Language comparison<br />Vietnamese and English<br />By<br />Damian Michaels<br />
Vietnamese: A Brief History of the Language<br />-Vietnamese is a Mon-Khmer language.<br />-The alphabet was born out of symbol based Chinese script. With the arrival of European Catholic missionaries, the Vietnamese alphabet was reformed to a Roman script to help spread Christianity to their new followers.<br />- Vietnamese has 3 main dialects: Southern, Northern, and Central Vietnamese.<br />
Vietnamese Characteristics<br />-The “syllable is the minimal meaningful unit. It cannot be divided into smaller parts.” (Ngo and Tran p.7)<br />-Tonal language, word meaning is differentiated by pitches or contour signals. Such sounds are marked by diacritics in the writing.<br />-Vietnamese phonetics: consists of 23initial consonant phonemes, eleven nuclear monophthong vowels, three nuclear dipthongs, and six final consonants.<br />- Inflectional language, words have no inflectional endings.<br />
Characteristics (cont.)<br />- 3 word types: simple, reduplicative, and compound.<br />Simple words are mostly monosyllabic<br />Reduplicative word such as “do do” translates to (red red)in English, but it is understood as “rather red”.<br />Compounds consist of 3 types: coordinate compounds, subordinate compounds, and isolated compounds. Coordinated compounds are formed by two morphemes neither of the two modifies the other. A subordinate compound is also formed of two morphemes, in this case, one does modify the other. Isolated compounds do not form systems.<br />
English/Vietnamese Comparison<br />Vietnamese<br />English<br />Syllabic language, follows similar pattern and duration to the next word.<br />Tonal language, pitches constantly change and influence meaning of words.<br />Stress-based language, the stressed syllables occur at intervals.<br />Pitch only used in forming questions.<br />
Comparison Cont.<br />Vietnamese<br />English<br />Un-aspirated /t/ is written as “t” and aspirated /th/ is written as “th”.<br />“ng” sound can fall any where in a word.<br />Tenses are formed by a tense marker.<br />Un-aspirated /t/ and aspirated /th/ are both written as “t”.<br />“ng” cannot fall at the beginning of a word.<br />Tenses are decided by verb formation.<br />
More Comparison<br />Vietnamese<br />English<br />Plurals are determined by sentence context.<br />Word follows the modified noun.<br />Interrogatives such as “who, what, where, etc.” can fall at the beginning or the end of a sentence.<br />Plurals are formed using an ending in most cases.<br />Modifier proceeds the noun.<br />Interrogatives must fall at the beginning of the sentence.<br />
Possible ELL Errors<br />Pronunciation errors due to tonal issues and different letters making different sounds in each language,<br />Spelling issues may occur because Vietnamese has many very short words and English words tend to be much longer than theirs.<br />Verb conjugation issues may occur due to the fact that Vietnamese doesn’t always require a conjugation, but English does. <br />
Errors Cont.<br />With the lack of inflectional words in Vietnamese, an ELL will struggle with these rules in a very inflectional rich language as English.<br />Word order issues will occur. In Vietnamese , “new ball” would be translated as “ball new”. This is potential for confusion.<br />Interrogatives aren’t as strict in Vietnamese as it is in English so one may find an ELL placing interrogatives at the end of sentences.<br />
Conclusion<br />With my research and interviews with my ELL, I find it beneficial to encourage teachers to learn as much about an ELL’s L1. I would also encourage students to read newspapers, watch television in L2, listen to music in L2, and utilize L1 to learn L2.<br />
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