Your semi-hemi-weekly Vietnamese progress report


Not a model of speed, really (work plus writing leave me with little spare time). At least I’ve finally managed to learn the basics for the family unit (which also double as pronouns for most of them, so pretty useful). Of course, it only occurred to me after I finished that I probably wasn’t going to need the ones for the paternal side of the family (unless I was referring to them in a conversation with a Vietnamese)…

The book I’m using is good for getting some of the basics right (in addition to the semi-weekly pronunciation/vocabulary lessons taught by Mom/Grandmother), but I have to be careful with the pronunciation, which is the “standardised” one (read “mostly Northern”, as opposed to my Southern maternal family). Their use of pronouns is also problematic: they overuse the first person tôi (which draws a little too much attention to itself), and of course they fail to take into account the fact that the learner of the language could be Vietnamese or related to Vietnamese, which means they cheerfully skip the modes of address specific to relatives–which I’m likely to need, and fast, as the whole maternal family now knows what I’m up to.
That’s what I can spot; it leaves me a little worried about the stuff I can’t spot…

I was also reading a book on the history of Vietnam, which I thought was going to give me a more formal idea of the subject, but I stopped when I got to the part which described the fall of Saigon as a moment of rejoicing for the whole country. Er, no? I very much doubt all the inhabitants of Saigon were very happy to be “freed” from “the tyranny of a Western-controlled government”… [1]

[1]I’ll freely admit I’m not very objective either about the time period, but then again it’s not exactly easy, considering my family history.[2]
[2] And I’ll stop there, because this is getting a little too close to heart and too personal to be unpacked on a blog.


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