Vietnamese and English Greetings

Topics: Greeting, English language, Second language Pages: 12 (3287 words) Published: October 4, 2012


Vietnamese and English Greetings: A contrastive analysis

Instructor : Nguyen Ngoc Vu

Student: Tran Thi Bich Hanh

Class: 4A-07

Ho Chi Minh City 12/2010


We learn a second language or a foreign language for different purposes. It may ensure a better job, a better payment, or new opportunities as well as open ways to meet people from other countries and cultures. "A different language is a different vision of life.”(Federico Fellini, Italian film director). Personal, professional, social, and economic considerations all point to the advantages of learning foreign languages. It cannot be denied that English has become one of the most important languages in the world over the past several decades. Therefore, more and more people want to master the English language. In order to do this, we should be not only good at four skills but also improve knowledge about sociolinguistic. As we know that different cultures have different ways of communication. The learners of the second language so often have difficulties in using the target language appropriately. Greeting is one of these problems. Greeting is considered as an important aspect in cultural life of each nation. There are various ways of greeting in all over the world. In Western countries such as France, Spain or Italy, people often greet each other by hugging or kissing on cheeks while in the Middle East or Asian countries people usually shake hands- greeting in a discreet and respectful way. In Vietnam, greeting plays an important role as these sayings “Lời chào cao hơn mâm cỗ” or “Dao năng liếc năng sắc, người năng chào năng quen”. It means that Vietnamese are extremely serious in greeting. According to Lê QuangThiêm, the greeting presents not only feature of language but also culture, custom as well as person’s dignity. From these factors, this paper aims at doing a contrastive analysis in Vietnamese and English greetings to help English learners communicate successfully. There are five parts in this paper: abstract, introduction (greeting’s definition, some common situations for greeting), Vietnamese and English greetings (greetings in Vietnamese, greetings in English, the contrast between Vietnamese and English greeting strategies, the differences in greeting topic between Vietnamese and English), some applications in teaching and learning English and conclusion.

Definition of Greeting
In fact, no one can give an accurate definition of greeting. Here are some common definitions of greeting in terms of anthropology, sociology, linguistics, wikipedia and Vietnamese definition.

In “An Evaluation of Greeting Exchanges in Textbook and Real life setting”, two linguistics Schegloff and Sacks (1973) consider greeting as a speech event including of two parts side by side serial and sequential such as Greeting- Greeting ( ex: A: Hello, B: Hi) or Greeting- Request for information (ex: A: Hi, B: Have you finished your homework?)

According to Goffman (1971) - a sociolinguist prefers greeting as access rituals consisting of two types: passing greeting and engaging greeting (1971:79) and constituted of several interlinking behaviors: verbal linguistic form, term of address, non- verbal and social context.

While in anthropological point of view, Fieg and Mortlock (1989) classify greeting as “ritualistic expression”, which carry some types of pragmatic meaning affected by social factors and cross- cultural differences. According to a definition on Wikipedia, greeting is an act of communication in which human beings (as well as other members of the animal kingdom) intentionally make their presence known to each other, to show attention to, and to suggest a type of relationship or social status between individuals or groups of people coming in contact with each other. Greetings...
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