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[Xmca-l] Re: Request for advice

I think it is, in light of this thread, serendipitous that the linguist John Holm just died. He focused on creoles, a project that started when he was travelling along the Carribean coast of Nicaragua and heard the English creole that grew up there. I am wondering how the history of a language that developed from the ground up would inform the top-down project you are engaged in. 

> On Jan 6, 2016, at 2:24 AM, Helena Worthen <helenaworthen@gmail.com> wrote:
> Thank you, Asmalina, this helps. Nothing like someone who actually has experience!
> Helena
> Helena Worthen
> helenaworthen@gmail.com
> Vietnam blog: helenaworthen.wordpress.com
> On Jan 6, 2016, at 10:10 AM, Asmalina Saleh wrote:
>> ​Helena,
>> The possibility of a local blend of Viet and English is not as detrimental
>> as it may seem. Singapore for instance, has its own version of English, or
>> Singlish. It is often unintelligible to someone who has not lived there,
>> but I have a great fondness for the language and see it as beneficial in
>> teaching English to students. Some of my local colleagues at the primary
>> and secondary levels, stress that their students recognize the need to
>> switch between business English and Singlish. When I taught undergraduate
>> classes in the local universities, the use of Singlish was often helpful in
>> translating ideas and concepts from English to the local context. So, in my
>> biased view, I think that a creole language would be beneficial in many
>> ways.
>> One possible way to suggest teaching bilingually is perhaps to use examples
>> of countries that promote bilingual education in the region, such as
>> Hongkong, Thailand, Malaysia and Singapore. There are many invaluable
>> lessons that could be drawn on, and could be really useful in the
>> Vietnamese context.
>> ​Best,
>> Lina​
>> On Jan 5, 2016 7:13 PM, "Helena Worthen" <helenaworthen@gmail.com> wrote:
>>> Hi -
>>> I"m in the midst of compiling responses to my request and therefore
>>> haven't responded on list.
>>> There have been a number of comments that suggest that in emulating Top
>>> 100 universities in their textbooks, syllabi and language (English) lies a
>>> risk of losing Vietnamese culture. I don't think this is what's going on.
>>> This project, with its short deadline, centralized leadership, urgency and
>>> seemingly enthusiastic if nervous commitment on the part of the very young
>>> faculty, is in itself very Vietnamese. People aren't semi-committed or
>>> reluctant. Maybe I'm imagining this, and I've only been here 5 months and
>>> don't speak Vietnamese. The shift to a market economy has released, as
>>> expected, enormous amounts of energy; everyone is selling something, and so
>>> far, it's working for a lot of people.
>>> This excitement IS Vietnamese. As an American, I keep saying to myself,
>>> "This is how they won the war." Not just one war, either!
>>> Although the rivers are filthy, the air (in the city) is toxic and leaves
>>> a dust of particulate on your tongue, and the "library" has almost no
>>> books. But they're building a new whole library building as we speak. They
>>> work 7 days a week, dawn to dark.
>>> I think the risk in emulating Top 100 universities and requiring everyone
>>> (even the "guards" and the cleaners) to speak English too early is that
>>> people will create a local blend of Vietnamese and English which will not
>>> be intelligible beyond Vietnam. Any thoughts on that?
>>> I'm trying to express the reasons for teaching bi-lingually in words that
>>> will not offend anyone and will get heard. Thanks to all of you who have
>>> responded.
>>> Helena
>>> Helena Worthen
>>> helenaworthen@gmail.com
>>> Vietnam blog: helenaworthen.wordpress.com
>>> On Jan 6, 2016, at 2:38 AM, Annalisa Aguilar wrote:
>>>> Hi,
>>>> If I might pipe up again, I think Carol has synthesized things nicely
>>> here!
>>>> What emerges for me from what Carol said about surfaces is this...and is
>>> perhaps restating what she said (or what she implied):
>>>> Do the Vietnamese desire to copy the model of the "ideal of the Ivy
>>> League" because they want to replicate the surface features present, as
>>> evidence that they too will be a "quality school" in 20 years' time? OR do
>>> they want to adopt and embody the underlying processes present by which
>>> these features emerged so that their school culminates in a "quality
>>> school" ?
>>>> It seems to me if they value their own culture (which they must), it
>>> would have to be the latter and not the former, because the former would be
>>> only a simulacra and by creating a simulacra they would by default give up
>>> on their own culture, or at least whatever they value about their own
>>> culture, by supplanting *a notion* of quality rather than quality itself.
>>> By adopting instead processes of quality (over surface features), they
>>> would create quality as derived intrinsic to Vietnamese culture, because
>>> they will use processes identified as "universally" qualified for
>>> manifesting a quality school (in 20 years time).
>>>> But then having a feature of many libraries (in the high school, in the
>>> university, and in the home) is borne of the process of building a library
>>> collection (and Constitution that safeguards free speech and privacy,
>>> supposedly), and providing bookshelves and tables and chairs large enough
>>> (and sturdy enough) to hold all that thinking captured in books!
>>>> Of course now that so much is digital, what would a library look like in
>>> 20 years in Vietnam?
>>>> Would they just have lots of bean bag chairs? and tablets (instead of
>>> tables)? and headphones with mics?
>>>> Remember that 70s TV show Love American Style? I thought of that too.
>>> But in this case: Ivy League University Vietnamese Style.
>>>> :)
>>>> Kind regards,
>>>> Annalisa