Professor takes new approach at Harvard's Vietnamese language program
Prof Ngo Nhu Binh is the first person to teach Vietnamese language at Harvard University in a methodical way.
Over the last 28 years of working for the leading university in the US, he deserves the credit for putting the Vietnamese language teaching program on the same par with other languages at the Department of East Asian Languages and Civilizations (Faculty of Arts and Sciences) at the university.
Pro Ngo Nhu Binh
Binh is also the compiler and publisher of the textbooks for teaching Vietnamese language to foreigners. The textbooks have been used not only in the US, but also at many universities in South Korea, Japan and Taiwan.
Spending many years on studying and researching Russian in the past, Binh had opportunities to study Russian literature and poetry. And now, he tries to impart the beauty of Vietnamese language, literature and poetry to students in the same way.
|Over the last 28 years of working for the leading university in the US, he deserves the credit for putting the Vietnamese language teaching program on the same par with other languages at the Department of East Asian Languages and Civilizations (Faculty of Arts and Sciences) at the university.|
Before Binh came to the US, Vietnamese had been taught at Harvard University for 20 years. The teaching was implemented on the basis of textbooks compiled by an American linguistsin 1972.
“The basic knowledge of the textbooks was good, but many things were no longer true. Therefore, I had to make some amendments and I even had to re-compile the textbooks,” he said.
Realizing that there was no textbook which fully introduced the modern Vietnamese language, Binh compiled a book to teach Vietnamese. The book is reserved for first-year study.
The book titled Elementary Vietnamese came out in 1999 and has been republished three times with the updates about the situation in Vietnam.
In 2010, Binh published another textbook, Continuing Vietnamese, which serves the second-year learning.
During the 28 years of teaching Vietnamese at Harvard, Binh not only teaches Vietnamese language, but also introduces Vietnam country with long history and culture.
“When you learn Vietnamese, you not only learn words and grammar to communicate. You learn Vietnamese to better understand Vietnam,” Binh said.
And he feels pleased when students say that when learning Vietnamese with him, they not only develop language skills, but also love for Vietnamese language and the country.
At Harvard, third-year and fourth-year students learn Vietnamese literary works in different periods, with the focus on contemporary literature, commencing from 1930s.
“Harvard students love the literary works of realistic writers such as Nam Cao and Nguyen Cong Hoan, poems of new poets, and the works of Tu Luc Van Doan (Self-Strengthening Literary Union) ,” Binh said. “After learning each work, they write insightful commentaries. "
Any Vietnamese people who have lived and worked abroad always turn their hearts to the motherland and want their descendants to learn the Vietnamese language.
A programme highlighting Vietnam’s unique culture is taking place in Saudi Arabia from February 3 to 15.