Vietnamese Language Program

vietnam_mapStarting in the 17th century the Vietnamese language was romanized by European missionaries using the Latin alphabet, not only to make it easier for learners to learn the language, but also to help Vietnamese people master their own language as well as the European ones more easily. The language has six tones, producing a “sing-song” or musical effect. Its monosyllabic and analytic nature limits words to only six letters. Word order follows a strict subject-verb-object pattern, including questions, since word position in a sentence defines meaning. In other words, Vietnamese is both a tonal and a positional language. Currently Vietnamese is spoken by over 80 million people in Vietnam and another three million living abroad in over one hundred countries. It is the 14th most widely spoken language in the world, and the 6th most widely spoken in the U.S. Studying Vietnamese provides access to the country’s rich and varied culture — religions, literature, music, arts, history, and poetry.


Instructor: James T Lap. The goal of the elementary Vietnamese classes (Viet W1101 and W1102) is to help students develop an active command of the language. Emphasis is on acquiring the four language skills — listening, speaking, reading and writing — within a cultural context, in order to achieve basic communication proficiency. Dictations in class enable students to apply these four language skills in a practical, real-world context.


Instructor: James T Lap.   The goal of the intermediate Vietnamese classes (Viet W1201 and W1202) is to strengthen students’ listening, speaking, reading, and writing skills with dictations and compositions dealing with aspects of Vietnamese culture and society. Students will be introduced to three Vietnamese accents: northern, central and southern so that they can communicate with Vietnamese people wherever they work or travel.