What makes the Vietnamese language unique

April 7, 2016

Without much warning, two Vietnamese students approached me. I was inspecting the souvenirs in the post office, one of the most popular sights in town, when someone tapped me on the shoulder. My couch surfing buddy Huy has already told me about it, otherwise I would have been very surprised about the question from the two of them. Like many other Vietnamese students, the two of them go to the tourist attractions to practice English with the foreigners.

I think it's pretty brave of the two of them to just tap a stranger on the shoulder and start talking. "Hello, how do you like Vietnam?", "How old are you?", "Where are you from?" Because I wasn't pressed for time, I sat down with Minh and Phie on one of the many benches in the post office and we talked. Phie was very shy and it was difficult to understand his pronunciation. I often had to ask questions or practice articulating the words with him. But after a while his nervousness diminished and we talked about all kinds of things. Since Vietnamese is a tonal language and in conventional language lessons in schools is often almost only written and hardly spoken (fortunately, in the German lessons I attend this is different!), Some students therefore have some catching up to do in everyday use of the language. In general, I think talking to foreign visitors is a good idea. I just hope that other tourists don't react annoyed or overwhelmed and that they also take a moment for a conversation.

Kindly please

At the end we had to repeat our conversation again for the camera. It was Phie's homework to record a five-minute conversation in English and show it to his teacher. It was a bit strange to be filmed sweaty and exhausted from the day. But well now. With 34 ° C outside, the other tourists didn't look any better.

I hope that my spontaneous language lessons helped and that the teacher is happy with the result. The next time I have to go to the post office, I'll take a little more time with me. Because who knows who will then want to talk to me to practice English.