Learning a new language is always a worthwhile challenge. By doing so, you will expand the boundaries of your knowledge, unlocking all the secrets of a different culture.
Learning Vietnamese will not only provide you with the ability to communicate with over 90 million people, but to delve into their literature, arts, religion and philosophy – over three thousand years of history.
Moreover, in an increasingly globalized age, learning to speak a language such as Vietnamese it is an opportunity to discover the best of ourselves, and to increase our opportunities to work, trade and thrive.
The idea of this short article is to share with you some tips and guidelines that may be useful in learning Vietnamese. Regardless of its apparent difficulty, Vietnamese is becoming one of the languages with more students around the world, especially in the West.
The opportunity to outsource to Vietnam – in opposition to countries like China, where production costs are rising, and benefit from an expanding economy, have significantly expanded the attractiveness of the language.
Regardless of any difficulties, with patience, effort and the right motivation you will achieve your goal much quicker than you think.
Learn like a child
Experts talk about the importance of “immersion” when learning a language. As an expat living in Vietnam, immersing yourself in the language and Vietnamese culture will be extremely easy. You need to avoid relying in English to communicate with locals, and force yourself to use the language as often as possible.
Read, listen to the radio, watch TV, browse Vietnamese websites and read local media. If you like movies, choose Vietnamese ones over those in English, or use subtitles to get used to their vocabulary and pronunciation.
Listening to music with lyrics in Vietnamese that you like is also an excellent way to teach yourself the language almost effortlessly. Don’t worry if you miss anything, or a lot, the key is to be constant and soak it all up like a sponge.
This way you will eventually become fluent. The innocence and zest for learning and experiencing new things, almost like a preschool, are your best ally. Of course, this involves setting aside all your prejudices. Learn like a child, forget the rules and enjoy all the sensory stimuli that provides your environment.
Talk, even if you sound terrible
Don’t be ashamed to commit mistakes. Interact with Vietnamese people. Talk to them at every chance, as if you were a child who has found a new word and feels an urge to use it whenever you can.
Failing is part of the learning process, and to advance you must keep on using the language. You may even want to find one or several language exchange partners, or even private tutors to practice every day.
The only way to exercise is to incorporate it into our routine, even if your pronunciation is initially horrendous. At the beginning, it happens all the time. It doesn’t matter. We encourage you to speak from day one; discover the music of every word, the way words acquire different meanings when spoken in different contexts and combinations.
You will notice that, with the passage of time, everything will sound smoother and become even more enjoyable.
Read everything you get your hands on
Actively speaking Vietnamese every day is a crucial aspect in learning the language, but reading just as important. You don’t need to follow any textbook, simply jump onto anything you feel attracted to, be it comics, newspapers, or children books.
At the beginning, your dictionary will be your best friend, but it will increasingly become less and less necessary. You may also choose to play games, such as graphic or conversational adventures. Use all resources at your disposal, anything that keeps you hooked and motivated.
Be patient, don’t get frustrated and stay focused. In the mid and long term, if you persevere, success is guaranteed. Chúc may mắn!