Wed, Dec 04, 2019 - Page 14 News List

Vietnamese language classes gaining popularity
越南語正夯 桃園國中小七六七人選讀

First grade elementary student Lin Hsin-yi, right, speaks Vietnamese to journalists from Vietnam on Thursday at Dongan Elementary School in Taoyuan’s Pingjhen District.

Photo: Hsu Chen-hsun, Liberty Times

“Xin chao cac ban!” Looking confidently into the camera lens, first grade student Lin Hsin-yi says “Hello everyone” in fluent Vietnamese, responding to a greeting from a foreign journalist. Lin isn’t a second generation immigrant, she is a child with a keen interest in foreign cultures. “When I’m older I hope I can travel all over Vietnam with my friends,” says Lin.

Another first grader, Sung Tzu-ching, who has a Taiwanese father and Vietnamese mother, says that she speaks Vietnamese with her mother at home and is really happy that she can study her mother tongue together with her friends while at school. Sung says her teacher uses games to teach the spelling of words and they also read Vietnamese children’s books during class. Sung hopes that when she returns to Vietnam for the winter and summer vacations, she will be able to sing Vietnamese nursery rhymes and watch television with her grandparents.

This year has seen the establishment of 253 “new immigrant language” classes in elementary and junior high schools within Taoyuan alone, teaching seven different languages. Vietnamese makes up 70 percent, with a total of 767 students currently studying the language in the city. The unprecedented growth of Vietnamese language learning in Taiwanese schools has attracted the attention of Vietnam’s national state broadcaster. Reporters traveled to Dongan Elementary School in Taoyuan’s Pingjhen District, a forerunner of new immigrant language tuition, to film a program that will document how the mother-tongue language of second-generation Vietnamese immigrants is being taught in Taiwan.

School principal Huang Mu-yin says new immigrant language classes were introduced into the school’s curriculum just over two months ago, and many students have already enthusiastically signed up. Huang says the school provides three new immigrant language classes, with over 40 students enrolled across different grades. Huang adds that parents are extremely supportive, not least since they have one eye on the explosive growth of Southeast Asian economies. Many parents believe that if their children possess a second foreign language in addition to English, they will have a more rounded international perspective once they grow up, Huang says.

According to Huang, the Vietnamese journalists were hugely impressed by the children’s amazing spoken Vietnamese. Huang adds they could scarcely believe that in just over two months, most students have gone from zero to mastering a large number of words, including daily expressions and personal introductions.

(Translated by Edward Jones, Taipei Times)

「Xin chao cac ban!(大家好)」一年級的林欣翊面對鏡頭毫不怯場,大方、流利地以越南語向海外記者問好,欣翊雖非新住民二代,卻對異國文化有濃厚興趣,她童言童語地說:「希望長大後能跟好友玩遍越南。」






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