About Story Time Vietnamese Language Learning Project

In Uncategorized on December 1, 2010 at 3:15 pm

By Antonio Graceffo

As a reaction to the horribly boring and outdated materials used to teach Vietnamese to foreigners, I am starting a free, open source learning platform for Vietnamese. If the format works well, I will expand to include Chinese, Khmer, Cham and Bahasa.

ESL teaching is light-years ahead of the teaching methods and resources used for most Asian languages (except Japanese and sometimes Mandarin). In my Vietnamese course we only have one book, which is one of two books that exist in Vietnam. There is no workbook, no video, no significant audio, and no additional resources of any kind. Each chapter begins with two short dialogues, followed by grammar exercises. There are no significant readings, no stories, and no articles. If you studied a million years, you would never reach a level that would allow you to read a newspaper, because educated, adult vocabulary just isn’t covered. The final chapter in book one is entitled “How many brothers and sister do you have?”

And of course, without listening, you will never get Vietnamese pronunciation right.

“Story Time Language Learning” is my new project. I am writing a long story, in Vietnamese, about a poor farm boy, named Tuan who is in love with a rich girl, named Lin. Lin’s father is so impressed with Tuan’s motivation that he gives Tuan one year to make something of himself, so he can marry Lin. He leaves the farm and heads to Ho Chi Minh City, where he has many vocabulary-filled adventures.

The stories provide a context. All of the learning, vocabulary, grammar, and usage will be contextualized. This will help promote understanding and hopefully it will make the learning more interesting. Each unit will have a short excerpt from the story, followed by a list of new vocabulary (translated into English and Chinese). After the reading, the learner completes the comprehension questions. Next, there is a word puzzle or game type activity of some type to reinforce new vocabulary. Finally, there is an intensive listening exercise.

I will post units as I write them. They are not intended to be primary textbook for language learning, instead, they are meant to provide the learning with additional, meaningful practice. Once the first twelve units are done, I plan to compile the lessons in a book and make it available to the public.

For the time being I need help from my online friends. First, I need some illustrations. If you could help, please send them to me as JPEGS, so I can post them easily online. Later, when we have chosen the illustrations, I need someone to help me format the text and illustrations for better posting and for printing.

  1. I need someone to draw the boy, Anh Tuan
  2. The girl, Chi Lin
  3. Lin’s father, a military general
  4. Lin’s house, a rich villa with a large garden.
  5. Tuan’s house, a small Vietnamese farm house with a rice field behind.
  6. Chi Lin’s family: Very old grand mother, a younger sister 8 years old, older sisters 20 and 21 years old.

If you are a Vietnamese native speaker, please feel free to correct my grammar and spelling

If you are learning Vietnamese, please give me feedback on the exercises. I will post a sample lesson on facebook, but the vocabulary list is graph form and the formatting is lost on facebook. So, I will put a link to my wordpress blog where you can easily use the glossary to find the meanings of the new words.

Please let me know if you can help or if you are interested in trying some of the lessons.

Antonio Graceffo

Brooklyn Monk, Antonio Graceffo is a martial arts and adventure author living in Asia. He is the author of the books, “Warrior Odyssey’ and “The Monk from Brooklyn.” He is also the host of the web TV show, “Martial Arts Odyssey,” which traces his ongoing journey through Asia, learning martial arts in various countries.

Brooklyn Monk in Asia Podcast (anti-travel humor)




Brooklyn Monk fan page

Brooklyn Monk on YOUTUBE

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  1. I understand your frustration with Vietnamese in Vietnam. I guess the book you mentiones is Giáo Trìn Tiếng Việt Cho Người Nước Ngoài. I have a copy and the dialogue isn’t bad but I learned more from the footnotes. I would love to help with your project and am in the process of putting some materials together myself. I don’t have facebook in Vietname but i did some work as an illustrator previously. Send a PM if you like.

  2. Sorry Misspelled Trình

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