The Advantage Of English As A Second Language

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1.1.Rationale of the study

In parallel with the spread of globalization, English has undoubtedly become an international means of communication. Being a lingua franca, that is any of various languages used as common or commercial tongues among peoples of diverse speech (the Merriam-Webster dictionary), English has effectively exerted its power as the primary language in many spheres of activity, such as culture, economy or diplomacy.
Of 1500 million people speaking English, only 375 million are native speakers (Statista, 2017), which means that approximately three-fourth of the English-speaking population are non-native speakers. Moreover, English is spoken by more than half the population in 45 countries beyond the United Kingdom (Smith,
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As an active member of the “global village”, Vietnam wants to adopt English as its second language to easily facilitate joint activities with other countries (Kim, 2016). It has become so essential a language that not only did the Ministry of Education and Training make it a compulsory subject for students as young as those into in primary schools, it also set the ambitious initiative that all young people leaving school by 2020 would have a good command of English (Parks, 2011). English, since then, has been studied by a large number of people, mostly by students who wish to be well-prepared for future careers.
However, the eagerness of Vietnamese students to learn English has encountered several difficulties, one of the most prominent of which is culture. The bond between language and culture is described in Khaled Housseini’s famous saying: “If culture was a house, then language was the key to the front door, to all the rooms inside.” Because language and culture are inextricably connected, they certainly exert mutual effects on each other, as Thanasoulas (2001) puts
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Two sources of information for triangulation are employed, including questionnaires and interviews.
The questionnaire used in this study is based on that produced by Bataineh Ruba F. and Bataineh Rula F. (2005) who conducted a research into the American university students’ apology strategies using an intercultural analysis. Besides cultural features, the study also focused on the effect of gender, which the researcher disregarded as it is not relevant to the paper. The original questionnaire is an open-ended questionnaire, with ten situational questions relating to the reactions of those indeliberately damaging the benefits or hurting other people. The questionnaire is modified in order to be more suitable with the students at DAV and the foreigners participating in the research.
Besides the questionnaires, the research has also utilized informal interviews to further investigate the influences of cultural differences on the participants’ apologizing utterances. The conducted interviews mainly focused on how the participants uttered the apologies in English, whether the two groups of subjects realized the difference between their apologies, how the students thought they could improve their apologizing utterances, etc. All interviews have been recorded and transcripted for analysis
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