Societal Linguistic Background
Michael is an outgoing and pleasant
seven-year-old from Vietnam. Born on March 24, 1997, this first-grader
and his family have been in the United States for at least two years.
Both of his parents are employed by Wal-Mart as nail technicians.
They speak Vietnamese at the workplace and in the home, but they are
able to communicate with Michael’s teachers in English adequately.
Since English is quickly growing to be the preferred second language
of Vietnam, Michael’s parents may have had some experience speaking
English in their home country. Michael’s parents harbor no resentment
toward their home country, but wanted to offer Michael more opportunities
for advancement in America.
After conducting research about Vietnam, some
interesting trends were discovered. The unemployment rate in Vietnam
was recorded as 25% (1995 est.). This seems excessive when compared
to the rates of Americans who are out of work, which was estimated
to be 5.8%. Also notable was the percentage of people falling below
the poverty line. In Vietnam, 37% of citizens are considered to be
impoverished. This is significantly higher when contrasted with the
12.7% poverty rate in the United States. For more statistical data
on Vietnam, visit
the CIA website. These factors may have been instrumental
when Michael’s family decided to move to the United States.