Language: Vietnamese

I am Vietnamese-American, and was born in the United States. My parents taught my siblings and I how to speak Vietnamese as we were growing up. Out of me and my sisters, I was the only one in the family who struggled to speak Vietnamese decently. I would stutter and reply back to my parents in English instead of Vietnamese. I was always shy to speak Vietnamese to my relatives because I was not good at it and my relatives could barely understand what I was saying. I was always teased by my relatives and siblings about how terrible I was at speaking Vietnamese.

Over time I became more familiar with pronunciation and grammar as my listen comprehension was better than my speaking. I can understand almost every word that my mom or dad say to me. Whenever someone ask me if I can speak Vietnamese fluently, my go to answer would be I can listen and understand well, but I cannot speak it well. I did not bother to improve my Vietnamese because I did not really care much for learning a language at that time.

After a month of traveling in Vietnam, my Vietnamese definitely got better! I am now a firm believer that in order to speak a language fluently, traveling to a country that speaks it will help you improve tremendously. There were times when I caught myself saying some Vietnamese words that I never thought that I knew. I was completely surprised by that. As I spoke Vietnamese more often to the local people, I became more confident in my speaking abilities.

My mom was completely surprised when we had a video chat and I was speaking only Vietnamese to her. She noticed it and was filled with joy that her son was speaking Vietnamese to her pretty well. My Vietnamese had improved a lot that I became better than my younger sister, I do not stutter or have long awkward pauses at much anymore. I still cannot write or read Vietnamese, but hopefully I will improve on that over time.

-Minh

 

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