Vietnamese language a precious asset: deputy minister

August 17, 2022 - 08:03
Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs (MoFA) Phạm Quang Hiệu spoke to the press about a newly-approved proposal, which sets September 8 as the annual day honouring the Vietnamese language among the overseas Vietnamese community for the 2023 - 2030 period.
A Vietnamese language class in Ekaterinburg. — VNA/VNS Photo Dương Trí

Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs (MoFA) Phạm Quang Hiệu spoke to the press about a newly-approved proposal, which sets September 8 as the annual day honouring the Vietnamese language among the overseas Vietnamese community for 2023-2030.

What is the purpose and meaning of the annual day honouring the Vietnamese language?

The Vietnamese language is a precious asset of the Vietnamese people. It serves as a connector, a medium to spread the values of our culture, and an instrument of utmost importance to preserve and promote national cultural identity, contributing to the independence of our fatherland and the great unity of the nation.

For more than 5.3 million overseas Vietnamese living and working in over 130 countries and territories, the Vietnamese language is a means to preserve and spread our culture, helping our people abroad keep their cultural identity, assert themselves, and be confident on the path to global integration.

The Vietnamese language is also the link between the Vietnamese communities all over the world and their homeland.

The preservation and promotion of Vietnamese in the communities have seen essential results. However, the language faces risks due to numerous subjective and objective reasons.

The integration process of overseas Vietnamese and globalisation and cultural blend with the locals have been affecting the use of our language.

In addition, young generations born and raised abroad have yet to have a deep sense of importance towards the national language. At the same time, there are multiple difficulties in teaching and learning Vietnamese in overseas communities.

Therefore, preserving and promoting the language carry importance and practical significance, as well as scientific and humane values.

For the reasons above, for the first time, the mission to "study and select an annual day to honour the Vietnamese language to encourage people, especially young generations, to learn and preserve the language" is stated in Conclusion No. 12/KL-TW issued on August 12, 2021, by the Politburo, and the Resolution No. 169/NQ-CP issued on December 31, 2021, by the Government.

A day to honour the Vietnamese language among the overseas Vietnamese communities will also include a specific action in the mission of "Creating favourable conditions for the people to preserve the Vietnamese language, the national cultural identity and strengthening the sense of national pride" (as stated in the official document of the 13th National Party Congress), while also responding to the wishes of the people.

In realising this proposal, we hope that the day honouring the Vietnamese language in the overseas Vietnamese communities will be an important annual milestone in their cultural life, with practical activities to honour the language's beauty and richness, enhancing the awareness of the national language and culture to Vietnamese people abroad - especially the young generations and the international community, spreading the love for the language, and creating a motivation to teach and learn Vietnamese.

This will help preserve and promote our nation's cultural identity and traditions, laying the foundation for a new phase of improving the language's position in various aspects of community education.

Honouring the national language will help build the overseas Vietnamese communities to be strong, stable and united, always having their homeland at heart and making positive contributions to Việt Nam.

At the same time, the Vietnamese language being honoured will play a part in the communication of the Government's and Party's strategies and policies, promoting Vietnamese culture to the world, and increasing the "soft" power of the country.

Why is September 8 chosen as the day to honour the Vietnamese language?

We choose September 8 as this date has a special significance relating to the national history and the Vietnamese language.

September 8, 1945, is the day the Provisional Government of the Democratic Republic of Việt Nam announced the bình dân học vụ (mass education) movement, and it is also the day the mass education department was founded under the national education ministry.

On September 9, 1962, in a speech at the third congress of the Việt Nam Journalists' Association, President Hồ Chí Minh emphasised that: "Language is a precious generational asset of our nation.

"We must preserve, treasure, and make it widespread."

September 8 is also a date that reflects the similarity between the global and national perspectives on honouring national languages.

In 1965, UNESCO chose September 8 as International Literacy Day, celebrated annually to raise awareness of the importance of literacy to personal and social development.

In the future, what are the MoFA's activities to achieve the goals stated in the proposal?

The day to honour the Vietnamese language is held on September 8 every year in 2023 - 2030, which will be implemented alongside the Cultural Diplomacy Strategy to 2030.

Activities leading to the Vietnamese language honouring day will be held throughout the year. They could be combined with festivals and major anniversaries for the overseas Vietnamese communities and people who are enthusiastic about the Vietnamese language, especially the young generations.

These events will be held by Việt Nam's representative missions abroad, in collaboration with events held in the country and those of the State Committee for Overseas Vietnamese Affairs (such as Việt Nam Summer Camp and training courses on teaching the Vietnamese language).

To maximise efficiency, these events will be held in a hybrid format and available on digital platforms and social networks for easier access for overseas Vietnamese.

We will focus on three specific groups of activities. The annual Vietnamese language honouring day will include an anniversary celebration seminar, a regular contest for "Vietnamese language ambassadors abroad," and an "Endearing Vietnamese language" art performance.

Việt Nam's representative missions will also work with other embassies and local governments in events promoting foreign languages. They will also integrate the Vietnamese language honouring day into diplomatic activities in their area.

On this occasion every year, the MoFA will work with other ministries and departments to recognise individuals and organisations that positively contribute to preserving and promoting the Vietnamese language in their community.

We will also diversify communication methods in the country and abroad to celebrate the Vietnamese language, with participation from the press and media and people who have significant influence in the community.

Other activities include Vietnamese Speaking Day/Week with overseas groups of Vietnamese people, Vietnamese speaking and a Vietnamese culture club, and teaching and promoting the Vietnamese language and culture in overseas communities.

We also plan to build a Vietnamese book library and a website on teaching and learning the language; and promote Vietnamese content that introduces our country's land, sea and islands, culture, traditions, and people to local libraries and databases, alongside other initiatives relating to promoting the Vietnamese language. — VNS