by
on May 1, 2019 on 5/1/19 from

entry4: on fears of losing my accent p1

// so.. I had this fear.

I had this fear that I would start losing my accent after taking Vietnamese classes here. 

//background (about accents!!)
In Vietnam, there are three major regional accents people refer to when talking about differentiation in speech. These three accents come Miền Bắc, Trung, Nam. The northern, middle, and southern parts of Vietnam, in that order. Of course within each of these regions are their own differences, but I don’t know how to and definitely could not identify just a few even if I tried. It’d take a looooot of time, research, and commitment for me to be able to identify accents in that way. The richness in culture is present!!!!

In any case, my family’s from the south, so I inherited a southern, or as my friend calls it, a very ‘country’ accent. (Note: I refused to accept it until he somehow was able to equate the southern Vietnamese accent to the stereotypical US ‘country’ accent. I was s h o o k. Not so much about my accent being country, but about the fact that he could get me to realize this by somehow making my southern Vietnamese accent sound ‘American country’ enough for me to get it. // Wild. ANYWAY.) Before coming to Vietnam and even while here, I’d heard again and again that the way Vietnamese was taught in school was not based on regional accent and language, but on the national standard, which is thought of as the northern, Hà Nội accent. I took this to mean that kids end up learning two sets of sounds for the certain letters in the alphabet – the Hà Nội, taught in school accent, and their own regional accent spoken by everyone in their community. For example, my southern accent makes the letters/syllables ‘v, d, and gi’ all sound like ‘d’ while the northern accent makes ‘d, gi, and r’ sound like z. (Sorry, Miền Trung I don’t have examples for you :c ). So while accents, depending on the region, actually follow the sounds of every letter uniformly, the standard is still Hà Nội. So that is what is taught in school.

Now, learning two sets of sounds isn’t a bad thing. Regional accents aren’t something that people can drop just because it’s taught differently in school. It’s harder than that, something ingrained in their home communities. If anything, I bet it learning the Hà Nội accent in school helped a lot of kids understand accents from other regions, because regional differences in accent can (I’ve been told) be quite hard to get sometimes and take quite a bit of time to understand.

//to be continued in the next post!! find there all my feelings and insecurities about this topic c:
//thanks for readings!! i appreciate you time c: