Vietnamese Culture Kento reynolds

Vietnam is the 14th populated country in the world. There are about 95 million people. The shape of the country is known as the letter "S"

The Vietnamese alphabet was devised by European Missionaries in the 17th century. The purpose for devising the Vietnamese alphabet was to translate the Bible into Vietnamese. Vietnamese is a tonal language. For example, if you say hài (with a low falling tone) it means funny. However, if you say hái (with a high rising tone), it means to get. Therefore, it is important to know the tone when speaking.

According to the textbook, "Intercultural communication studies often focus on how cultural groups differ from one another." (Martin & Nakayama, 84). Even though I was born in Japan, I was influenced more by American culture. Vietnamese culture and American culture differ greatly. American culture believes in expressing emotions whereas Vietnamese culture focus more on internalizing emotions. For example, when Vietnamese are sad, they don't show people that they are sad. Vietnamese people also do not like showing hands in class because they don't want people to view them like they are bragging. On the other hand, American students like to show hands to make people think they are smart, and I believe Americans brag more. Another difference between the two cultures is that American culture emphasizes the extracurricular activities while Vietnamese culture focus more on academics. I did more extracurricular activities while my interviewer Kay Nguyen did more activities in school. Interview (Kay Nguyen): One thing I noticed about Vietnam is that they have common last names. For example, Nguyen, Tran, Phan, etc are very common. So I asked my Vietnamese friend about Vietnamese last names. I asked her how many family names are they? She replied "About 100 family names but about 20 of which are very common." Her name is also Nguyen, so she was in the common last name. I also noticed in the past while hanging out with her how when her parents are mad at her, she doesn't say anything and keeps quiet. This week I asked her why, she replied that "In Vietnamese culture, talking back to one's parents is considered insolent and not tolerated." Vietnamese culture focus on loving, respecting, and obeying the parents.
In Chapter 4 textbook, it describes that "How we think about the past very much influences how we think about our- selves and others even here in the United States. Judith went to college in south- ern Virginia after growing up in Delaware and Pennsylvania. She was shocked to encounter the antipathy that her dormitory suitemates expressed toward north- erners. The suitemates stated emphatically that they had no desire to visit the North; they felt certain that “Yankees” were unfriendly and unpleasant people." (Martin & Nakayama, 122) Similarly, the interviewer Kay Nguyen feels the same way as Judith. Vietnam war between the South of Vietnam and the North of Vietnam affected her. She is from the South and she feels that Northern people are unfriendly. How the past influences how and what we think of ourselves and other is crazy.
Last question I had for the interviewer was about social and culture identities discussed in chapter 5. I asked the interviewer if she knew her gender, sexual, age, racial, and religious identity. She described that her gender identity is female, sexual identity is heterosexual, age 25, race as Vietnamese, and Buddhist as her religion identity.
For this project, I participated in two activities. I went to a Vietnamese restaurant near my house and I tried to observe people (In addition, I am taking a Vietnamese class). I noticed how a lot of people were slurping. In America, slurping can be considered rude, but in Vietnamese culture, slurping means that they are enjoying the meal. Therefore, slurping is considered positive instead of negative. I also participated in a Vietnamese event. However, this was a couple of months ago. The event is called tet festival and it was held to celebrate new year. Tet festival is held every year. They had many dance performances. I learned that they celebrate to get rid of bad luck in old years and bring good luck to the new year.


Martin, Judith, and Thomas Nakayama. Intercultural Communication in Context . 5th ed. n.p., n.d. Print.

“Vietnamese New Year (Tet)”. Vietnam Online. Apr 1, 2017.

Interviewer: Kay Nguyen

Created By
Kento Reynolds

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