can be called a ‘ba lô’ or ‘cặp’ or a hat can be called a ‘mũ’ or ‘nón.’ The English verb of ‘to carry’ corresponds to the Vietnamese verbs ‘mang’ (to carry a general object), ‘vác’ (to carry on one’s back), ‘khiêng’ (to carry a heavy object), ‘bồng bế’ (to carry a child), ‘xách’ (to carry an object with a handle), and ‘bưng’ (to carry with both hands and in front of the body). An influence of English on Vietnamese would be the overuse of the general verbs or the incorrect use of specific context-based verbs. (Tang, M.G., 2007). Another influence may be the misuse or simplifications of classifiers. By identifying the error patterns, we would be able to determine the change in meaning as well as in grammar (hai con chó vs hai chó) (Nguyen & Ingram, 2006).

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A different lexical-semantic feature that occurs frequently in Vietnamese, but not in English, is reduplication. Vietnamese-American students may not be exposed to the concept of reduplication and may not be able to comprehend their meaning or use this feature in spoken language. (Phi , 2011). An additional lexical-semantic feature seen in the Vietnamese language, but will not be tested in this proposal, is the idea of kinship terms as pronouns. (Tang, 2007). The limited exposure and practice with kinship terms may affect how children use Vietnamese pronouns in social contexts with interlocutors of varying age and status and even have difficulty adjusting personal reference when referring to themselves. At a grammatical level, Vietnamese-American students may place adjectives before nouns, place the possessor in front of the possession, or the subject-verb inversion, all of which would be incorrect in the Vietnamese language.

Methods

Participant requirements would be Vietnamese-American students who are bilingual, ranging between the ages of 5-25. Participants would take a Likert-scale questionnaire regarding their perception of Vietnamese and English proficiency, language preference, and attitudes towards maintenance of the Vietnamese language and culture. Participants would then complete two different activities: a translation activity followed by a matching activity. The translation activity is where the participant would be given different pictures representing an action and the interviewer would play a recording of someone describing the action. The participant would then translate what the recording said. In the second activity, we are testing for the idea of multiple-to-one mapping. Each participant will be presented with an object and they will say the name in English followed by the object’s name in Vietnamese. The interviewer will then present different labels for the objects than what they have said and have the participant label each object.

Limitations

Limitations that I think may arise would be the people who are teaching the participants language. Different areas of Vietnam speak differently and would thus use a different word out of the variety of choices. For example, Northern Vietnam tends to speak more formally than Southern Vietnam. Vietnamese is such a complex language that different varieties of a word may still be correct in different contexts and children who are acquiring both languages at once may struggle to identify this. It is also difficult to measure fluency in the language simply by proper usage of the word since this is a complex language with an abundance of tones. This study does not test children or adults who have any form of language impairments, so a future study would need to incorporate these other factors.

References

  1. Phi, P. Y. L. (2011, December 31). REDUPLICATION IN ENGLISH AND VIETNAMESE. Retrieved November 14, 2019, from https://studylib.net/doc/7268317/reduplication-in-english-and-vietnamese.
  2. Tang, M.G. (2007). CROSS-LINGUISTIC ANALYSIS OF VIETNAMESE AND ENGLISH WITH IMPLICATIONS FOR VIETNAMESE LANGUAGE ACQUISITION AND MAINTENCE IN THE UNITED STATES. Retrieved November 16, 2019, from https://docs.lib.purdue.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=1085&context=jsaaea
  3. Girolametto, L., & Cleave, P. L. (2010). Assessment and intervention of bilingual children with language impairment. Retrieved November 10, 2019, from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/20723909.
  4. Nguyen, T., & Ingram, J. (2006). Reduplication and word stress in Vietnamese. Retrieved November 14, 2019, from https://www.researchgate.net/publication/43460410_Reduplication_and_word_stress_in_Vietnamese
  5. Pham, G. T. (2011). Dual Language Development among Vietnamese-English Bilingual Children: Modeling Trajectories and Cross-Linguistic Associations within a Dynamic Systems Framework. Retrieved November 18, 2019, from https://conservancy.umn.edu/bitstream/handle/11299/109842/1/Pham_umn_0130E_12025.pdf
  6. Pham, G., & Kohnert, K. (2008). Vietnamese-English Bilingual Children Assessment & Intervention. Retrieved from November 19, 2019, from file:///Users/ellen/Downloads/1459_Pham_Giang%20(2).pdf

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Cross-Linguistics Between Vietnamese And English In Bilingual Participants. (2022, February 24). Edubirdie. Retrieved August 12, 2022, from https://edubirdie.com/examples/cross-linguistics-between-vietnamese-and-english-in-bilingual-participants/
“Cross-Linguistics Between Vietnamese And English In Bilingual Participants.” Edubirdie, 24 Feb. 2022, edubirdie.com/examples/cross-linguistics-between-vietnamese-and-english-in-bilingual-participants/
Cross-Linguistics Between Vietnamese And English In Bilingual Participants. [online]. Available at: <https://edubirdie.com/examples/cross-linguistics-between-vietnamese-and-english-in-bilingual-participants/> [Accessed 12 Aug. 2022].
Cross-Linguistics Between Vietnamese And English In Bilingual Participants [Internet]. Edubirdie. 2022 Feb 24 [cited 2022 Aug 12]. Available from: https://edubirdie.com/examples/cross-linguistics-between-vietnamese-and-english-in-bilingual-participants/
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