Hello everyone! A few days ago, I received a surprising and interesting email from Rebecca Bright, ASLTIP Marketing, who enquired whether I would be interested in writing a guest piece for the ASLTIP blog! Rebecca had noticed that I was the only therapist that could conduct Speech and Language Therapy in Vietnamese. Wow! This was definitely a point of reminiscence for me, as I recalled contacting the RCSLT in the late 1990s, to ask for other Vietnamese speaking Speech and Language Therapists – and to my surprise they replied, ‘You are the only one in the UK!’………and I am even more astonished to learn that now – in 2013 and I am still solo!
I am grateful for my mixed background; I have always remained a strong member in both the Vietnamese and Chinese communities. Due to this connection, I am able to work with many Vietnamese families- not only because of the language, but importantly, an understanding of this culture.
In the past, many Vietnamese have believed a myth that children with communication disorders, autism, and intellectual disabilities were caused by the child’s nature, laziness, stubbornness, and fate. They could only accept the physical disabilities, such as, blindness, deafness, cleft lip/palate as “disabilities”. However, this is shifting and there is more awareness and acceptance of social and communication disorders!
When working with Vietnamese families, it not only the spoken language but non verbal communication that is also different than that of British people, for example; a Vietnamese child may avoid making eye contact with you because in Vietnamese society it is a sign of respect to an elder person, or of higher status. As for Vietnamese language, the basic word order is Subject-Verb-Object; they state plurals by adding, ‘a lot of…’, past tense is indicated by using a time concept, e.g. ‘Yesterday I go shopping’. Pronouns are used to maintain interpersonal relationships and social distance; respect and disrespect are also demonstrated through the use of pronouns. As for phonology, some of the common errors Vietnamese speakers make are final consonant omission in English, and difficulties in producing the consonant blends.
I hope you have found this short information to be useful!
Mandy Mui Ngo
Speech and Language Therapist
The views expressed in the blog do not necessarily represent the views of ASLTIP. Publication does not imply endorsement.
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