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    THẠC SĨ An english-vietnamese cross-cultural study of keeping face at the first encounter

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  6. An english-vietnamese cross-cultural study of keeping face at the first encounter


    1. Rationale
    With the trend of globalization and integration, cross-border contacts appear more and more frequent. However, differences among cultures are one of the biggest barriers for successful cross-cultural communication.

    It is widely accepted that English has been an international language in the world. In Vietnam, for the past few decades, we have witnessed a dramatic change in English teaching and learning. Communicative approach plays a key role in that big change. That is to say, language in use is paid more attention and becomes a core in language teaching and learning for learners’ benefit. Language is part of a culture and also its reflection. Therefore, teaching a language means teaching its culture. It is obvious that learners cannot master a language without grasping its culture.

    In England, when greeting someone, people tend to use two questions: health questions (How are you? How are you doing?) and work questions (How are things?) as greeting routines while the Vietnamese ask food questions (what do you have today?), display questions (Are you reading books?) besides health and work questions. Or at the first meeting, the Vietnamese often ask about others’ age, marital status or income which can be seen as DON’Ts to Western people. If it is not observed with the understanding of Vietnamese culture – a positive politeness oriented culture, it is easily misinterpreted as curious and nosy behavior, thus threatening others’ faces.

    According to Lado (1957), to be successful in another language learning and to communicate effectively, linguistics knowledge is not enough. Besides that, interacting skills and cultural knowledge are required. As a result, to raise learners’ awareness of cross-cultural differences is essential to avoid culture shock or communication breakdown. As Brembeck rightly puts it, “To know another’s language and not his culture is a very good way to make a fluent fool of one’s self”.

    2. Aims of the study
    The aims of study are:
    - To find out safe and unsafe topics for the first encounter in Vietnamese and Anglophone cultures.
    - To examine politeness strategies employed by Vietnamese and Anglophone informants under the influence of age, gender and power.
    - To point out cross-cultural similarities and differences.

    3. Methodology
    Quantitative method is mainly exploited for the practical aspects of the cross-cultural interaction under study. The following methods are used:
     Survey questionnaire
     Analysis of the collected data: statistic, descriptive, interpretive, comparative and contrastive
     Reference to home and foreign publication
     Consultation with supervisor, Vietnamese and foreign colleagues.

    4. Scope of the study
    Non-verbal factors are believed to be very important for keeping face at the first encounter. However they are beyond the scope of this study. The study only focuses on the verbal aspects and the data analysis of politeness and safe and unsafe topics.
    The study is limited within the first encounter conversation in five groups and 3 situations
    The survey questionnaires are given to 100 native speakers of Vietnamese (NSVs) people and 100 native speakers of English (NSEs) people. However, 50 questionnaires of the NSVs and 50 questionnaires of NSEs are selected for.
    5. Design of the study
    The study consists of 3 parts:
    - Part A: Introduction
    - Part B: development
    Chapter 1: Theoretical Preliminaries
    Chapter 2: Methodology
    Chapter 3: Results and discussion
    - Part C: conclusion

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