Influences Of Some Vietnamese Cultural Factors On Freshmen’S English Nguyen Thi Phuong Thao 051 E2Document Transcript
VIETNAM NATIONAL UNIVERSITY, HANOI
UNIVERSITY OF LANGUAGES AND INTERNATIONAL STUDIES
NguyÔn thÞ ph¬ng th¶o
INFLUENCES OF SOME VIETNAMESE CULTURAL
FACTORS ON FRESHMEN’S ENGLISH
Submitted in partial fulfillement of the requirements for the
degree of bachelor of arts (TEFL)
supervisor: NguyÔn thÞ thanh h¬ng, ma
I hereby state that I: Nguyen Thi Phuong Thao in group 051E2, being a
candidate for the degree of Bachelor of Arts (TEFL) accept the requirements
of the College relating to the retention and use of Bachelors Graduation Paper
deposited in the library.
In terms of these conditions, I agree that the origin of my paper deposited in
the library should be accessible for the purposes of study and research, in
accordance with the normal conditions established by the librarian for the
care, loan or reproduction of the paper.
May 4th 2009
To complete this graduation paper, I am deeply indebted to many
people for their valuable advice and suggestion.
In the first place, I would like to send my heartfelt gratitude to my
supervisor, Ms. Nguyen Thi Thanh Huong, for her enthusiastic support,
helpful advice, and considerable encouragements in the completion of the
Moreover, I would love to express my special thanks to the teachers of
English Division 1, especially the teachers of writing for their substantial
assistance during the time of data collection. Besides, my words of thanks are
also sent to the first – year students in group 081E3, 081E4, 081E5, 081E10
and 081E18 for their enthusiastic cooperation, without their support, I would
not have been able to complete this paper.
I also owe a great debt of gratitude to my family and my friends,
especially my classmates in group 051E2 and my roommate, who always
encouraged me for such a long and hard time.
Last but not least, I am very grateful for any comments from my
readers who are interested in this thesis.
It is written discourse that has attracted much attention in recent research of
second language acquisition. To be specific, one of the most concerned issues
is the influence of the native culture on acquiring rhetorical patterns of the
target language. Consequently, the study worked on the influences of some
Vietnamese cultural factors on freshmen’s English written communication. It
was carried out with primary objectives to find out factors in Vietnamese
culture which affect on students’ writing in English, investigate the ratios of
influences of those factors and suggest some pedagogical implications.
Thanks to the support by the first – year students at English Department,
Hanoi University of Languages and International Studies, Vietnam National
University, ninety reflections were chosen as the research instrument to
pursue the aims of the study. A variety of topics in this type of writing has
brought an objective assessment for the research. The thorough data analysis
has indicated three significant findings. There are four influential categories
in Vietnamese culture named Subjectivity vs. Objectivity, Directness vs.
Indirectness, Accuracy vs. Inaccuracy and Redundancy. Among four above
factors, Redundancy has been worked out as the most influential one in the
study; whereas Directness – Indirectness had the least impact. The results also
revealed that reflection can be a good choice of this topic; however, it will be
better if types of writing are expanded to others such as summary or narration.
Based on the main findings, the study also suggests some practical
implications for teaching and learning English written discourse in order to
improve the situation. Results and implications of the study are expected to
partially contribute to the current research on second language writing in
Vietnam and attract more attention to this branch of English acquisition.
TABLE OF CONTENTS
List of figures and tables...............................................................................vi
List of abbreviations......................................................................................vii
CHAPTER 1: INTRODUCTION..............................................................1
1.1. Statement of the problem and the rationale of the study........................1
1.2. Aims and objectives of the study...........................................................2
1.2.1. Aims of the study............................................................................2
1.2.2. Objectives of the study....................................................................3
1.3. Significance of the study........................................................................3
1.4. Scope of the study..................................................................................4
CHAPTER 2: LITERATURE REVIEW..................................................6
2.1. Key concepts..........................................................................................6
2.1.1. Cross – cultural communication.......................................................6
126.96.36.199. Cross – cultural communication................................................10
2.1.2. Language and Culture......................................................................11
188.8.131.52. Language and Culture in general..............................................11
184.108.40.206. Language and Culture in L2 acquisitions..................................12
220.127.116.11. Culture and Second language writing.......................................13
2.2. Overview of some Anglo-American vs. Vietnamese cross – cultural...14
categories in terms of potential influences on English written communication
2.2.1. Objectivity – Subjectivity................................................................16
18.104.22.168. The use of prepositions..............................................................16
22.214.171.124. The use of passive voice............................................................19
2.2.2. Directness – Indirectness..................................................................20
2.2.3. Accuracy – Inaccuracy.....................................................................23
126.96.36.199. The use of tenses........................................................................23
188.8.131.52. The use of genitive indicators....................................................24
2.2.4. The redundancy................................................................................26
CHAPTER 3: METHODOLOGY.............................................................28
3.1. Selection of subjects...............................................................................28
3.2. Research instruments.............................................................................29
3.3. Procedures of data collection.................................................................30
3.4. Procedure of data analysis......................................................................32
CHAPTER 4: RESULTS AND DISCUSSION.........................................32
4.1.1. Research question 1..........................................................................32
4.1.2. Research question 2..........................................................................46
4.2. Pedagogical implications.......................................................................48
4.2.1. Second culture acquisition in L2 teaching and learning...................49
184.108.40.206. Second culture acquisition in L2 teaching and learning.............49
220.127.116.11. Second culture acquisition in second language writing..............51
4.2.2. Teachers as a means of second culture learning...............................52
4.2.3. The teaching of English language writing in classrooms..................54
18.104.22.168. Reminding students of the differences between L1 and L2 .......55
22.214.171.124. Using reading in the writing class...............................................56
126.96.36.199. Integrating all language skills.....................................................56
CHAPTER 5: CONCLUSION...................................................................58
5.1. Summary of findings..............................................................................58
5.2. Limitations of the study.........................................................................59
5.3. Suggestions for further study.................................................................59
LIST OF FIGURES AND TABLES
Figure 1: The relationship between three elements of culture
Figure 2: The analysis of Vietnamese thought of the “ego” position
Figure 3: The analysis of the “ego” position in Anglo-American culture
Figure 4: Cultural thought patterns by J. Kaplan.
Figure 5: The ratio of redundancy types in the view of Vietnamese culture
Figure 6: The interference of Vietnamese culture on English written language
in terms of genitive indicators
Figure 7: Four main Vietnamese cultural categories influence on freshmen’s
English written communication
Table 1: Types of communication
Table 2: Overview of the influence of subtype categories on freshmen’s
English written communication
LIST OF ABBREVIATIONS
1. HULIS: Hanoi University of Languages and International Studies.
2. L1: The mother tongue/ first language
3. L2: The second language
CHAPTER 1: INTRODUCTION
1.1. Statement of the problem and the rationale of the
To any nation all over the world, culture and language always have a
close relationship. Language is a product of the culture and is considered “the
window to culture”. Language and culture are clearly fused; one reflects the
other. In the process of approaching the foreign or second language, learners
need to gradually absorb knowledge of its culture as well. Moreover, cultural
factors have their influences on not only the mother tongue but also foreign
languages of people belonging to that culture. The interference of the native
culture has been seen in a variety of foreign or second language acquisition in
the history of studies on cross – cultural communication. Those studies have
shown the native culture extends its influences on both spoken and written
second language. It must be reminded that the situation in written discourse is
quite different from the one in speaking. It is impossible to train the entire
English – using population of the world to the way of thinking and writing in
Americans, British, or any other variety of English as suggested by Kachru
(1999), Halliday (1978), etc. However, it does not mean that learners can
write in any way they like without paying attention to standards in English
writing. Learners of English should take the situation into consideration and
try to keep negative influences in control.
The above analysis of the current relationship between the native
culture and the second language written communication has inspired the
researcher to spend time making an observation on students’ English written
discourse at English department, HULIS. It can be said that Vietnamese
culture still has certain influences on English writing despite their language
proficiency in English. Being good at English vocabulary, structures or
reading skills may not assure that students can compatibly have good writing
competence. The interference of the native culture on English written
discourse, to some extents, may limit student’s ability to acquire the second
language comprehensively. Moreover, the researcher’s observation also
points out that students get many difficulties in recognizing errors caused by
Vietnamese culture on their own. As a result, this study was carried out under
the expectation of finding influential factors in Vietnamese culture, which
have some negative impact on first – year students’ English written
1.2. Aims and objectives of the study
1.2.1. Aims of the study
It can be affirmed that the study was carried out with three main aims.
Firstly, the analysis of freshmen’s English written discourse is
implemented under the expectation of finding Vietnamese cultural factors
which have influences on their writings. There may be some potential factors
presented in the theoretical background, and this predication will be looked
into in the process of data analysis.
Secondly, the results in the first step can be used to investigate the
ratio of influence among those influential cultural factors. This finding is very
important because it can help both teachers and students identify what factors
should be paid much attention to.
The last aim can be considered a result from the two aims above,
which means some pedagogical implications will be suggested for the
improvements of the situation.
1.2.2. Objectives of the study
In fulfilling three main aims, the study needs to set up clear objectives.
Two following research questions are expected to make the objectives clear.
Research question 1: What are Vietnamese cultural factors which
have influences on English written communication as perceived through some
types of freshmen’s writing assignments?
Research questions 2: What are the ratios of influence of those
Vietnamese cultural factors?
1.3. Significance of the study
The significance of the study is assessed by its practicality. With all the
aims and objectives mentioned in the previous part, the study is carried out
with the expectation to partially help both freshmen and teachers at English
Division 1 in different aspects.
As for first – year students, identifying what influential factors in
Vietnamese culture is a good way to better their English writing in terms of
gaining thought patterns and expected expressions like the native writers. It
should be noted that not all Vietnamese cultural factors can be considered to
cause the interference on English writing. Avoiding making errors relating to
cultural thought patterns is even more difficult. However, by the suggested
implications, the study is expected to reveal some practical ways for students
to practice their English writing and improve it.
As for teachers, this is a good chance for them to reconsider the role of
Vietnamese cultural factors in English composition. What they have and have
not done can be exposed. The researcher does hope that they can make use of
some implications in order to improve students’ writing competence in
The study is also expected to generate a serious issue in cross – cultural
communication. There have been some researches on the interference of
Vietnamese cultural factors on the target spoken language. However, there is
not any systematic study on the same issue but with the written language.
Subsequent researches can develop the idea raised in the research.
1.4. Scope of the study
The study focuses on investigating the influences of some Vietnamese
cultural factors on students’ English written communication. There will be
four potential cultural dimensions on investigation such as subjectivity –
objectivity, directness – indirectness, accuracy – inaccuracy and the
The scope of investigation in terms of research instrument is restricted
to first – year students’ written reflections. This is the first writing of such
students at university, and it requires them to both summarize the story and
express their opinions on an issue. It can be a good chance to investigate the
influence of the native culture on the target written language, the role of high
school in preparing students necessary skills relating to English writing.
Apart from Introduction as the first chapter, the study consists of four
other main chapters.
Chapter 2 is the Literature Review in which the present state of
knowledge regarding the topic, the existing studies on issues of the topic, the
expected contribution of the proposed research will be revealed. To be more
specific, terms and the relationship between culture and language, native
culture in the second language writing as well as the overview of some
Vietnamese cultural dimensions are going to be presented.
Chapter 3 named Methodology describes the participants, research
instrument, the procedure of data collection and data analysis.
Chapter 4, known as Results and Discussion, reports the findings by
answering two research questions. Moreover, it suggests some pedagogical
implications for both teachers and students in terms of English writing
Chapter 5 – Conclusion, which is the last chapter, summarizes the
major findings of the study, the limitations and suggestions for further
CHAPTER 2: LITERATURE REVIEW
This chapter presents the background knowledge of related issues with
a critical review. The understandings of culture, cross – cultural
communication in general as well as the relationship between culture and
language, the influence of native culture on L2 writing will be taken into
consideration as key concepts. After that, potential influences of Vietnamese
cultural factors on English written communication will be investigated on the
basis of Nguyen Quang’s research. It is impossible to find all the relevant
materials, but all documents mentioned as follows can be guaranteed in terms
of their reasonability and validity.
2.1. Key concepts
2.1.1. Cross – cultural communication
It is a long time since the first day humans began to do researches on
culture; and the prerequisite – the definition of culture can not be found in the
consensus. Culture is all equal but different among people’s understanding.
According to Robinson (1985), the concept of “culture” comprises
Cultural products: literature, art, music, folklore, artifacts
Behaviors: customs, habits, clothes, foods, leisure
Ideas: belief, values, institutions
(cited from Tomalin. B and Stempleski. S, 1993: 7)
The relationship between these three elements has been shown as
Figure 1: The relationship between three elements of culture
(cited from Tomalin. B and Stempleski. S, 1993: 7)
As can be seen from the diagram, culture is understood as a multi –
aspect category in which both the tangible and intangible values exist.
Cultural products such as literature, art, behaviors, clothes, or foods may be
easily identified among different cultures. They can be called the visible
culture as termed by Hinkel (2001). On the contrary, Hinkel also states that
the term invisible culture applies to sociocultural beliefs and values that are
hidden in the non – material part of culture. This point of view is shared by
many theorists namely Spradley (1980), Lado (1997), under different names
Until 1996, when the National Standards in Foreign Language
Education Project was published in the United States, three elements
mentioned above were already seen in generalized terminologies as products,
practices, and perspectives. Despite the differences in names, aspects of
culture in all these viewpoints have an interrelated relationship and people can
just define the relative boundary among them.
One of recent reports written by Moran, however, has added other two
dimensions to the above definition. In Teaching Culture Perspectives in
practice (2001), Moran asserts that:
Culture is the evolving way of life of a group of persons, consisting of a
shared set of practices associated with a shared set of products, based
upon a shared set of perspectives on the world, and set within specific
From Moran’s definition, it can be pointed out that two new
dimensions of culture are community and persons. The reason why these new
ones were added is Moran’s recognition of the active role of people in their
culture. It is reasonable and understandable to make the relationship between
people and their culture clearer. It should be agreed that a specific culture can
only exist and develop in a specific group of persons and its social context.
In conclusion, the term “culture” has diverse and disparate definitions
that deal with both many aspects in the society. The image of an iceberg can
reflect the nature of culture in all theorists’ acknowledgement. The hidden
part of the culture iceberg which consists of values, beliefs, attitudes, and
perceptions can create cross – cultural difficulties as claimed by Nguyen
Quang (1998a). That is also the culture as an object of this thesis.
There is no doubt that communication plays a very important role in
the human life. It is not only the intra-cultural communication but also the
intercultural one that has been taken into recent researches. Before going into
more details, it is essential to understand what communication is. As reported
by Richard (1996) “Communication is the exchanges of ideas, information
between two or more people. In an act of communication, there is usually at
least one speaker or sender, a message which is transmitted and person or
persons whom this message is intended.” It can be seen clearly from the
definition, there are three components contributing to the process of
communication namely sender, message and receiver. Whether it is spoken
communication or written one, this process has no change of procedure.
As a matter of fact, the question of types of communication, especially
the position of written communication should be raised in this case. This
classification has been carried out by many theorists throughout the research
history, however, with the aim of the thesis’s topic, the following
categorization should be considered:
Channel Vocal communication Non-vocal
Verbal Spoken words Written words
Non – verbal Tones of voices, Gestures,
communication signs, vocal quality movement, appearance,
facial expression, and so
Table 1: Types of communication
(Stewart. J & D’Angelo. G, 1980)
The table shows two kinds of communication called verbal and non –
verbal communication. And the channel of this classification is known as the
contribution of vocal organism. It can be seen from the table that written
words belong to verbal communication, and non – vocal one. The specific
object of this study is English written communication; as a result, the position
of this kind of communication should be analyzed in comparison with the big
group. The same idea has been shared by Nguyen Quang (1998a) when he
displayed a detailed diagram of types of communication. However, the point
of Nguyen’s paper is that written communication is a branch of Intralanguage
as Verbal communication in comparison with Paralanguage and
Extralanguage as Non – verbal communication.
In general, it should be understood that written communication, or
written word, is one of many “processes of sharing meaning through verbal
and non – verbal behavior.” (Nguyen Quang, 1998a)
188.8.131.52. Cross – cultural communication
In the previous part, the nature of communication has been analyzed in
terms of its linguistic elements. And communication, as a process, can not be
separated from human’s life. It is time for people to gain sufficient knowledge
of communication between people from different cultures which is “cross –
cultural communication” as defined by Nguyen (1998a). It can not be denied
that culture plays a very important role in this process. To become a good
communicator in cross – cultural contexts, one must acquire the knowledge of
other cultures as a helpful way for himself to carry out a successful
communication. In L2 acquisition, the process of learning the language
should go hand-in-hand with the process of acquiring the target culture in
comparison with the native one.
2.1.2. Language and Culture
184.108.40.206. Language and Culture in general
In terms of investigating features of cross – cultural communication as
well as acquiring the L2, it is very important to analyze the relationship
between language and culture at first.
Language is “a system of sounds, words, patterns, etc used by humans
to communicate thoughts and feelings” (Oxford Advanced Learner’s
encyclopedic dictionary: 506). According to Moran (2001), it is culture that
produces language. Through the process of interacting, sharing beliefs, values
and perceptions among members in the community, language was created and
has become one important part of the culture. As a matter of fact, each nation
has its own language. English can be a very outstanding example in terms of
its different use in different cultures. Despite having the same origin, British
English, American English, or Australian English still have their own
characteristics. While discussing five dimensions of culture, Moran also
suggests that the cultural products and practices reflect the language. Both
objects such as clothing, tools, written documents and tangible ones namely
spoken and written language, music, make out the distinction of one language
in relation with others.
In terms of the role of language to culture, many linguists,
anthropologists as well as language teachers shared the same opinions. Hinkel
(1999), Brown (2000), Moran (2001), considered language an essential part of
culture. “Language is the means of communication among members of a
culture” as perceived through Brown’s paper. Without language, human can
not find a useful way to communicate. Moreover, Moran adds the role of
language as a tool to “carry out products, name the underlying cultural
perspectives in all the various communities that comprise their culture.” As a
result, language becomes a “window to culture” and reflects all features of
that culture. It is not only the feature of communication, but beliefs, values
and perceptions of one culture are also reflected by language.
As can be seen from the above analysis, language and culture are parts
of each other. It is no use doing research on culture without considering its
language. Culture and language are so interwoven that we can not understand
or appreciate the one without the knowledge of the other. That is also the
reason why Esperanto – an artificial language which was born with the aims
of creating a universal language for all nations can not exist among
220.127.116.11 Culture and Language in second language acquisitions
The notion that “culture learning is a magic carpet ride to another
culture, achieved as an automatic byproduct of language instruction” has been
proved a misunderstanding of the nature of L2 acquisitions. The time when
many students in foreign language classroom learn the new language with
little or no understanding of the target culture belonged to the past in most
education. By carefully studying the relationship among the target culture, the
native one as well as the L2, researchers such as Sapir, Whorf, Kaplan, and
Brown, have drawn many important conclusions. Among all these conclusion,
the most prominent one is that “the acquisition of L2 is also the acquisition of
a second culture” as identified by Brown (2000). In another paper, Robinson
– Stuart and Nocon (1996) emphasize the importance of second culture
acquisition in language learning by claiming that:
Language learners undergo culture learning as a process, that is,
as a way of perceiving, interpreting, feeling, being in the world… and
relating to where one is and who one meets. Culture learning is a
process of creating shared between cultural representatives.
The argument this thesis puts forward is similar to all these opinions
mentioned above. L2 learning must go hand in hand with second culture
acquisitions. It is vital for foreign/ L2 teachers to bear in mind their role in
providing the target culture while helping students acquire the L2. That
viewpoint shares the shame ideas with Polizer (1959): “As language teachers
we must be interested in the study of culture not because we necessarily want
to teach the culture of the other country but because we have to teach it.”
(cited from Brooks. N, (1964))
18.104.22.168. Culture and second language writing
As suggested in the previous part, L2 acquisition is also second culture
ones. It can not be denied that along with the process of studying the L2,
learners should take into account the interference of the native culture and
acquire the second culture. To be specific, the researcher regards the
influences of the native culture on L2 writing as the mainstream of this study.
Like in the spoken language, “L1 socialization regarding discourse
paradigms usually has so much influence on learning to write in the L2.”
(Hinkel, 2001) It means that sociocultural beliefs and values of the L1 can
create a barrier for learners during the process of learning how to write in L2.
Despite the teacher’s clear instructions and many examples, students do not
often know the appropriate way of L2 composition due to the cross – cultural
contradictions. The tendency to be direct in Anglo - American culture which
seems contrary to the indirectness in some Oriental cultures such as Japan,
China or Vietnam is a very prominent example. From the research of Scollon
and Scollon (1995) and Hinkel (2001), the topic sentence of a paragraph in
English often appears at the beginning of the paragraph, whereas in Oriental
rhetorical tradition, the main point of the piece of writing does not come until
the end because the conclusion needs leading gently.
All the analysis has pointed out one problem that teacher of L2 writing
should take into consideration. It takes a lot of time and effort for learners to
ease the interference of the native culture on L2 writing. The understanding of
cross – cultural contradiction will be one of good solutions.
2.2. Overview of some Anglo-American – Vietnamese
cross – cultural categories in terms of potential
influences on English written communication
There are many reasons which can cause difficulties to learners in L2
acquisitions namely their ability, age, attitudes. It will be insufficient if cross
– cultural categories are not mentioned. Without understanding cultural
categories namely Subjectivity – Objectivity, Directness – Indirectness,
Accuracy – Inaccuracy, and learners may be inefficient in communication
despite their awareness of differences in cultural values.
Nguyen Quang’s work in Foreign Language Journal (1998b) allows
him to draw the conclusion that there are fourteen major Anglo-American –
Vietnamese cross – cultural categories as follows:
1. Subjectivity – Objectivity
2. Directness – Indirectness
3. Accuracy – Inaccuracy
4. Positive and Negative politeness
5. Self – abasement and self – assertion
6. Abstractness – Rationality
7. Sentimentality – Equality
8. Hierarchy – Equality
9. Introversion – Extroversion
10. Deduction – Induction
11. Group orientation – Individual orientation
12. High context – Low context
13.Redundancy – Economically
14. Staticality – Dynamicality
Those categories exist in every language. However, one culture may
have the preference to one side of certain category to another. For instance, in
accuracy – inaccuracy category, the difference in using passive voice among
cultures is very noteworthy. Anglo-American people (as British, American,
and Australian) consider passive voice a symbol of formality and they tend to
use it in formal speech and in written documents. There is no dissimilarity in
speaker or writer’s attitude to the issue in active and passive voice. On the
other hand, passive voice with the clear distinction in meaning of “bị” and
“được” becomes a barrier to Vietnamese
learners during the process of English language acquisition. “Bị”
refers to negative meaning whereas “được” implies the opposite.
It is impossible to list all cross – cultural categories here. What is more,
the investigation into influences of Vietnamese cultural factors on English
written communication is the mainstream of this study. As a result, the
research will go into details with some cultural categories which may have
potential influences on English writing.
2.2.1. Objectivity – Subjectivity
Each nation possesses typical viewpoints of the ego, nature and society.
In general, there are two ways of recognizing the relationship between the ego
and the other consisting of both humans and things among different cultures.
The first one named subjectivity in which the ego considers himself or herself
a subject in connection with the objects. The second way when the ego and
his or her surroundings have an equal role as objects is called objectivity. The
understanding of the nature of these two perceptions will be much clearer in
the following definitions:
“Subjectivity can be understood as the communicative way in
which people consider the speakers or the writer’s positions, feelings,
Objectivity can be understood as the communicative way in
which people consider the ego an object, as a result, the speaker or the
writer’s positions, feelings and attitudes are hardly seen, unless some
intra – linguistic, para – linguistic and extra – linguistic factors are
(Nguyen Quang – cited from Nguyen Quynh Sam, 2000: 11)
The substance of Nguyen Quang’s research is that subjectivity seems to
dominate Vietnamese culture whereas the Anglo-American are likely to
prefer the objectivity.
22.214.171.124. The use of prepositions
In conversation or composition, the Anglo-American do not regard the
position of ego as important the position of “ego” in talking about the
direction of their movement. Learners of English should bear in mind that it is
not the position, but the direction that people in Anglo-American culture pay
attention to. For instance, when someone says “This is the first time I come to
Hanoi.” From the utterance, it is very difficult for the hearer to make out
where the speaker is from. The aim of this utterance is to inform his or her
position namely Hanoi.
On the contrary, the listener or reader can easily identify the position of
the speaker or writer by the following utterances in Vietnamese: “Đây là lần
đầu tiên tôi đến (arrive)/ ra (go to)/ xuống (go down)/ lên (go up) Hà Nội.” A
variety of positions is made use of so that it can be inferred from the sentence
above the social space of the speaker or writer. It depends on the preposition
to decide whether he or she is the foreigner or a Vietnamese from different
It is the first cross – cultural category that has caused many difficulties
for Vietnamese learners in mastering English as a L2. The interference of
subjective culture leads to mistakes in both speaking and writing. The study
on the influences of Vietnamese cultural factors on English learning among
first – year students at English Department, CFL, VNU, which was carried
out by Do & Van (1998) took this matter into consideration. The survey
pointed out student’s mistake due to this kind of thought:
“I swim under the water”
(cited from a first – year student’s writing)
Because of the subjectivity in Vietnamese culture, this student made
use of the preposition “under” instead of “in” in Standard English. We can put
the analysis of Vietnamese into the following diagram:
The surface of water
Figure 2: The analysis of the “ego” position in Vietnamese culture
The Vietnamese take the existence of “ego” into consideration. In the
case above, the writer wants to make out his position in the relation with the
surface of the water. It must be “under the water”, not “in the water”.
However, it will be another case when we take Anglo-American culture into
the same situation:
In The surface of water
Figure 3: The analysis of the “ego” position in Anglo-American culture
In every case, the ego always stands out of the surroundings with an
objective view. Even though the ego is the subject in the situation, they still
keep their objectivity when uttering the sentence.
126.96.36.199. The use of passive voice
The use of passive voice is also an interesting indication of objectivity
and subjectivity. It is obvious that the objectivity is expressed much clearly
and strongly under the form of passive voice. For example:
- Chiếc bánh chưng lớn nhất Việt Nam được nhân dân làng Phù Đổng
làm vào mùa xuân năm nay.
(The biggest Chung cake in Vietnam is made by Phu Dong villagers in
- Chiếc bánh chưng lớn nhất Việt Nam được làm vào mùa xuân năm
(The biggest Chung cake in Vietnam is made in this spring).
From Nguyen Quang’s paper, passive voice is often used in case of
formal speech or written communication in English. The Anglo-American has
the tendency of speaking or writing in passive voice more than the
Vietnamese do. In academic writing, it is sometimes necessary to compose
1. It is believed that ….
2. I am strongly convinced that ….
3. He is considered to be ….
In these cases, the objectivity can always be seen. However, if we
translate those statements into Vietnamese, the active voice sounds more
1. Người ta tin rằng …
People believe that...
2. Tôi thực sự tin rằng ….
I strongly believe that...
3. Người ta cho rằng anh ta ….
People think that he ...
In Vietnamese, the ego always plays a very important role, as the
result, he or she should be the subject of the utterance. Once again, the
subjectivity can be seen clearly.
Furthermore, the passive voice in Vietnamese is often understood by
two ways: “BỊ” and “ĐƯỢC”. This distinction reflects the differences in
speaker and writer’s attitudes towards the issue mentioned in the sentence.
“BỊ” indicates the bad luck or negative attitudes; on the contrary, it will be
good luck or positive attitudes in case of “ĐƯỢC”. For instance, the sentence:
I got mark 7.
can be translated into Vietnamese in two ways:
Tôi bị điểm bảy (under the speaker’s expectation)
Tôi được điểm bảy (over the speaker’s expectation)
This is another matter that learners of English should pay attention to in
compositions. It can be suggested that passive voice plays an essential part in
English academic writing.
2.2.2. Directness – Indirectness
The second cross – cultural category that may have potential influences
on English writing is Directness and Indirectness. As reported by Kaplan. J
(1972), “cultural thought patterns” of foreign students studying in the United
States are different from culture to culture as expressed through their essays.
These dissimilarities can be seen clearly in the following diagram:
Figure 4: Cultural thought patterns by Kaplan. J
According to the diagram, direct expressions are the preference in the
Anglo-American culture; on the other hand, Oriental people including the
Vietnamese are likely to prefer indirect patterns. Many Americans even “can
judge members of cultural groups that value indirectness (i. e, hesitating, not
“getting to the point” and “beating around the bush”) as not bring assertive
world. Nevertheless, they do not realize that a large percentage of the world’s
cultures values indirectness and consider it rude to insist on “getting to the
point”” (Levine, D.R & Adelman, M.B, 1992)
Instead of “getting to the point”, Vietnamese culture values the gentle
way to the conclusion or the main idea of their speech and composition. This
feature can be seen clearly when people have to write a letter of refusal.
Supposed that there were an invitation to a wedding party, the following
example will stand for a typical English writing:
Unfortunately, much as I’d like to be at the wedding, especially a
Dutch wedding (!), it simply isn’t impossible for me to take that
weekend off; I have to work fairly late on Friday night, and friends are
coming down to stay from Sunday lunchtime so there would be no way
in which I could squeeze a wedding in Holland in between.
(cited from Vu et.al, 2006, p.48)
The reasons why the writer can not take part in the wedding can be
seen without any ambiguity. However, in one sample of letter written by a
Vietnamese, it sometimes takes a long way for the reason to be mentioned as
cited from one student’s letter of refusal:
I would love too but unfortunately I will not be able to come, I had to
write to you to say how sorry I am that I cannot make it.
(cited from Van & Do, 1998)
This is one example of a letter which is under the interference of
indirectness in Vietnamese culture. The writer can not find an appropriate
way to explain the reason of refusal.
One more thing that needs taking into consideration is the location of
information. Due to the tendency of being more indirect, the least – to – most
important order of information is often the choice of many Vietnamese in
conversation or composition. On the other hand, the more the information
seems to be, the closer it gets to the beginning of the speech. This distinction
can be presented in the followings:
- In Vietnamese:
Least Less Most
information information information
- In English:
Most Less Least
informati information informatio
In Nguyen Quang’s statistics (1997), when he asked the participants to
choose one of two following sentences:
1. Next Monday, at about 2 p.m, I’ll be waiting for you at home.
2. I’ll be waiting for you at home at about 2 p.m next Monday.
More Americans and Australians chose the second sentence (23/26 and
In conclusion, directness – indirectness is one of cross – cultural
categories which have much influence on Vietnamese learner’s speaking and
writing style. Only when having the sufficient understanding of Anglo-
American tradition and doing more practices under the teacher’ s instructions,
learners can overcome this problem and obtain both linguistic and cultural
2.2.3. Accuracy – Inaccuracy
From Nguyen Quang’s point of view, the Vietnamese seems to be more
inaccurate than the Anglo-American. He suggested some cases which can
point out the differences between two cultures:
188.8.131.52. The use of tenses
In the English grammar, there are sixteen tenses to express a certain
action happening at a certain time such as simple present, simple past, simple
future, present continuous, past continuous, etc. And affixes are the indicator
used to clarify different tenses in English. However, the situation is not the
same in Vietnamese. There are only lexical indicators such as “đã, rồi
(already), từng (ever), vừa (just), sẽ, sắp (will), toan...” to express the past,
present and future. The situation seems to be simpler in Vietnamese. That is
the reason why many learners of English get difficulty in finding an
appropriate tense to translate Vietnamese into English. Examples of “đã” can
prove much ambiguity to Vietnamese learners due to the influences of
1. Tôi đã làm xong bài tập.
(I have finished the homework.)
2. Trước khi ra khỏi nhà tôi đã gọi điện cho Lan rồi.
(Before leaving home, I had phoned Lan)
3. Bạn đã bao giờ tới London chưa?
(Have you ever been to London?)
“Đã” can be understood as an indicator for past tenses in Vietnamese;
nevertheless, the translation into English seems to be various in terms of the
Moreover, what determine tenses and aspects in Vietnamese are not
auxiliaries, but context clues, especially metalinguistic, intralinguistic and
extralinguistic contexts as exemplified by Nguyen Quang (2002).
1. I met him yesterday
(Hôm qua tôi đã gặp anh ta.)
2. I had met him before he flew home.
(Tôi đã gặp nó trước khi nó bay về nước)
3. Don’t worry, I’ve met him
(Yên chí, tôi đã gặp ông ấy rồi)
184.108.40.206. The use of genitive indicators
As a matter of fact, the genitive indicators are the “-s” genitive,
possessive adjectives and pronouns and the preposition “of”. It has the
equivalence in Vietnamese named “của”. Accuracy in English indicators of
possession often can not be used interchangeably. The case of –s genitive and
–of genitive should be taken into careful consideration. As suggested by
Quirk. R and Greenbaum. S (2003, p 96 – 97), the –s genitive is favored by
animated nouns, in particular persons and animals with personal
characteristics. We can only say the youngest children’s toys, but not the
door’s window or the love of John. On the other hand, of- genitive is chosen
in case of being the link between inanimate nouns such as the title of the book
or the system of the society. It can not be affirmed that –s genitive does not
replace of- genitive in all cases and vice versa. Learners of English should
bear in mind those above basic rules. In addition, possessive adjectives and
pronouns play an important role in English. The great awareness of
possession of the Anglo-American is revealed through the close relationship
between noun and its possessive adjectives such as “my, your, her, his, our,
their, its”. Such words are never absent in English noun phrases of possession.
On the contrary, the usage of “của” is likely to be more flexible. It is
the only genitive in Vietnamese; as a result it is popularly used for both
animate and inanimate nouns. In many cases, the Vietnamese even obmit
“của” as can be seen in the following examples:
Tôi ghi bài vào vở
(Literal translation: I take note in notebook)
(Standard English: I take note in my notebook)
Tôi cầm lấy ví rồi đi thẳng.
(Literal translation: I took purse and went away)
(Standard English: I took my purse and went away)
The problem is that Vietnamese learners sometimes forget such
indicators of possession while speaking or writing in English due to the
inaccuracy in their culture. This is another point they need taken into
2.2.4. The redundancy
It is very difficult to decide whether the redundancy should belong to a
particular category of culture or it should be a separate category. Nguyen
Quang (2002) suggested that redundancy in Vietnamese and Anglo-American
culture can be seen in many categories such as “Subjectivity – Objectivity”,
“Directness – Indirectness”, “Accuracy – Inaccuracy” or in a big one
“Redundancy – Economically”. The study has no desire to have a thorough
investigation on this phenomenon due to the limitation of knowledge and
time. It can only give an overview of types of redundancy in theory and make
an investigation in students’ writings. The theoretical background of three
types of redundancy may be attributed to Nguyen Quang (2002) “In terms of
functions and pragmatics, redundancy can be divided into: modal
redundancies, insufficient redundancies and habitual redundancies” (p.68).
Modal redundancy is used in the rhetorical purpose to emphasize ideas.
Insufficient redundancy, whereas, is produced by the one who has difficulty
in expressing themselves because of limited knowledge or way of thinking.
Lastly, among the three types of redundancy, habitual redundancy highly
represents the specific features of a culture. It has been observed that habitual
redundancies are essential linguistic elements in people's daily speeches.
These types exist in every language and culture, but with different
ratios and manifestations. It can also apply for the case of Vietnamese and
Anglo-American culture. Many Vietnamese learners make mistakes in
speaking and writing in English as a result of redundancy interference. It is
not rare to hear sentences such as:
Theo quan điểm của tôi, tôi nghĩ là cậu sai rồi.
(In my opinion, I think you are wrong)
From the result of the study carried out by Van & Do (1998), the
habitual redundancy appeared in some students’ writing assignments as
…sometimes, we must understand that is why there are too many
people so that is unsafe for ourselves and our luggage.
In the process learning English as a L2, Vietnamese learners need to
pay much attention to this issue and find the appropriate method to resolve the
In conclusion, cross – cultural categories namely Subjectivity –
Objectivity, Directness – Indirectness, Accuracy – Inaccuracy and
Redundancy have been analyzed in order to find out some potential influences
of Vietnamese cultural factors on English language learning. This analysis
will be a useful background for the researcher in next part of the study.
CHAPTER 3: METHODOLOGY
After presenting an overview of theoretical background relating to the
topic, the research continues with demonstrating the chapter of methodology.
In this chapter, the information such as participants, instruments, data
collection procedures and data analysis will be clearly presented. It is a vital
preparation for the next part, the findings and discussion chapter.
3.1. Selection of subjects
The study is limited to the freshmen at the English Department,
HULIS, Vietnam National University. The reason why the researcher decided
to choose this population of interest is that freshmen have just graduated from
high school and do not have much experience in the environment of
university. They may get many difficulties in avoiding the mistakes caused
due to the Vietnamese cultural influence. They can be typical examples for
Vietnamese learners who need the careful instruction from lecturers in terms
of writing paragraphs or essays in English.
The participants were chosen randomly from the Major of Teaching
and the Major of Translation and Interpretation; however, freshmen from the
Major of Teaching were the majority due to the imbalance in terms of
numbers of students between the two majors.
Groups including 081E3, 081E4, 081E5, 081E9, 081E10 and 081E19
were randomly selected with different quantities of writing assignments. The
difference in numbers of assignments among groups is not a problem because
the quality of each assignment is still reflected very clearly.
3.2. Research instruments
It is very special that writing assignment is the only type of instrument
in this study. Because the research focuses on investigating Vietnamese
cultural factors which influence on English written communication, writing
assignments play the most important role in the process of carrying out the
study. Reflection was chosen to be the only kind of writing for analysis in this
study. This is due to the lack of time and the focus of the research. Among the
three kinds of writing that freshmen studied in the first semester namely
reflection, letter and summary; it can be said that reflection reveals the
influences of Vietnamese culture the most because it mostly requires students
to give their own thoughts in their own words. Moreover, it was the first
writing task that freshmen were required to do in their first semester at
university. The topic of each reflection was different from the other, and there
were many topics mentioned in freshmen’s assignments. It was the variety of
topics that led to results which would be more objective and various.
3.3. Procedures of data collection
The research has been carried out with the following procedures of data
Firstly, the researcher investigated the writing syllabus of the first
semester and selected the appropriate kind of writing. Comments from the
teachers in the English Division 1, the supervisor as well as some freshmen
were all taken into consideration.
Secondly, ninety assignments on reflection were collected from
different classes at random. The more groups took part in the research, the
more objective the results would be. Therefore, the writing assignments were
picked up from five classes with four groups in the Major of Teaching and
one in the Major of Translation and Interpretation. Only the first draft was
collected and analyzed because it could clearly evoke the impact of
Vietnamese cultural factors on student’s English writing without any
comments or correction from peers and teachers.
Lastly, it was time to synthesize all the documents and analyze in the
purpose of investigating what is related to the topic.
3.4. Procedures of data analysis
The analysis has to answer two research questions. The first one is
what cultural categories have impact on English writing as perceived from the
assignments of freshmen. It is vital to examine whether the evidences are
compatible with the prediction of some potential categories in the Literature
Review chapter. The second one is to evaluate the level of influence among
cultural categories in this kind of writing.
In the first place, it took a great amount of time to read all assignments.
Each of them needed a careful analysis to find out Vietnamese cultural factors
which have influences on students’ writing in English. Evidences from the
assignments were noted and categorized into different groups. Any examples
belonging to new cases would be taken into consideration.
After a list of different Vietnamese influencing cultural factors had
been formed, their ratio of impact on English writing would be evaluated. It is
not only the ratio of each factor in comparison with the others but also the
ratio of sub – types in the relation with the big one. It is this kind of rate that
can point out the different impact of different Vietnamese cultural categories
on freshmen’s assignments of reflection in English.
In conclusion, this chapter has shown an overview of participants,
instruments as well as the process of carrying out the study. It can be said that
the procedure is not very complicated, however, what the researcher needs
here is the corporation from both the teachers and the first – year students.
CHAPTER 4: RESULTS AND DISCUSSION
In the previous chapter, the methodology applied in this study has been
clarified with descriptions and clarifications of the choice of participants, the
instruments and the procedures of data collection and analysis. In this chapter,
all the collected data will be analyzed and discussed to reveal the answers to
the research questions in turn. The connection between these findings and
theoretical background of potential Vietnamese cultural factors which may
have influences on English written communication and other related studies
will also be worked out. Lastly, the study presents some implications for L2
teaching and learning of written discourse.
4.1.1. Research question 1
Research question 1: Vietnamese cultural factors have influences
on freshmen’s English written communication in the case of writing
The study was carried out with the aim to find out Vietnamese cultural
factors which have influences on the first – year students’ English
composition on reflection. The in – depth analysis of ninety compositions has
resulted in significant findings of influential factors in Vietnamese culture.
All potential factors in Vietnamese culture presented in the Literature Review
chapter appeared in the analyzed pieces of writing with different ratios. In the
following part, each category is going to be discussed along with obvious
evidences and careful examination. As a result, the study first discusses the
manifestations of the influence of Vietnamese cultural factors on freshmen’s
written communication through the analysis of the collected data, and then
presents their ratios of the influence.
220.127.116.11. Subjectivity – Objectivity
As mentioned in the Literature Review, the differences between
Vietnamese and English in this category could be classified into two
subtypes. They were the use of prepositions of direction and the use of
In the first place, it is the use of prepositions of direction that should be
taken into consideration. It can be said that this aspect is one of the indicators
which exposed the differences between the two cultures most clearly.
However, it is drawn from the analyzed compositions that this pair of cultural
factors is not much revealed. There were only two reflections among ninety
essays with the ratio of 2,2% in which the preference of subjectivity to
objectivity in Vietnamese culture could be seen. Due to this minority, both
examples are going to be cited from students’ writings:
1. …. which they had thrown in the sand
2. all of the parents on the world
Based on the analysis in Literature Review chapter, the subjectivity in
Vietnamese culture affects the way the writer describes the relationship
between he/she and other objects. In the two above cases, it was the writer’s
perception of his/her position that made the sentences sound unnatural in
Standard English. The appropriate expression should have been “on the sand”
and “in/ over the world.” The context of example 1 can be seen in the original
writing: “the images of an old man collecting all the rubbish at the seaside
and her little niece make me think much...After a long time, they just knew
that her niece had died because of tetanus. She stepped on a sharp thing
which someone has thrown in the sand.” The reason why the proportion of
this sub – category was modest in comparison with the others comes from the
type of writing. In reflective writing, students do not have much room for this
kind of description, but to show their own opinions of the story or characters
instead. As a result, there was a restriction on analyzing the impact of this
category in the collected data.
Secondly, another sub – category in the pair of Subjectivity and
Objectivity that needs considering is the use of passive voice. The study was
carried out in order to evaluate whether the first – year students had the
tendency of expressing their ideas or thoughts in passive voice in formal
writing. From the analysis, it can be drawn that freshmen frequently made use
of the active voice in expressing their opinion. More than one third of all
reflections, which means thirty three out of ninety compositions, preferred to
use active voice where passive voice should be use. It is the subjectivity in
Vietnamese culture that has effects on students’ choice as seen from the
• We can see that the husband and the wife together solve the
problem of housework…
• I think that it was difficult to put up with, especially with a
• A lot of people say: that love story is very interesting and
• First of all, I see that the position of Vietnamese women in
society is changing
• I believe that they will do well.
These are only some typical examples demonstrated in the discussion.
However, it can be worked out that students themselves did not really pay
attention to this issue. In one assignment, there were even three opinion
expressions appearing in the active voice such as “I see”, “I think.” Students
directly transferred their thoughts into English without the consideration of the
use of passive voice in written English language. One of the reasons that make
the reflection less formal is the passive voice is frequently found in
pedagogically valued writing, and its use in modern English continues as a
meaningful mode of expression. The Appendix 2 presents more examples of
It is inappropriate to claim that the active voice can not be applied in
those analyzed cases. The issue may become worse if all analyzed evidences
must be changed into passive voice due to the fact that it is written in English.
It can only be pointed out from the analysis that freshmen are still under the
impact of the subjectivity in Vietnamese culture. They do not have many
chances to practice and master the use of passive voice as a formal expression
in English written communication.
18.104.22.168. Directness – Indirectness
In the Literature Review, it was affirmed that Vietnamese culture
preferred the indirect ways of expression; on the other hand, directness was
often the choice of the Anglo-American. However, during the process of
analyzing the data, it was not very frequent for the researcher to realize the
influence of indirectness in the collected data. There were only nineteen cases
in which the indirect expressions have been found among ninety writings. The
ratio of 21,1% proved that the influence of indirectness in the collected data
was rather considerable. The analysis has also worked out that students often
applied the indirectness in the introduction and conclusion part of the
reflection. Out of nineteen cases, eleven were found in the former one. The
following samples demonstrate this phenomenon:
1. I like reading books very much. One of the books I like most is
“Chicken soup for the soul”. In that book, there are many interesting
stories. “The ambition of the youth” is the story I like most. This is a
simple story but very interesting.
2. Have you ever read the book “I can do it - How to use affirmation to
change your life” of Young Publisher? If you have never read, I advise
you to read it immediately. Right as the book said, this is the book
which can change your life. It includes many useful commentaries.
They provide us with interesting knowledge. Especially, I really like the
This can be two of the most typical samples for Vietnamese cultural
thought pattern as presented by Kaplan. J (1972). In the introduction of
sample 1, the story “The ambition of the youth” was the topic of the
reflection; however, it was not until the writer mentioned his/ her hobby as
reading and the favorite book that the topic was introduced. The process of
topic introduction repeated in the second sample. Both writers were likely to
“beat around the bush” rather than “getting to the point.” The reason for the
overuse of indirect expression in the introduction can be explained through
the Vietnamese people’s habit of initiating an issue.
The impact of indirectness on English written communication of
Vietnamese learners is also revealed in the end of one essay such as:
Although some people think that this story is suitable to children
because it is about an animal and there are some senses about treating
badly with animals, death and some rude senses, this story has high –
educational value and it was good for all adults and children.
More examples can be seen in the Appendix 4. The influence of the
indirectness in Vietnamese culture can be also exploited through the way
writers locate their ideas in the essays. The previous analysis in the Literature
Review described the process of listing ideas of one essay in Vietnamese as
seen from the least information to the most ones. Due to the limitation in time
and knowledge, it is difficult for the researcher to carry out a comprehensive
analysis on this issue. The reflection on the story “The Girl Matches” is one
of the four samples which expose the indirectness in this second aspect. The
little girl’s miserable destiny was reviewed in two main points. Firstly, it was
her family state with the image of a cruel father. The pedestrians’ indifferent
attitude was considered the second point and the most important ones. The
above analysis can be more clearly seen in the original writing: “I am very
emotional about her miserable state with a drunkard father, especially
through the pedestrian demeanor.” And in the next part, the writer continued
to make those supporting ideas clearer.
It can be drawn from the above samples that both the native culture and
mother tongue somehow put constraint on student’s writing in English. In this
type of cultural category, directness in idea expression seems to be a good
choice in formal English writing. Students should take this issue into account
to overcome the interference of Vietnamese culture and the native language.
22.214.171.124. Accuracy – Inaccuracy
In terms of the category “Accuracy – Inaccuracy”, the Literature
Review discussed three aspects: the use of tenses, the use of possession
indicators and the use of conjunctions.
In the first place, it is the use of tenses that was taken into account in
the analysis. The examination of the students’ reflection resulted in surprising
findings. Although freshmen made many errors such as subject – verb
agreement or verb tenses, those only related to grammatical issues. The
influence of Vietnamese culture can not be seen in this case. Some following
sentences make out the problem:
1. In the past, women are known to be the weaker sex, and they have
to stay at home, do housework only and do not have opportunity to
take part in social activities.
2. Everyone have true friends.
3. The story tells about Chi Dau’s family went by far but it left us
commiseration for her life.
In relation to the effects of culture on English writing, it should be the
Vietnamese concepts of time that cause some confusion on the use of verb
tenses in English. For instances, the sentence “Tôi đã đi du lịch qua năm
nước rồi” can be literally translated into English as “I traveled to five
countries already.” They consider the result of the action something in the
past by some auxiliaries “đã, rồi”. The answer in English as “I have traveled
to five countries”, on the other hand, make use of the cooperation between
affix and auxiliary verb in order to reveal the result of an action at present.
That there is no such case in the analyzed writings shows the
inappropriateness of choosing reflection as a type of writing to be analyzed
for this matter. It can also be predicted that narration will be a better choice.
Furthermore, the study may get more interesting findings of the accuracy and
inaccuracy in the verb tense use between the Vietnamese and Anglo-
American culture if the subject for analysis is spoken language. The reason
lies in the variety of situation in daily life which brings the opportunity for
learners to reveal their awareness of the differences in verb uses between two
The use of conjunction as a matter in the accuracy and inaccuracy
category is the second subject of discussion. The influence of thought on the
use of some pairs of conjunction such as “Bởi vì …. cho nên” or “Mặc dù …
nhưng” has been found in three assignments among ninety writings. The
modest percentage with 3,3% is a good news for the results of the study. It
can be inferred from the statistics that learners of English are aware of the bad
impact of their Vietnamese thought on their expressions in the foreign
language. They somehow bear in mind the grammatical rules in English and
avoid errors arising from the influence of culture and thought on language.
Lastly, it is the use of genitive indicators that needs a careful analysis.
According to the theoretical background presented by Nguyen Quang (2002),
“của” is known as the only genitive indicator in Vietnamese. There is a
variety of equivalents in English as mentioned in the Literature Review. That
each equivalent has each different usage causes many difficulties to learners
of English. The analysis of the collected data was expected to reveal student’s
awareness of the great differences in genitive indicator use between
Vietnamese and English. Especially, the transference of “của” into English in
various cases requires a full attention. The accuracy or inaccuracy is taken
into consideration in terms of corresponding equivalents of “của” in English.
The tendency of the Anglo-American accuracy is shown through the specific
rules of using genitive indicators; whereas there is no such regulation in
It can be affirmed that the last factor has the most influence in
comparison with the other two. 50% of the students had problem using
genitive indicator. The analysis has brought four cases of “của” equivalent
into lights with appropriate genitive indicators use between: (1) the name of a
story and its author, (2) animate noun and inanimate one, (3) two inanimate
nouns, and (4) lack and misuse of possessive adjectives. The chart below can
make out the ratio of each case in consideration with the other and the big
The name of story and
13.30% Animate noun and
Two inanimate nouns
Lack and misuse of
Figure 5: The interference of Vietnamese culture on English written
language in terms of genitive indicators
The pie chart demonstrates the unequal proportion between the second
case “animate noun and inanimate one” and the three others. With the
percentage of 60%, the second case could be considered the factor which
revealed the influence of Vietnamese thoughts on English writing the most.
The of-genitive as the genitive indicator used between an animate noun and
an inanimate one should be taken into consideration by freshmen. Twenty
seven out of forty five compositions had the same problem. Being
impacted/influenced by the Vietnamese thought and the mother tongue
interference, students applied “of” as the translation of “của” in all cases. This
circumstance was illustrated in some typical sample phrases in students’
writings such as “the society of people”, “the freedom of the women”, “the
death of Chi Pheo”, “the love of Chi Dau” and “the charity of Nguyen
Khai”. Even though –s genitive and of-genitive were sometimes
interchangeable, we had to make a choice in those cases. The accuracy of
English language as well as English culture showed that the acceptable
phrases should be “Nguyen Khai’s charity” or “Chi Pheo’s death”. It is
impossible to apply “of” as a genitive for every case.
Interestingly, the number of writings getting into problems in three
cases was the same with six assignments. Six out of forty five assignments
was not a big figure; however, it still needed a careful attention. Firstly, six
reflections exposed the issue of making out the relation between the story and
its author. Students made up expressions such as It is “If you are not a
dream” of Marc Levi, “The Last Leaf of O’Henry” or “this beautiful story of
Hector Marlot”. However, the understanding of “của” should be translated
into “written by”, not “of” as presented. The next case is the use of genitive
indicator between two inanimate nouns. The feature of accuracy does not
accept the following phrases “family’s housework”, “all the country’s
young”, “name’s story”, “life’s hope” and “the Unites States’s family life”.
In that case, of-genitive is a much better choice. In discussion on the last case,
the lack and misuse of possessive adjectives needed considering. Many
Vietnamese forgot the corresponding possessive adjective as a result of their
thought in the native language. Vietnamese culture does not pay much
attention to the existence of genitives. That is the reason why the following
expressions were to find: “he realizes wife’s ability and interest of the
housework” and “they need more husband’s support”. In another expression,
one student even made error in terms of using the appropriate possessive
adjective as “Everyone has their own hobbies”.
On the whole, findings in the Accuracy and Inaccuracy category lie in
the border of native culture, native language and thought interference. It is
impossible to explain the reason why many freshmen made mistakes in using
genitives without considering the role of Vietnamese thought.
126.96.36.199. The redundancy
The redundancy in expressions was investigated in the ninety collected
assignments. It took the researcher by surprise that this kind of cultural
phenomenon could be easily found in English writing. Sixty six out of ninety
assignments provided examples of redundancy for the study. It can be drawn
that among many other categories, the redundancy shows the Vietnamese
cultural interference most obviously. The study continued with the careful
analysis of its subtypes. The findings of the influences of redundancy on the
students’ works may be much clearer if a summary of each subtype in the
view of English culture was carried out. However, as suggested by Nguyen
Quang in “Communication and Intercommunication” (2002, p.71), one
expression may not be suffered from the same redundancy in different
cultures. It was even more difficult in the case of written communication.
Therefore, the analysis looked into all samples and came up with a summary
of their types of redundancy in Vietnamese culture. What should be reminded
was that the samples had to reveal the tendency of being redundant in English
expressions. The influence ratio of each type was revealed in the following
Figure 6: The ratio of redundancy types in the view of Vietnamese culture
It can be pointed out from the chart that there is not much difference in
the proportion of the three types. However, it is noteworthy to perform an in-
depth analysis of each type.
In the first place, it can be seen that habitual redundancy is the most
influential one. More than one third of the students’ assignments contributed
to the case. Some samples of this type of redundancy mentioned in Nguyen
Quang’s theory and Do Mai Thanh’s research were found in the writings such
as “In my opinion, I think” and “Both…..together”. Besides, the analysis
revealed that the linguistic repetition is a big issue in this part. In the
Vietnamese culture and language, such following expressions seem very
natural, non – redundant “Sự thay đổi này trong đời sống gia đình sẽ gây ra
sự thay đổi trong đời sống xã hội” or “Tuy nhiên, phụ nữ Việt Nam cũng như
phụ nữ Mỹ không nên lãng quên thiên chức trong gia đình của họ”. The
Vietnamese language has no pronoun to replace the key noun. That is the
reason why the analysis of the students’ writings saw the translation of those
above sentences such as “This change in family life will cause the change in
social life” or “However, Vietnamese women as well as American women
shouldn’t forget their natural function in family.” The right expressions,
whereas, should replace the words “change” and “women” with pronoun
“one” to avoid the redundancy in English grammar. It is impossible to list all
examples; however, this is one of the mistakes that student should take into
account with great attention. Freshmen are not really aware of this problem
and consider it the natural way of expression in Standard English.
Secondly, modal redundancy seemed to be applied for the only
function of emphasis. The subsequent example displayed this sort of
redundancy in both Vietnamese and English: “You should have monthly
schedule, weekly schedule or even daily schedule not to waste time and spend
time effectively.” As can be obviously recognized from the expression, the
writer focused on different levels of schedule by repeating this word three
times. This expression may be acceptable in English with the same function
as in Vietnamese. It can be redundant in terms of grammar; however, no one
can deny its role in rhetoric meaning. On the other hand, some cases of modal
redundancy in Vietnamese culture were considered as insufficient one in the
Anglo-American understandings such as “Things that men can do, women
also can do” or “Women can also take over all tasks which men can do and
can take care of family very well.” With the purpose of emphasizing women’s
ability, this student overused the modal verb “can”, but it is not significant to
repeat the verb many times in English. The reader still could understand what
the writer meant without the repetition of “can”. In general, it can be drawn
from twenty one samples that many modal redundancies in Vietnamese are
considered the modal or insufficient one in English.
Lastly, the situation seemed to be different in the case of insufficient
redundancy. What redundancy was considered insufficient one in the
Vietnamese culture and language also reflected its lack of English
proficiency. The illogical thought in Vietnamese resulted in the ambiguous
expression in English as can be seen in the following sentences: ‘…think
happy thoughts”, to know these knowledge”, “The writer gave us the
difficulties and solutions to solve this problem”, “The beauty of this way is
the way he used things to illustrate.” In these samples, students were suffered
from the great interference of the mother tongue. Sadly, their Vietnamese got
into problems in terms of expression. Another aspect of insufficient
redundancy lied in the use of synonyms. The wordy expression in Vietnamese
can be one of the causes leading to the appearance of words with similar
meanings in the same sentence, for example, “If you sat still and quietly or
complained everything, future would be grey actually”, “When I get children
and offsprings, I will tell them it.” The last outstanding case of insufficient
redundancy was recognized in the repetition of adverb “very” in two
following sentences “In short, I very very like this immortal story,” and “They
feel very very bored.” It can be seen clearly the interference of Vietnamese
low language in these expressions (‘very very’ is translated from ‘rất rất là’)
made the sentence ungrammatical and illogical in English. Repeatedly, it
must be admitted that the unclear thought in Vietnamese has had much
influence on the English written language by Vietnamese learners. More
examples can be seen in Appendix 1.
To sum up, the redundancy in both Vietnamese and English should be
paid attention to by learners, teachers and linguists. It is not only a
phenomenon but becomes a cultural category.
4.1.2. Research question 2
Research question 2: The influence ratios of Vietnamese cultural
In order to present a comprehensive overview of the level of influence
among cultural categories mentioned above, the study has made a summary of
the numbers of assignments in which all main categories and their subtypes
could be found. The statistics has been shown in Figure 3 and Figure 4.
Figure 3 demonstrates the contribution of each category among four big ones
affirmed in the previous part. What is more, Figure 4 provides an overview of
the influence ratio of all subtype categories.
50 48 Objectivity
30 Accuracy vs.
Figure 7: Four main Vietnamese cultural categories influence on freshmen’s
English written communication
The chart shows the influence level of four Vietnamese cultural
categories on freshmen’s English written communication in different ratios.
Out of four factors, it can be concluded that redundancy is the most influential
one revealing through reflection writing. The feature of reflection in terms of
the writer’s opinion expression may be the reason for the greater proportion
of redundancy. Issues relating to accuracy – inaccuracy category also need
more attention by both teachers and students because they held more than
50% of the total assignments. The fact that twenty three writings had
problems with directness – indirectness category did not mean the little
influence of this factor. It can only be inferred from these statistics that
reflection may not be an appropriate type of writing to investigate that sort of
After presenting the ratios of the influence of four main Vietnamese
cultural categories, the study continues with the demonstration of all subtypes
which were mentioned and analyzed in the previous part.
No. Influential categories in Subtypes Numbers of
Vietnamese culture influenced
1. Subjectivity – Objectivity Use of preposition 2
Use of passive 33
2. Directness – Indirectness Indirect expressions 19
Location of 4
3. Accuracy – Inaccuracy The use of 3
The use of genitive 45
4. Redundancy Modal redundancy 21
Table 2: Overview of the influence of subtype categories on freshmen’s
English written communication
Going into details with subtypes of four categories, the study can
present some interesting findings. It is obvious that reflection is a good choice
to find the influence of such following factors: use of passive voice, use of
genitive indicators and habitual redundancy on students’ English written
language. However, no conclusion can be drawn for the influence of the use
of preposition of directions, location of information as well as the use of
conjunction in reflection writings.
4.2. Pedagogical implications
As pointed out from the very first part of the study in the Introduction,
freshmen at English Department were chosen as the participants of the
research. They have just graduated from high school and started their early
days at university. As a result, the findings of the study have partly revealed
that there is still a gap between second culture acquisition and L2 teaching
and learning at high school in Vietnam. Especially, the relationship between
second culture and L2 teaching of writing has not been taken into much
consideration. Therefore, this part is expected to present some implications
and suggestions for L2 teaching and learning of written discourse.
4.2.1. Second culture acquisition in L2 teaching and learning
188.8.131.52. Second culture acquisition in L2 teaching and learning in
It is not until recent research that the role of target culture learning is
paid attention to. The close relationship between second culture and L2
acquisition has been pointed out in many studies as the interesting remarks
perceived by Pollock (1990, p.30):
Our culture influences our ways of thinking and acting. To learn
another language, we need to learn to appreciate the culture of which
the language is a part. We can not really learn a second language or
more precisely, learn the use of that language unless we learn about the
culture because many of the meanings constructed in the language are
As can be seen from the above statement and the analysis in the
Literature Review, culture is deeply embedded in language and language
reflects culture. In cross – cultural communication, it is vital to acquire the
target culture along with the process of learning the L2. From pedagogic point
of view, the awareness of the target culture may create “integrative
motivation.” That is, the culture knowledge brings students inspiration to
learn the language in order to communicate with members of that culture in
both spoken and written language. In this sense, learning foreign culture is not
only an essential part but also a method to have effective language learning.
“Learning another language means learning the second culture at the
same time” as put by Ngo (1998, p.73). The second culture should be
acquired in a gradual process of acculturation which entails four stages as
1. Tourist stage: This is the very first phase in the process of
second culture acquisition. In this period, the learners
‘communicative competence is both linguistically and
culturally limited; and cultural conflicts mostly occur in
2. Survivor stage: After a certain period of contacting with the
foreign language and its culture, learners have made some
progress to survive in the new culture. They must pass
through this stage to be considered an educated, competent
speaker of the language. In this stage, native speakers start to
require learners to have behaviors and words which are
appropriate in their culture.
3. Immigration stage: The learners’ level of language
proficiency can enable him not only to “survive” but also
“develop.” They can communicate successfully in his daily
life with varied topics. However, some influences of their
original culture can still be seen in both spoken and written
4. Citizen stage: The learners have integrated into the
community of native speakers in terms of both language and
culture. They reach almost the level of native speakers in
terms of pronunciation, gestures and written discourse. The
culture shock may occasionally happen.
Those four stages mainly take place when learners have to integrate
into the new culture when living in the new country. However, to some
extents, they are also steps learners of second language must pass if they want
to master L2, especially L2 speaking and writing. English learners should
bear in mind that success of language learning and teaching in general and
ELT and ELL in particular cannot be made unless cross – cultural differences
are aware of and a certain extent of acculturation has been gained.
184.108.40.206. Second culture acquisition in second language writing in
In the purpose of mastering L2 written discourse, learners of English
need to take the Anglo-American culture into account. Overcoming obstacles
due to the cultural differences may help learners to get access to the second
language. However, as a matter of fact, the acquisition of the target culture in
the teaching and learning of writing has something different from the one in
speaking. The four stages may happen, but with different manifestations.
Learners should know that “in English, what is appropriate and inappropriate
in academic written discourse is highly conventionalized” (Swales, 1990,
cited in Murcia ed, 2001, p.450). Key features of written discourse which L2
writing instruction focuses on are the organization (introduction, body,
conclusion, and other discourse moves), the presence and placement of the
thesis statement, the structure of the paragraph, and sentence structure. The
reason that these features need to be explicitly taught to ESL/ EFL students is
that they represent conventionalized characteristics of academic genres that
are not necessarily found in the written discourse in rhetorical traditions other
than the Anglo-American one. For instances, the sociocultural construction
may affect the way learners put the thesis statement close to the beginning of
the essay or not. In addition, the presumption that one’s own culture may be
superior to a second culture and be the characteristics of many people in the
world is a wrong viewpoint. L2 learners can not reject discourse frameworks
that are at odds with those specific to their own L1 socialization to literacy as
suggested by Hinkel (2001, cited in Murcia ed, 2001, p451).
4.2.2. Teacher as a means of second culture learning
Teachers are considered the facilitator and instructor in the second
language classrooms in general and second language writing in particular. In
foreign language teaching, teachers should provide students with both cultural
and linguistic input, thus give them possibility to perform the process of
acquiring the foreign language and adapting them to the target culture at the
same time. The roles as well as the task of second language teachers are stated
As a language teacher, you must be interested in the study of culture (in
the social scientist sense of the words) not because we necessary want
to teach the culture of the other country but because we have to teach it.
If we teach language without teaching at the same time the culture in
which it operates, we are teaching meaningless symbols or symbols to
which the students attack the wrong meaning.
It can be seen that teaching second culture is obligatory in the language
training process, and it is advisable for teachers to pay much attention to raise
students’ awareness by providing them with the necessary input, giving them
guidance to get the acculturation, cooperating cultural and linguistic patterns
and conducting appropriate classroom activities which stimulate students
intercultural interest in second language learning. It can be said that teacher is
one of the invaluable sources to learn the second culture.
Therefore, teachers should take notice of building necessary
characteristics to perform their roles well in second culture teaching in second
language in general and second language writing in particular.
Firstly, teachers must have linguistic competence. The proficiency in
terms of language is the prerequisite of any language teacher. Without being
good at language, teachers cannot help students deal with issues relating to
grammar, vocabulary and others components in both spoken and written
discourse. To be more specific, the knowledge of language elements can be
an effective tool supporting teachers to make comparison between English
and Vietnamese culture while learning English. In the case of English writing,
teachers can recognize Vietnamese learners’ mistakes caused by the negative
transference from their mother tongue into the target language. Therefore, the
linguistic competence in both English and Vietnamese is vital to teachers in
Secondly, there is no doubt that language teachers must be good at
intercultural knowledge. It should be taken into consideration that the
understanding of both target and native culture is very important. Cultural
knowledge requires a wide range of knowledge in social interaction such as
social norms, beliefs, values and relations, typical features in spoken and
rhetorical forms. Unfortunately, most Vietnamese teachers do not have many
opportunities to live in the native speaking countries to experience Anglo –
American culture. Only by teaching themselves cultural knowledge by
disciplined reading, they can deal with this limitation. They must study what,
how and where native speakers say, weigh differences of interpretation in the
light of pragmatics, discourse analysis. The sources for reading are various in
newspapers, books and Internet. In English writing, the understanding of the
target culture lies in teacher’s competence of rhetorical patterns, writing
organization and expression. For instances, the knowledge of the relationship
between cultural thought patterns and the writing structure in English and
Vietnamese can help teachers find out the transference of Vietnamese thought
into student’s English written discourse.
Last but not least, the ability of incorporating and promoting students’
cultural awareness is also very necessary. Many teachers highly appreciate the
importance of raising students’ cultural awareness in the process of language
learning but they do not know how to integrate cultural content into a
language lesson. It is obvious that cultural knowledge can be introduced
separately from language. Nevertheless, language by its nature exists in
interdependent relation with cultural and social aspects. It is not easy for
teachers to involve the target culture teaching in the writing lesson. However,
they can spend a little time in each lesson and introduce the cultural
differences in speaking lessons.
In short, it is undeniable that teachers can assist to bridge the gap
between the cultural knowledge and second language proficiency of students.
There is no doubt that teachers are the effective means of second culture
4.2.3. The teaching of English language writing in classrooms
It needs to be noted that some suggestions are going to be presented for
the improvement of both students’ English writing and their cultural
Writing in a second language is further complicated by issues of
proficiency in the target language, first language literacy and differences in
culture and rhetorical approach to the text. Therefore, the first thing to be
suggested is “in the teaching of L2 writing, teachers may draw on many
examples from speaking and establish parallels to help learners develop
cultural awareness in language use.” (Swales, 1990, cited in Murcia ed, 2001,
p.451) Spoken discourse is a very good channel through which students can
approach the target culture norms, and then build up the cultural awareness in
language use. Teachers should provide students with the authentic sources
such as conversations in daily life in speaking and text samples in writing.
Especially, the explicit instruction on L2 reader expectations, the value of
explicit explanations in the Anglo – American rhetorical tradition, and their
uses in writing need to be supported by teachers. As a result, a larger picture
of the culture in which the language is used will be seen in the English written
To be specific, the study is going to suggest some techniques applied in
English writing classrooms. Those techniques are expected to help language
teachers find out the appropriate way to combine both the teaching of English
writing and the target culture.
220.127.116.11. Reminding students of the differences between L1 and L2
Language is already known as a mirror of culture. That is the reason
why culture can be obtained through the language acquisition. It is not until
English writing practice that students are aware of the differences between L1
and L2. However, it will be much better if teachers pay attention to this issue
in the writing lessons. It may not take an amount of time for teachers to carry
out the lecture o fcultural and language differences. They can combine those
matters in speaking lessons through situations, or remind students of
important rhetorical patterns in writing feedbacks. There is much dissimilarity
between English and Vietnamese in terms of written discourse as can be seen
in the Literature Review and proved in the Results and Discussions. The
differences in the text organization, uses of passive voice or redundancy
should be paid attention to any time students make errors. Moreover, the
teachers of English as a second language should consider intercultural
differences in writing while planning writing activities for their students and
while assessing students’ writing.
18.104.22.168. Using reading in the writing class
Readings do not merely provide subject matter for discussion and
composition topics. When students read, they engage actively with the new
language and culture. If they are studying English where they have little
opportunity to speak it or hear it spoken in daily life such as in Vietnam,
reading is the activity that gives them access to various amounts of the
language. When having more chances to read, students will get more familiar
with the vocabulary, idiom, sentence patterns, organization flow, and cultural
assumptions of native speakers of the language as pointed out by Raimes. A
(1983, p.50) Students who read interact with a text that somebody else has
written and therefore can learn a great deal about writing.
There are two kinds of reading teachers can ask their students to do:
extensive reading and close reading. Teachers can make use of extensive
reading in order to broaden student’s understanding of cultural patterns in the
daily life of native speakers. On the other hand, close reading may be a good
choice if teachers want to focus on a specific passage, and ask students to give
close attention to all the choices the writer has made in, for example, content,
vocabulary, and organization.
22.214.171.124. Integrating all language skills
There is a chain of language activity in the classroom which makes use
of four skills as suggested by Raimes (1983, p.68):
• Student 1 speaks while Student 2 listens.
• Student 2 writes.
• Student 3 reads what Student 2 wrote and responds.
• Student 1 checks that Student 2 and Student 3 understand
This process can be totally applied in a writing lesson because of its
value to encourage student’s use of the target language. They are not just
given a topic that they immediately translate and think through their native
language before they put their ideas onto paper. All activities here are
thought, seen, heard and responded in English. The interference of the mother
tongue is minimized because there is a very little opportunity for translation.
Moreover, teachers can use the technique of note – taking. In real life,
when people listen and write down every word they hear. As a result, while
listening, they can write as a summary of important information. That is also a
good way for students to practice both listening and writing skill because the
influence of cultural thought patterns and the first language has no way to get
In the end, it takes much time to limit the influence of the native culture
and native language on the second language writing. The burden on teacher’s
shoulder is even more stressful, however, some suggested ideas above are
expected to partially deal with the situation.
CHAPTER 5: CONCLUSION
5.1. Summary of findings
The thorough analysis and discussion in preceding chapters have
resulted in some key findings of the study.
Firstly, there are four categories in Vietnamese culture which have
influences on English written communication in the analysis of first – year
students’ reflection writings. They are Subjectivity – Objectivity, Directness –
Indirectness, Accuracy – Inaccuracy, and Redundancy. All these factors were
predicted with potential influences in the Literature Review, and then put into
a careful investigation in one particular kind of writing named reflection.
Secondly, the ratios of influence among four categories with their
subtypes are different from each other. As can be concluded from the
discussion chapter, redundancy is the most influential factor. The least
influential one is directness – indirectness. Moreover, some new findings
based on the analysis of the subtypes of four main categories have been
presented. In reflection, the use of passive voice in Subjectivity – Objectivity
category, the use of genitives in Accuracy – Inaccuracy category, and the
habitual redundancy in Redundancy are proved to have the most influences on
freshmen’s English written communication.
Lastly, it is the choice of data instrument for the study. Within the
scope of this research, reflection is considered a good choice for the analysis
of some cultural categories such as Redundancy, Accuracy – Inaccuracy,
Subjectivity – Objectivity in analyzed aspects. However, the influence of
prepositions of directions can not be examined much in this type of writing. It
can be concluded that a research which studies on all aspects of cultural
factors requires a variety of writing types such as narration, reflection, and
5.2. Limitations of the study
Despite contributions of the study to the current research on cross –
cultural communication, limitations during the process of carrying out the
study are unavoidable.
Firstly, it is the scope of the study. It would be much better if the
researcher could expand the scope to more types of writing. Due to only one
type of data instrument, the objectivity of research findings may be limited.
In addition, if more time was allowed as well as the length of the study
could be increased; the researcher would depend on not only students’
writings, but also interviews of both teachers and students. The interview can
exploit the factors affect the influence of the native culture on second
Finding the limitations of the study can help the researcher improve its
quality with further analysis in the future. It is also a good way for other
researchers to avoid getting into those limitations.
5.3. Suggestions for further studies
Due to the limitation of the scope of the study, knowledge and time; it
is impossible to carry out a research which covers all aspects of Vietnamese
cultural interferences on English written language. This present study can be a
suggestion for further studies to investigate the influences of Vietnamese
culture on different types of English writing such narration and reflection. As
a result, the findings may be more objective and comprehensive.
In addition, further studies can be implemented to investigate the
influences of other cultural categories such as Self – abasement and Self –
assertion, Hierarchy – Equality, Group – Orientation, High context – Low
context on both English speaking and writing. More research on these cultural
factors will contribute to a thorough understanding of the relationship
between the native culture and second/ foreign language acquisition.
I. References in English
1. Brooks, N. (1994). Culture in the classroom. In J.M.Valdes (Ed.),
Culture Bound. Bridging the cultural gap in language teaching.
(pp.123-129). Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
2. Brown, H.D. (1986). Learning a second culture. In J.M.Valdes (Ed.),
Culture Bound. Bridging the cultural gap in language teaching.
(pp.33-48). Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
3. Brown, H.D. (2000). Principles of language learning and teaching. (4th
ed.). New York: Addison Wesley Longman.
4. Do Thi Mai Thanh. (1999). Some English and Vietnamese cross –
cultural differences in requesting. M.A thesis. College of Foreign
5. Fay, B. (1996). Contemporary Philosophy of Social Science: A
Multicultural Approach. (pp.55 – 60). Oxford: Blackwell.
6. Halliday, A., & Hyde, M., & Kullman, J. (Eds.). (2004). Intercultural
communication – An Advanced Resources Book. London & New York:
Routledge (Taylor & Francis Group)
7. Hinkel, E. (Ed.). (1999). Culture in Second Language Teaching and
Writing. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
8. Hinkel. E. Building Awareness and Practical Skills to Facilitate Cross –
Cultural Communication. In C.M. Murcia (Ed.). (2001). Teaching
English as a Second or Foreign Language. (3rd ed.).(pp.443 – 458).
Boston: Heinle & Heinle
9. Kaplan, T. (1972). Cultural thought patterns in Intercultural Education.
Language Learning, (Vol.16, pp1- 20).
10.Kaplan, B.R. (1987). Culture and the written language. In J.M.Valdes
(Ed.), Culture Bound. Bridging the cultural gap in language teaching.
(pp.8-19). Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
11.Lado, R. (1997). How to compare two cultures. In P. R. Heusinkveld
(Ed.). Pathways to culture: Readings on teaching culture in the foreign
language class. Yarmouth, ME: Intercultural Press
12.Levine, D.R., & Adelman, M.B. (1992). Beyond language –
Intercultural Communication for English as a second language.
Prentice Hall Regents.
13.Moran, K.P. (2001). Teaching Culture (Perspectives in practice).
Boston: Heinle & Heinle
14.Murcia, C.M. (Ed.). (2000). Teaching English as a Second or Foreign
Language. (3rd ed.). Boston: Heinle & Heinle.
15.Ngo Huu Hoang. (1998). A cross – cultural study on thanking and
responding to thanks in English and Vietnamese. M.A thesis. College
of Foreign Languages. VNU.
16.Nguyen Quang. (1998a). Intercultural Communication. College of
Foreign Languages, Vietnam National University.
17.Nieto, S. (2002). Language, Culture, and Teaching: Critical
Perspectives for a New Century. Mahwah, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum
18.Politzer, R. (1959) Report of the Fifth Annual Round Table Meeting
on Linguistics and Language Teaching. In N. Brooks, Language and
Language Learning, Theory and Practice. (2nd ed.). New York:
Harcourt Brace and World.
19.Quirk, R., & Greenbaum, S. (2004). A University Grammar of English.
Hai Phong Publisher.
20.Raimes, A. (1983). Techniques in Teaching Writing. Oxford: Oxford
21.Richard, M. (1996). I Wonder Why the Telephone Rings. New York:
22.Robinson, G.L.N. (1985). Cross – cultural understanding. In B.
Tomalin, & S. Stempleski. (1993). Cultural Awareness. Oxford:
Oxford University Press.
23.Robinson – Stuart, G., & Nocon, H. (1996). Second culture
acquisition: ethnography in the foreign language classroom. Modern
Language Journal, (Vol.80, pp.431-439).
24.Spradley, J.P. (1980). Participant observation. Orlando, FL: Harcourt
Brace Jovanovich College Publishers.
25.Stewart, J., & D’Angelo, G. (1980). Together: communicating
interpersonally. (2nd ed.). Reading, Mass: Addison-Wesley.
26.Swales, J. (1990). Genre analysis: English in academic and research
settings. In M. Celce - Murcia. (Ed.). (2000). Teaching English as a
Second or Foreign Language. (3rd ed.). Boston: Heinle & Heinle.
27.The National Standards in Foreign Language Education Project.
(1996). Standards for Foreign Language Learning: Preparing for the
21st Century. New York: The National Standards in Foreign Language
Education Project. Retrieved January 10th, 2009 from
28.Tomalin,B., & Stempleski, S. (1993). Cultural Awareness. Oxford:
Oxford University Press.
29.Valdes, J.M. (Ed.), Culture Bound. Bridging the cultural gap in
language teaching. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
30.Vu., et al. (2006). Practise your writing skills. Hanoi: Vietnam
National University Press.
II. References in Vietnamese
1. Đỗ Mai Thanh, & Văn Thanh Bình. (1999). Sự ảnh hưởng của yếu tố
văn hóa Việt Nam vào việc học tiếng Anh của sinh viên năm thứ nhất
dưới góc độ giao thoa văn hóa. Trích trong Kỷ yếu Hội nghị khoa học
1998-1999. ĐHNN – ĐHQGHN.
2. Nguyen Quang. (1997). Trực tiếp và gián tiếp trong dụng học giao thoa
văn hóa Việt – Mỹ. Tập san Ngoại ngữ. Số 4/1998. NXB Đại học Ngoại
ngữ - ĐHQGHN.
3. Nguyen Quang. (1998b). Một số phạm trù giao thoa văn hóa Việt – Mỹ.
Tập san Ngoại ngữ. Số 1/ 1998. NXB Đại học Ngoại ngữ - ĐHQGHN.
4. Nguyen Quang. (2002). Giao tiếp nội văn hóa và giao tiếp giao văn hóa.
NXB Đại học Quốc gia Hà Nội.
APPENDIX 1: SAMPLES OF REDUNDANCY
1. … coming into the world which is full of love, true love: modal R
2. The writer gave us the difficulties and solutions to solve this problem of
family life: Insufficient R
3. …think happy thoughts: Insufficient R
4. … to know these knowledge: Insufficient R
5. .., life is not flat, life is the struggle, struggle to survive: modal R
6. … because it is about a dog, an animal and there are some senses about
treating badly and there are animal, death and some rude senses:
7. Thuy Tram and Thac were two examples among millions of other
examples of Vietnamese youth and all our country people: habitual R
8. Therefore, friends have to be true friends: habitual R
9. A true friend is a person who always share to you whenever you happy
or sad, always encourage you to overcome difficulties: modal R
10.She will help me have confident, help me smile before difficulties:
11.The author showed off some solutions to the problem of housework,
children, for example: sharing between husband and wife, pay for
childcare, help,… in this way, the author found the solutions to this
problem.: insufficient R
12.In short, these changing in family changes family: insufficient R
13.Da River was sometimes gentle and good – mannered, but it was
sometimes fierce, etc: modal R
14.In short, I very very like this immortal story: insufficient R
15.The unfair society changed a rustic peasant to a scoundred person,
demon at Vu Dai village: modal R
16.Because their jobs was different so they had different idea and
different life: modal R
17.The value of human is equal to the value of the goods: habitual R
18.Their life is not really the life of a person: habitual R
19.… and she cries, cries so much: modal R
20.I’m not really impressed much at the details of this story. It’s quite
simple really: modal R
21.Why did human treat with each other like that? Why?: habitual R
22.I’ve read not so much but each story, each novel that I have read, I
have different impressions: modal R
23.…understand what their children are thinking and what their
everything want and need: modal R
24.Both of them work out, they will ambitious to earn more and more
money and so that they work hard more and more: modal R
25.…the most important thing is each member in family have to
understand each other, spend time for each other: modal R
26.They had children and had many things to worry, too. As a husband,
he had to respond for his family. He had to earn more money so: modal
27.Because the part is linked logically by the link words as “however”,
“now”: insufficient R
28.If you sat still and quietly or complained everything, future would
grey actually: insufficient R
29.They also want to become professionals, doctors and astronauts,… so
as to devote to the country more and more development: insufficient R
30.Tam isn’t only the gentle girl but also the vigorous girl: habitual R
31.I like reading story but I like “Khi Dot” best: habitual R
32.At the first time, having read it, I liked it very much because it
contains a great deal of the love of people: insufficient R
33.Everyone has their own hobbies, and I, I like reading books. One of
the stories I like most is the story “The girl sells matches”: habitual R
34.…in life, not everyone always has happiness, not everything is always
pink: modal R
35.He wrote about them with all his emotion with a warm heart:
36.What do you think about their love story? How do you feel about?:
37.Many years later they sometimes kept in touch with each other
through few informal letters. Even they have never met each other:
38.For example, when Lam and Nguyet came to see each other in Ngam
da xanh. But they met by accident without knowing what about each
other. The met each other on the same truck in the stormy battle:
39.And the family in the story with me is happy, an example for many
families as well as many people in Vietnam: habitual R
40.I think women can do even they can do better than me: modal R
41.Things that men can do, women can also do: modal R
42.The story tells about a boy named … behaving piously towards his
mother. He always obeyed his mother. : same idea (insufficient R)
43.When I get children and offsprings, I will tell them: insufficient R
44.I read it when I was at high school and I liked it immediately after the
1st time I read it: insufficient R
45.The “The last leaf” was a story about normal people and normal
things: modal R
46.They cannot take care of their children and cannot have much time to
do housework beforehand: habitual R
47.The happy family will make country more and more better:
48.In my opinion, I think American is a progress nation and our country
should learn the way of their life: habitual R
49.Both the wife and the husband together share the housework: habitual
50.You should have monthly schedule, weekly schedule and even daily
schedule not to waste time and spend time effectively: modal R
51.The beauty of this way is the way he used things to illustrate:
52.Some people are not sure that which is a goal and which is just a
dream and which is the truth: modal R
53.There have been women judges in Turkey, women ambassadors in
America, women minister in British government, women senators in
Vietnam: habitual R
54.They are facing up to difficult, puzzling problems: insufficient R
55.They can talk about their work at the office, about society, about life
of their children: habitual R
56.The problems of American family that it mentioned is also problems
of many families over the world: habitual R
57.They feel very very bored: insufficient R
58.This change in family life will cause the change in social life: habitual
59.I am not sure that my love is as much as my parents’ love for me:
60.I think parents shouldn’t pamper children that makes children have
dependent thought: habitual R
61.It not only tell us about the story between a boy and an apple tree, but
it also make us know “how much our parents sacrifice for us”: habitual
62.All of the parents on the world have their children and want to make
their children feel happy: habitual R
63.Women can also take over all tasks which men can do and can take
care of family very well: modal R
64.However, Vietnamese women as well as American women shouldn’t
forget their natural function in family: habitual R
65.In my opinion, family life in my country is different from American’s
family life: habitual R
66.I hope family life in my country will have more changes like
American’s family life: habitual R
APPENDIX 2: SAMPLES OF SUBJECTIVITY – OBJECTIVITY
i. The use of prepositions
1. ... which they had thrown in the sand
2. all of the parents on the world
II. The use of passive voice
1. I strongly believe that he can understand it clearly and deeply
2. We can see that the husband and the wife together solve the problem of
housework by sharing it.
3. We know that the mother of this story didn’t want her son to boast about
4. On the whole of the content, I see the article is arranged scientifically
5. I know this is really difficult and a big challenge with them.
6. If both wife and husband can cook dinner, do housework in turns and
take care of children, I am sure that they will have a better understand
of each other.
7. I think that it was difficult to put up with, especially with a mother.
8. I think we are happier than her because we can see.
9. So I understand how to live more and more significant
10.We see that Andexen’s work expressed his prominent talent, his subtle
soul and his great love to children.
11. A lot of people say: That love story is very interesting and romantic.
12.For a girl like me, romantic stories are the most suitable ones, I think
13.It’s a timeless tale of courage and friendship, I think so.
14.Vietnamese is extremely loyal, I believe so.
15.I think that housework must be done more than by women.
16.I believe that they will do well.
17.And I sure that US also has many excellent women like that.
18.For those reason, I think women’s role is very important in family and
19.But I think sharing work with your wife or your husband has many
beliefs, so I agree with it.
20.And I think he will be the happiest father in the world when he knows
how much they love him.
21.I think the article is very successful in reflecting detailed the changes in
22.When tell about family life now, the whole people think that the
women are happy with their equal, active life.
23.In Vietnam, I think we should and need have many househusbands like
24.I am sure that I am not the boy, who only receives, does not know to
give. I know it’s difficult to do, because I am not sure that my love is as
much as my parent’s love for me.
25.First of all, I see that the position of Vietnamese women in society is
26.I think that women can do many jobs as well as men.
27.The two things that I see is the changes in men’s role in family life.
28.I think it’s equal to men and women if they do housework together.
29.I think that their life would be happier when she was able to see.
30.In general, I agree with it but I think something it does not mention.
31. I think that Vietnamese people should learn about “house – husband”
or “house – wife” to be suitable for the development of the society.
32.I think that everyone should share their works with their family’s
33.We can see in some families, women still do very much work at home.
APPENDIX 3: SAMPLES OF ACCURACY – INACCURACY
The use of genitive indicators
1. It is “If you are not a dream” of Marc Levi
2. ... to change thought of people
3. the society of people
4. with style of an experienced people
5. the freedom of the women in family’s housework
6. the deep longing of the people
7. all the country’s young
8. which marked name of Nam Cao writer
9. the death of Chi Pheo
10.the love of Chi Dau
11.thought of children about their parents
12.I’ll try my best to remember and repeat name (lack of possessive
indicator) in my mind
13.Name’s story is “Win the fear”
14.a famous writer of Vietnam
15.the attitude of Lao Hac to Vang
16.Besides the characteristics of using vocabulary, the voice of every
character is described differently.
17.“The Last Leaf” of O’Henry
18.This is a meaningful story about the life’s hope.
19.the death of him
20.belief of people
21.the working of woman
22.help of their husbands
23.dreams of their children
24.but then, he realizes wife’s ability and interest of the housework (lack
of possessive indicator)
25.name’s story is Khi Dot
26.the writer encouraged the youth to have my own ambition (misuse of
27.short stories of many famous writer
28.the charity of Nguyen Khai
29.everyone has their own hobbies
30.this beautiful story of Hector Malot
31.loyalty of people in Vietnam
32.the United States’s family life
33.After reading the article “Family life in the United States” of the
writer Jacob Sand
34.They need more husband’s support (lack of possessive indicator)
35. life of their children
36.idea of children
37.all behaviors of parents
38.the sacrifice of the parents
39.the bad behavior of that boy
40.an interesting story of a successful person
41.Due to envy, Cam, her step’s younger sister plan is to kill her (lack of
42.And doing housework is the responsibility of wives
43.the position of Vietnamese women
44.the feelings of men and women
45.function or task of the wife and the husband in family.
APPENDIX 4: SAMPLES OF DIRECTNESS – INDRECTNESS
Direct – Indirect expression (Getting to the point – Beating around the
1. The man, who is the husband, the father isn’t responsible for only
earning money, he must share house chores with his wife, because
women nowadays also play an important role in society.
2. Besides, the author also mentioned the way to solve the problem of
looking after children in their life, which help us know more about
them, thus I can learn many good exercises for my life in the future.
3. The introduction: Have you ever read the book “I can do it – How to use
affirmation to change your life” of Young Publisher? If you have never
read, I advise you to read it immediately right as the book said, this is
the book which can change your life. It includes many useful
commentaries. They provide us with interesting knowledge. Especially,
I really like the topic “Health”
4. The conclusion: Although some people think that this story is suitable to
children because it’s about an animal and there are some senses about
treating badly with animals, death and some rude senses, this story had
high – educational value and it was good for all adults and children.
5. I believe that all the country’s young will be more mature in their
thinking and more grown up in their ambitions not only for their own
benefit, but also for the benefit of their country.
6. Catherine Franz wrote “ My passion, my life” on Ezine Article to talk
about his life. The story is interesting and I like it. Its content is
expressed in the title. It’s about the author’s life and passion.
7. I read many books and stories. I think that it is a good thing for me to
broaden my mind. Among the stories I have ever read is “An artist and a
farmer” I really like it because of its interest.
8. When I’ve finished reading this story, one other story I had read arose in
my mind (an old man with his niece and the beach with much rubbish)
The story told that....
9. Nam Cao’s a famous writer in literature of Vietnam. He contributed all
life to literature. His stories attract readers because of their profound
contents. One of the best stories is “Chi Pheo”
10.Nowadays, society is developing, equality between men and women is
being improved. When I read article “Family life in the United States” I
feel it very interesting.
11.Have you ever asked yourself that tomorrow would not exist? That’s the
feeling of a girl in a story I’ve read. That pessimistic girl is Johnsy in
“The last leaf” of O’Henry.
12.I like reading fictions. Fictions help me understand much about the real
life. Tat Den is the fiction I like best. Tat Den was written by Ngo Tat
13.Tam was a main character of the story, was a gentle and studious girl.
But she had to face up to trouble before finding happiness. Now our life
has trouble. It’s important that we must be strong enough to overcome
14.But there is a different perspective which can be reasonable. Whether
the story makes you better in your life? Whether you become too proud
or always feel that you’re perfect? So you can have a poor motivation.
15.I like reading books very much. One of the books I like most is
“Chicken soup for soul”. In that book, there are many interesting stories.
“The ambition of the youth” is the story I like most. This is a simple
story but very interesting.
16.The story tells about the way which an expert in time management
putted big rocks gravel, sand and water in a jar. Can you guess which
was the first thing that he chose to put in the jar? The answer is
amazing. That’s the big rocks. And then grave, sand and the last is
water. Do you know what’s the point of this illustration? The truth is “If
you don’t put the big rocks in first, you’ll never get them in at all.”
17.It deal with equality between men and women nowadays. Of course I
agree with it because besides wife, husbands in family must take part in
bringing the happiness to every member of that family. He should take
care of their children and to homework. And the article told about that.
18.Legend are always mental food for children. They are not only
interesting stories but also useful lessons. One of the stories which is
loved most in Vietnam is Tam Cam.
19.I have read some articles about the change of family life in the world in
the electronic newspaper: Vietnamnet. They all bring me enjoyable
feelings and give me food of thought.
(cited from first – year students’ composition at English Department, HULIS)