Learning The Use of Mother Language in Ethnic Minorities in Nam Tra My District, Quang Nam Province, Vietnam

Authors: Ngo Thi Thu Huong (Institute of Social Sciences of Central Region, Vietnam Academy of Social Sciences, Vietnam)
Speaker: Ngo Thi Thu Huong
Topic: Language, Community, Ethnicity
The (SCOPUS / ISI) SOAS GLOCAL CALA 2020 General Session


Native language plays an important role in the growth and development of humans. Due to the social development in recent years, the number of languages, especially those of ethnic groups has been declining. Therefore, this study attempted to investigate the use of the native language of ethnic groups in Nam Tra My district, Quang Nam, a central province of Vietnam. It is hoped that the findings and conclusions of this study will be used by the leaders and governors to issue policies on developing ethnic languages.

This study utilized a quantitative method of research with questionnaires as the main data collection instrument. Research subjects are 60 ethnic people in Nam Tra My district. They were purposely chosen in terms of such criteria as genders, ages and occupations. This study focused on the use of the native language by ethnic groups in both family communication environment and social communication environment. Their communicative partners are Vietnamese people living in the area who are in the same or different ethnic groups.

The findings of the study have revealed that ethnic groups mainly use their native language when communicating with family members, worshipping deities as rice god, satyr… while they use Vietnamese language in social communication. Besides, the study has also indicated that differences in genders, occupations and ages result in different choices in using their mother language. For example, ethnic women tend to be inward in using their native language only when they communicate with members in their family and lineage. Meanwhile, ethnic men tend to be outward in using their native language not only when they communicate with people of the same ethnic group but also Viet people at work places and other public areas. In addition, the elderly in ethnic groups use their native language in all communication settings. Meanwhile the young only use their native language in family communication environment and they do not use their native language in worshipping as well as folk songs. Moreover, ethnic farmers tend to use their native language more frequently than people of other occupations. This due to the fact that many ethnic farmers can not speak Vietnamese, which is the national language of Viet Nam. Key words: mother language, ethnic groups, native language.

Keywords: Mother language, ethnic minority people, communication environment