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Why is English a Vague Concept and a Measure of Value in Vietnam?

Whyis English a Vague Concept and a Measure of Value in Vietnam?

There is a problem that always makes me to ache that after many yearsof reformations in learning English in school, many English languagecenters spring up and many internet sources are given to more peoplewith the cheaper price. The majority of Vietnamese people, especiallythe young people still cannot confidently use English as a tool tohelp them step out the world and bring the world closer to Vietnam.Many people spend almost a decade to learn English, yet its adoption,usage, and mastery in Vietnam is still poor. One of the mostunappealing facets of the English has always been fabricateddiffidence, a self-deprecation aspect that develops from a profoundsense of superiority. This self-deprecation facet has traditionallybeen a subterfuge to propitiate inferiors and tease equals. Mostpeople view English speakers as intractable, patronizing, andsupporters of aggrandisement. Although people feel that theself-deprecation and vagueness of English ought to shape theirperception in learning the language, the value and opportunitiesplaced on it should influence them to undertake its comprehension.Thus, it is critical to gain insight into why English is a vagueconcept, self- deprecating, and sometimes a measure of value withdifferent salary remaining as an obsession to the vast majority ofpeople in Vietnam?

Reasons for thevagueness

I have found there are three psychological issues that needclarification. Lack of clear motivation is one of the aspectthat causes the self-deprecating in English. Motivation is thekey term in language learning. If you are not part of the Englishlovers or discover the beauty of its sentences, you should accostEnglish in a pragmatic way. Comprehending a language is an essentialcommunication skill, as it allows an individual to connect with otherpeople, learn different things and cultures, undertake things, andread extensively (Liu and Laohawiriyanon 29). The number of peoplewho speak English in Vietnam is low thus, it is easy for beginnersto lose direction and forget why they are learning. A learner willmost likely hang out with a person who does not have any knowledge orclue of English. By connecting with native speakers daily, a personwill always find it difficult to remain motivated. In fact, when onebegins to be bogged-down in learning, it becomes easy to perceiveEnglish cultivation journey in a different light. Making friends withEnglish speakers is one way of remaining motivated: the learner willspeak frequently, learn the language faster, get to engage inconversations, and develop confidence.

The use of poor materials has prevented most Vietnamese from learningor fully understanding English. Learning a new language is always achallenging task and without extensive or quality resources, itbecomes even more problematic. The main problem in Vietnam is thatVietnamese teachers usually teach the students (Anh 120). The twolanguages are different, with dissimilar sounds and lexicons hence,learners will find themselves destitute when it comes tocommunicating in English. They might understand it, but withoutlearning how to pronounce words and develop a new sound aspect, itwill permanently become a problem (Anh 121: Nguyen and Richard 16).Instructors should train the students on sound systems,pronunciation, semantic, and usage. Otherwise, Vietnamese will alwaysfind it difficult to communicate in English. Having opportunities toexpose to English early is going to be good. If you do not have thatopportunity, you are going to be bad at English. In fact, if you haveidentified English as a tool to achieve your goals, you do not needto speak English perfectly. You just need to be good “enough” foryour own goals. To be good “enough”, you have to know your finalgoal, what your motivations are. To compensate for its lack ofopportunities, you have to practice your English as much as you can.Anyway, English is the tool, so do not wait to use it until you aregood at it. The more you practice, the better you become.Whatreaders with difficulty learning English should do?

If you need to learn English well and quickly, you will have to staymotivated, confident, and focused. As Nguyen points out, English is amajor dialect that defines international communication (259). Thereis a certain measure of value placed on English, and the sooner youdrop that self-deprecation aspect about English, the earlier you willlearn and appreciate the language. Soon you will become aninternational student and you will not expect other students to speakin your native language. They are going to speak in English thus,you will need to wake up and go to that foreign language class.English is the passport to progression in the academic world andother occupations (Nguyen 259). So, without a good grasp of theEnglish language, it becomes extremely difficult for a person tointeract well with the wider international community. You no longerneed to look at English as a dialect of the Westerners or as a pathtowards criticism for nationalism. As Liu and Laohawiriyanon contend,you will gain social power, dream a better world, and learn differentcultures (30). Moreover, it will prepare you for a life abroad andgives you an insight into the diversity the world has to offer. Likelearning any other language, you will find it challenging: unexpectedpronunciations, extensive tones, infuriating exemptions to rules, andodd rules. Yet, the perseverance and dedication you will cultivatewill open a new experience. You will develop new skills, growconfidence, interact with new people and understand the requirementsof the university you wish to join.

I have tried many techniques to improve my English. I must speak likenative speakers: right intonation, accent, but I cannot. I am a badlanguage learner. No! I have found that making up an excuse to avoidyour motivation is all a method issue. You tell yourself that you arebad and that creates a psychological feel back loop of you beingdown. If you are determined to learn English well, start using it ininformal conversation. As long as your English is clear you are fine.This is a delusion. The best way to get over this imagination is stopthinking about it and to keep encouraging yourself you will triumph.You should not develop inferiority to your intonation as it limitsyour chances. Moreover, I believe that today`s English, as a globallanguage, has become popular because of the existing differentintonation. Learning the language for me was stimulating: new soundsystems, intonations, unheard nuances, and so many rules that seemedto change every time, but eventually I succeeded. You do not have todespair especially bearing in mind, cultivating the new language willhelp you communicate extensively and perhaps obtain a position in oneof the best international universities.

Purposes oflearning English

By learningEnglish, one gets insight into different cultures. Most Vietnamesewho study in international universities enrol mostly inEnglish-speaking countries. Consequently, it will allow you tounderstand that country’s culture and her people. The learningopens a fresh world of comprehension and connection and with littleor no censorship in these countries a new perspective will be borne(Nguyen and Richard 22). If you understand English, you will enjoyreading the works of some of the most celebrated writers. Theliterature of George Orwell, William Shakespeare, Oscar Wilde, andCharles Dickens will expand your knowledge of English and classicalliterature. Understanding Vietnamese alone inhibits a person’scritical viewpoint of other culture or his own. However, studying andcultivating the capacity to speak English will make a personassociate with different cultures through websites, TV, books,newspapers, articles, and conversations. Perhaps, the most remarkableadvantage of learning English for a person willing to study abroad isaccess to some of the best universities. Some of the most celebratedand highly regarded universities: Harvard, Yale, MIT, Cambridge,Oxford, Columbia, and California University are English-speaking. Fornon-native speakers to be admitted in these universities, they willneed to undertake an English test to demonstrate that their level ofEnglish meets the academic setting demands.

Learning Englishadds value to a person’s life. English provides multifacetedpossibilities for people especially Vietnamese willing to becomeinternational students. English is spoken in more nations than anyother dialect with roughly 60 countries using it as an officiallanguage (Oxford Royale Academy 2). It means that learning to speakand write in English will allow an individual to interconnectexcellently in various nations, opening up lots of opportunities.English speakers find it easy to obtain employment inEnglish-speaking countries. It is the formal language of NATO, UN,and EU, and the most frequently espoused Second Language in manycountries (Oxford Royale Academy 2). You will get many opportunitiesand a great number of likely careers to choose after leavinguniversity. If you are seeking to join an international university,you will need to understand how the world operates and English willcome in handy. According to Nguyen, Vietnam needs to readapt approachgiven the global incorporation and socio-economic development in anEnglish-dominant setting (265). This means that learning English is adesirable aspect especially for a person willing to work or studyoverseas. You should develop the motivation to learn the language andat least interact with different cultures, if not to take advantageof the numerous opportunities that will come your way.


Anh, Kieu Hang Kim. &quotUse of Vietnamese in English languageteaching in Vietnam: Attitudes of Vietnamese universityteachers.&quot&nbspEnglish Language Teaching&nbsp3.2(2010): 119-128.

Liu, Songmei, and Chonlada Laohawiriyanon. &quotStudents’Attitudes towards Cultural Learning in the English Classroom: A CaseStudy of Non-English Major Students in a ChineseUniversity.&quot&nbspInternational Journal of English LanguageEducation&nbsp1.3 (2013): 28-42.

Nguyen, Hoa Thi Mai, and R. B. Richard Jr. &quotModels of mentoringin language teacher education.&quot (2016).

Nguyen, Ngan. “How English Has Displaced Russian and Other ForeignLanguages in Vietnam Since “Doi Moi”.”&nbspInternationalJournal of Humanities and Social Science&nbsp2.23 (2012):259-266.

Oxford Royale Academy. &quotWhy Should I LearnEnglish? – 10 Compelling Reasons for EFL Learners.” Oxford RoyaleAcademy (2014). Web.https://www.oxford-royale.co.uk/articles/reasons-learn-english.html