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The Asian side of the world - II

Jean-François Sabouret

Part Two. National challenges and strategies

French traces in Viet Nam

Dominique Rolland

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May 2012

Today, the French language has lost its influence in Viet Nam. Being sad or indifferent about it doesn’t change anything. Anglo-Saxon, Chinese and Korean cultural productions have invaded the media space. This process is inevitable, despite the vitality of bilingual classes and the passionate commitment of teachers to French literature, continuing a long tradition. We sometimes hear an echo, fading increasingly as time passes: an old man with a weary body and a lively spirit, sitting on a bench on the shore of Hoan Kiem Lake, recites “Oceano Nox” by Victor Hugo and Lamartine’s “Le Lac” to us without omitting a single verse. I had a grandfather who resembled them. He was of mixed race and he recited Kim Van Kieu and the century legend to me. Like all children and adolescents, I sometimes tired of it. “Cain fleeing from Jehovah, the story of Kieu and Kim again”, I often thought, shrugging my shoulders. The old man was a little bit monotonous and rambling. The first time I came...


Institut national des langues et civilisations orientales

© CNRS Éditions, 2015

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