Experts underlines significance of learning, teaching Vietnamese in Australia
At a Vietnamese class in Australia.
In their joint article run recently in the website of the Australia-Vietnam Policy Institute, Dr. Melissa Jardine, the Chair of the Board of Directors at the Australia Vietnam Leadership Dialogue (AVLD) and Dr. Tran Hong Van, Adjunct Research Fellow at Charles Sturt University noted that the Australian Vietnamese community comprises 1.2 percent of Australia’s population, and Vietnamese is among the top four spoken languages other than English (LOTE).
While individual and family efforts to maintain Vietnamese language capabilities are observed, there are limitations on its effectiveness, they noted, adding that the children of Vietnamese immigrants (along with non-Vietnamese Australians) are unlikely to have mastered the sophisticated skills in speaking, reading and writing needed for cross-generational communication, cultural and identity maintenance, as well as for the progression of Australia’s geo-political aims.
Among Australians with Vietnamese heritage (hereinafter, the Australian Vietnamese community), the benefits include enhanced academic and cognitive functioning, improved social and cultural understanding, enhanced self-esteem and self-identity, and more cohesive family relationships. The promotion of Vietnamese language use among second and third generations of families helps to build communities and a talent pool for a successful bilateral partnership, said the experts.
Language capability is important because it brings social capital through which strong relationships are forged in order to unlock greater economic opportunities. Vietnamese language is not only useful for building enduring relationships between Australia and Viet Nam, but also with Vietnamese diaspora communities worldwide, they underlined.
The experts asserted that the 50th anniversary of Australia-Viet Nam diplomatic relations in 2023 comes with anticipation of upgrading the bilateral relationship to a Comprehensive Strategic Partnership (CSP). A successful bilateral partnership requires reciprocity and an understanding of language and culture. The momentum in the Australia-Viet Nam relationship and the likelihood of a Comprehensive Strategic Partnership is a unique launchpad for greater investment in Vietnamese language education in Australia, they added.