Friday, July 11, 2008


For your information... I always have too many pictures to post on the actual blog, so make sure to check our Photo Album for more every time I blog.

Also, below is a quick guide so you'll understand who these people are if I refer to them in my posts. We're teaching our kids to address my family in Vietnamese. The language is tonal, so there are many words that look the same, but are pronounced differently, resulting in different meanings.

Ong- sounds like owng (grandpa), Ba- sounds like ba but there's an accent that makes the tone lower (grandma), Di Dao- yee dow, rhyming with cow (auntie Dao, though Sarah is her English name), Cau Son- cow suhn (uncle Son, though Peter is his English name), Co Teresa- go Teresa (auntie Teresa).

In case you're wondering why there are so many ways to address an "auntie," that's because there is! In Vietnamese, how you address a relative is based on whether that person is on your mom or your dad's side. Vietnamese people usually address each other with titles as a sign of respect. Close friends of yours obviously wouldn't address you with a title, but titles are usually used to address people who are older than you. For example, Grace would never call one of my friends by their first names, just like I'd never address one of my parents' friends without a title. It would be proceeded by Co (auntie) or Chu (uncle) whether or not the person was truly related to us. Notice that my sister is called Di, and my brother is called Cau. These terms mean auntie and uncle, but they're reserved for those who are related to the mom. Different titles are used if the auntie and uncle are related to the dad. It must sound confusing as I try to explain, but it's actually great for figuring out how people are related! I wish the Mennonites had some kind of system like that so it'd be easier for me to figure out how everyone's related! J/K!

Despite not being a part of a Vietnamese community in Fresno and slowly losing my cultural heritage, there are still many cultural things that I would like to hold on to and pass along to our kids. Ever since Grace started learning how to talk, Jason and I have taught her to address people who are older than her as Mr. So-and-So, or Ms. So-and-So... Using last names made it sound too formal, so we've taught her to use Mr. and Mrs./Ms. with first names. That comes directly from me being taught as a kid to show respect by addressing others appropriately. With that said, to our English-speaking friends who have wondered in the past... when our kids address you as Mr. or Ms., it's a sign of respect for you!

By the way, while I'm here in Edmonton and surrounded by Vietnamese people, does anyone have any other Vietnamese-based questions?!

No comments: