Reconsidering Language Endangerment in Mainland Southeast Asia

Author: On Thi My Linh (Thai Nguyen University)
Speaker: On Thi My Linh
Topic: Language minorities and majorities
The (SCOPUS / ISI) SOAS GLOCAL CALA 2019 General Session


Little work has been carried out with respect to the perception of reality in the folktales of Vietnamese ethnic minorities. This has left much room for the conducting of research in traditional narratives in these communities throughout the region that is now known as Vietnam. The ending of these tales is not always positive, which people have long developed conceptions and anticipations to expect.

This current study proposes to fill the gap in culture and literature of the ethnic minorities studies by staking out the landscape of the perception of hard facts in the tales of the ethnic minorities. Applying a mix of method from folklore, literary criticism and sociocultural approaches, I seek to discover some kinds of hard facts mentioned in the tales minorities. Through content analysis, I locate the reflection of violence, poverty, the battle for life, the role of money, the power of the rich and inequality of societies in the tales.
Facing rough conditions in daily life, the characters are forced to use all their abilities to overcome to survive. These tales thus also deal with the question of ways in which to solve the hard facts, and ways in which to achieve socioeconomic elevation so to better position the self and hence increase the quality of conceptions and aesthetics of life.

As folk literature reflects reality and also influences reality, that is, it mediates reality, this study ultimately aims to dig out deeper layer meanings of these tales and to place these tales in social-historical contexts, I aim to discover relations between social reality and folk literature.

Keywords: Vietnam, Folk Tales, Narratives, Symbolism