Vietnamese and American Cultures: Parallels and Distinctions

Culture is the general conduct of a group of people who live within a certain boundary, such as a nation or a state. Culture is not fixed. It evolves with the passage of time. Culture, in a wider context, is determined by the people’s place and past. What people do and how they do it is determined by their venue. People in countries situated in the world’s polar regions, for example, dress differently from those living near the equator. People’s religious views are formed by their backgrounds. The above constitutes the foundation of a people’s society. This essay explains the similarities and distinctions between Vietnam culture and American culture.
In Vietnam, family is believed to be the determinant of social relations. As Dinh avers (1987) avers, the family name in Vietnam is highly fostered to cultivate respect around it. Therefore, respect for family entrenches respect by people. In America, there is a belief that family discourse, sometimes referred to as dinner talk, can foster family relations and build it on a good foundation(Blum-Kulka, 1997). In both cultures, a family is believed to be an important aspect in shaping the social aspect.

Proximity of Vietnam to China also influences how the Vietnamese talk and behave. Therefore, most of the culture observed in Vietnam is derived. Mark McLeod and Nguyen Dieu (2001), finds out that the language used in by the Vietnamese had its origin in China. The aver that the Vietnamese found it as a ready made language and started using it. In his study on race, language and culture, Boas (1940) avers that race and language are inextricable aspects ofAmerican culture. The manner in which language is used among various groups of different races has been quite distinct all along. It is believed that there are some who use the native language properly and others do not. Rodriguez (1998) avers that language in America has a social impact on people. He suggests that the media uses language in a manner that their presentations target specific classes of people and it has become a culture.


Blum-Kulka, S. (1997). Dinner Talk: Cultural Patterns of Sociability and Socialization in Family Discourse. Newyork: Routledge.

Boas, F. (1940). Race, Language and Culture. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.

Dinh, H. (1987). Introduction to Vietnamese Culture. San Diego: San Diego State Univ., CA. Multifunctional Resource Center.

Mark McLeod, Nguyen Dieu. (2001). Culture and Customs of Vietnam. London: Greenwood Press.

Rodriguez, A. (1998). Making Latino News: Race, Language, Class. Sage Publications.

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