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Learning Vietnamese from Scratch October 2, 2007

Posted by Edwin in Learning Tips, Vietnamese.

Not me. Well, perhaps in the future.

Stuart is tackling a new language again. This time he is learning Vietnamese from scratch.

I have not checked out Stuart’s blog for months, due to his lack of updates. Today, I just hit it for no particular reason, and here he is, describing his first 5 days learning Vietnamese.

I am not going to comment on his methodology here, though I highly recommend readers to read his post. One thing I like about Stuart is his attitude. You know how serious he is just by watching his YouTube clips or reading his posts. His approach is not radical, but very down-to-earth. All you need is enthusiasm and hard work.

Yes, hard work. This is the element that many language learners seem to be lacking these days. There are actually people out there who are proclaiming that learning language is easy. There is no need to put in any effort, or at least the effort is minimal. One of my personal favourites is the idea of sleep learning. I don’t think you can get more effortless than that!

But then this ‘minimal effort’ philosophy might come in more subtle forms. I will probably discuss some of them in my future posts.


The Vietnamese Announcement December 17, 2006

Posted by Edwin in Vietnamese.
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A few days ago, after a long meeting at work, I and some colleagues started chit-chatting. A Vietnamese-Chinese colleague ended up teaching us Vietnamese.

He showed us the 6 tones in Vietnamese. 3 of them were easy to pronounce, but the other 3 were difficult.

Then I began to speak some Vietnamese that I knew. I didn’t actually know any Vietnamese except the first few lines in the famous Vietnamese radio announcement that the whole city of Hong Kong should know. Other colleagues in the room was amazed and found my Vietnamese sounded quite authentic. But in reality, my Vietnamese colleague failed to understand what I said after the first sentence.

This Vietnamese announcement became well-known in Hong Kong back in the late 80’s, when it used to be played in the radio every night, to inform the Vietnamese refugees coming from sea the colony’s new refugee policy. Later, it was quoted everywhere in the colony by people who pretended to speak the language. The first sentence “bắt đầu từ nay” means “effective from now on”.

I am surpised to find that Wikipedia has a whole entry about this announcement.