Vietnamese Proverbs From a Cultural Perspective

Author: Ngo Thi Thanh Quy, Nguyen Thi Hong Minh (Thai Nguyen University of Education, Vietnam)
Speaker: Ngo Thi Thanh Quy, Nguyen Thi Hong Minh
Topic: Language, Community, Ethnicity
The (SCOPUS / ISI) SOAS GLOCAL CALA 2019 General Session


Proverbs are important data depicting the traditional culture of each nation. Vietnamese proverbs, dated thousands of years ago, are an immense valuable treasure of experience which the Vietnamese people desire to pass to the younger generations. This paper aims to explore the unique and diversified world of intelligence and spirits of the Vietnamese through a condensed and special literary genre, as well as a traditional value of the nation (Nguyen Xuan Kinh 2013, Tran Ngoc Them 1996, Le Chi Que and Ngo Thi Thanh Quy 2014). Through an interdisciplinary approach, from an anthropological point of view, approaching proverbs we will open up a vast treasure of knowledge and culture of all Vietnamese generations. The study has examined over 16,000 Vietnamese proverbs and analysed three groups expressing Vietnamese people’s behaviors toward nature, society and their selves, and compared them with English and Japanese proverbs. The research has attempted to explore the beauty of Vietnamese language, cultural values and the souls and personalities of Vietnam. Approaching Vietnamese proverbs under the interdisciplinary perspective of language, culture and literature is a new research direction in the field of Social Sciences and Humanity in Vietnam. From these viewpoints, it is seen that proverbs have remarkably contributed to the language and culture of Vietnam as well as and constructed to the practice of language use in everyday life which is imaginary, meaningful and effective in communication. Furthermore, the study seeks to inspire the Vietnamese youth’s pride in national identity and to encourage their preservation and promotion for traditional values of the nation in the context of integration and globalisation. In the meantime, it would be favourable to introduce and market the beauty of Vietnamese language, culture and people to the world, encouraging the speakers of other languages to study, explore and understand Vietnam.

Keywords: Vietnamese proverbs, cultural values, national identity, interdisciplinary approach, cultural perspective