You are here

SEAP Teacher Profile: Thuy Tranviet

Thuy Tranviet

What’s it like to study a Southeast Asian language at Cornell?

Thuy Tranviet, senior lecturer of Vietnamese

Students of all majors from all colleges study Vietnamese at Cornell for both personal and academic reasons, though in the classroom I prioritize conversation and comprehension. Some heritage students want to learn Vietnamese to be able to talk to their families. The advanced level students often strive to be able to read texts in Vietnamese and to conduct research in the country. 

At Cornell, we offer three to four levels of Vietnamese: elementary, intermediate, advanced, and independent study (beyond advanced). We also offer a one-credit “jump start” course to introduce learners to the language and the country. After learning one year of Vietnamese, students can get along pretty well in the country applying learned skills to express, ask, and maintain basic conversations. They are able to talk on a variety of topics such as where they are from, their address, telephone number, subjects of study, year in school, family, hobbies, as well as dates and time. They know how to shop for clothes and other items at the market and can order food at restaurants. Some of the biggest challenges for English-speakers learning Vietnamese are terms of address, the pronunciation of vowels, and tones in the language.

The Vietnamese language program has evolved over the years, especially digitally with the development of more online supplementary materials that greatly assist students. At the end of the day, learning a language requires time, discipline, and a commitment to practicing both in and outside of the classroom.