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Influences Of Some Vietnamese Cultural Factors On Freshmen’S English   Nguyen Thi Phuong Thao 051 E2
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Influences Of Some Vietnamese Cultural Factors On Freshmen’S English   Nguyen Thi Phuong Thao 051 E2 Influences Of Some Vietnamese Cultural Factors On Freshmen’S English Nguyen Thi Phuong Thao 051 E2 Document Transcript

  • ACCEPTANCE 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. Signature May 4th 2009
  • ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS 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 thesis. 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.
  • ABSTRACT 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 Acknowledgements.......................................................................................i Abstract.........................................................................................................ii 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 1.5. Organization...........................................................................................4 CHAPTER 2: LITERATURE REVIEW..................................................6 2.1. Key concepts..........................................................................................6 2.1.1. Cross – cultural communication.......................................................6 Culture.......................................................................................6 Communication.........................................................................8 Cross – cultural communication................................................10 2.1.2. Language and Culture......................................................................11 Language and Culture in general..............................................11 Language and Culture in L2 acquisitions..................................12 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 The use of prepositions..............................................................16 The use of passive voice............................................................19
  • 2.2.2. Directness – Indirectness..................................................................20 2.2.3. Accuracy – Inaccuracy.....................................................................23 The use of tenses........................................................................23 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. Findings..................................................................................................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 Second culture acquisition in L2 teaching and learning.............49 in general Second culture acquisition in second language writing..............51 in particular 4.2.2. Teachers as a means of second culture learning...............................52 4.2.3. The teaching of English language writing in classrooms..................54 Reminding students of the differences between L1 and L2 .......55 Using reading in the writing class...............................................56 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 study 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 communication. 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 English. 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 redundancy. 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. 1.5. Organization 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 improvement.
  • Chapter 5 – Conclusion, which is the last chapter, summarizes the major findings of the study, the limitations and suggestions for further research.
  • 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 Culture 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 three elements:  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 follows:
  • Produ cts Behavi Ideas ors 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 of elements. 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 social contexts. 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. Communication 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 communication Verbal Spoken words Written words communication Non – verbal Tones of voices, Gestures, communication signs, vocal quality movement, appearance, facial expression, and so on. 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) 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 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 communities.
  • 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)) 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, and attitudes. 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 used.” (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.
  • 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 places. 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 Under Under Ego 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 Ego 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. 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 this spring). - Chiếc bánh chưng lớn nhất Việt Nam được làm vào mùa xuân năm nay. (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 sentences like: 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 acceptable: 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 8/8 respectively). 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 competence. 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: 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 inaccuracy: 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 verb tenses. 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) 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 consideration. 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 follows: …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 problem. 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 collection. 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. Findings 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 reflections 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. 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 passive voice. 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 following samples: • 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 mother. • A lot of people say: that love story is very interesting and romantic. • 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 this issue. 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. 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 topic “Health”. 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. 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 cultures. 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 Vietnamese culture. 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 group.
  • 13.30% 13.30% The name of story and its writer 13.30% Animate noun and inanimate one Two inanimate nouns Lack and misuse of possessive adjectives 60% 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. 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 pie chart: Modal redundancy 32% 38% Insufficient redundancy Habitual 30% redundancy 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 factors 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. 70 66 60 Subjectivity vs. 50 48 Objectivity Directness vs. 40 35 Indirectness 30 Accuracy vs. Inaccuracy 23 20 Redundancy 10 0 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 cultural factor. 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 writings 1. Subjectivity – Objectivity Use of preposition 2 of directions Use of passive 33 voice 2. Directness – Indirectness Indirect expressions 19 Location of 4 information 3. Accuracy – Inaccuracy The use of 3 conjunction The use of genitive 45 indicators
  • 4. Redundancy Modal redundancy 21 Insufficient 20 redundancy Habitual 25 redundancy 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
  • Second culture acquisition in L2 teaching and learning in general 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 culture specific. 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 follow: 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 nonverbal aspects.
  • 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 language. 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. Second culture acquisition in second language writing in particular
  • 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 follow: 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 language teaching.
  • 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 acquisition. 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 understandings. 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 discourse. 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. 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. 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. 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 access. 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 arguments. 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 language acquisition. 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.
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  • 4. Do Thi Mai Thanh. (1999). Some English and Vietnamese cross – cultural differences in requesting. M.A thesis. College of Foreign Languages, VNU. 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 Associates. 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 University Press. 21.Richard, M. (1996). I Wonder Why the Telephone Rings. New York: Kingfisher. 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 http://www.discoverlanguages.org/i4a/pages/index.cfm?pageid=3652 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. APPENDICES 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: insufficient R 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: modal R 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 R 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: insufficient R
  • 36.What do you think about their love story? How do you feel about?: habitual R 37.Many years later they sometimes kept in touch with each other through few informal letters. Even they have never met each other: insufficient R 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: insufficient R 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: insufficient R 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 R
  • 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: insufficient R 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 R 59.I am not sure that my love is as much as my parents’ love for me: habitual R 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 R 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 CATEGORIES 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 their family. 4. On the whole of the content, I see the article is arranged scientifically and suitably. 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 so. 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 society.
  • 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 American family. 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 in America. 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 changing. 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 members. 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 possessive indicator) 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 possessive indicator) 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 bush) 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 To. 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 it. 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)