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The Transformation of Vietnamese Language from a Decade Ago

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All languages change over time, and the Vietnamese language is no different. Languages is always changing, evolving, and adapting to the demand of its user. Naturally, almost Vietnamese language changes originate from young generation via social life daily like their working environment, social media (Facebook, Twister, …) or international friends, etc.

Vietnamese human use a lot of slangs and borrowed words in both spoken and written language. As the Vietnamese language has changed, it is easy to pick out word that pass into common usage. There are some typical slang phrases get around on the internet such as LOL (Laugh Out Loud), YOLO (You Only Live Once), OMG (Oh My God – to express disbelief feeling but in fact most Vietnamese do not follow Christianity) or in individual major like “Spoke” in Banking means small branch belongs to the Super branch, its function is provide the data current customer. Slang is just a fad, others may appear as entirely new words, a new meaning for existing word, or a word that becomes more generalised than its former meaning after 3-4 years, On the other hand, the borrowed word has more ancient origin and often demonstrates the influence of foreign culture. For instance, “oppa” – in Korea, it is called older brother or a man, translation into Vietnamese is “anh”. Nevertheless, young generation use “oppa” to call man idol from Korea, it is the hallyu’s effect. Beside, Vietnamese people also are affected by beautiful number thoughts from China such as number 6 and 8, due to their pronunciation similar money and development.

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In particular about writing, abbreviation and emoticons showed an upward trend in conversations or text message. For example, they just write down “j” instead of “what” to take note or type text and everyone understand what do you want to say. Addition, emoticons like body languages, show less but meaning more. Lead to young people really fancy using emoticons to show how they fell.

Through the series of changes above, people probably understand Vietnamese language changes for several distinct reasons over the decades. First, it changes because the needs of its speakers change. New technology, new products, and new experiences require new words to refer to them clearly and efficiently. They use slang and abbreviation to quickly and friendly. Even slang often shorter than official word, thus people just speak or write shorter but implication is similar or more. Nowaday, people text messages more than speaking at emergency situation lead to development opportunities for emoticons. Vietnamese human use emoticons maybe just for fun or sometimes they do not know anything to say.

Another reason for change is for member in a group has same languages experience or working environment. People all know a slightly different about vocabulary of each person, it depend on their age, job, education level, region of the country, and so on. Young generation often use English slang due to they study English and they desire to “English-zation” their languages each day. They pick up new words and phrases to talk each other in a specific group and make their group identity. For instance, a farmer is not able to understand everything doctor say. This thing shows who is and is not a member of the group.


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