Vietnam Time

11/29/2017 10:01:22 AM

The Ambassador over 37 years passionate about Vietnamese language

(VNF) - The Palestinian Ambassador to Vietnam is constantly searching for the unique features of the Vietnamese language although he has pursued this language for more than 37 years.

"Hello, I am very happy to welcome you to the Embassy," Mr. Saadi Salama, Ambassador of Paletine in Vietnam, greeted reporters in Vietnamese at the diplomatic headquarters on a winter morning.

For the Vietnamese media, Salama is a familiar face. However, when confronted with him, the opposite can't help being attracted by the eyes of the Middle East man. There are still many things he has not revealed yet.

"Unfortunately for those who have just met me, while they try to speak English, I prefer to use Vietnamese," Salama said humorously, and changed his address at the start of the interview.

He said that he loves Vietnamese language because it is very inspirational, can express emotional levels and communication situation. Often, after some social greetings, Salama would ask the age of the person in the conversation to find suitable address. Thereby the conversation becomes more intimate.

Compared to English, Vietnamese is much richer. For example, for “Yes” in Vietnamese, one can say “Ừ”, “Phải rồi”  or “Vâng” to express respect for the elder.

Ambassador Salama said he can identify which areas of Vietnam the people talking to him come from based on their intonation.

“For Northerners, the words “Giao”, “Dao”, and “Rao” are pronounced in the same way but for Central and Southern people, they are distinguished clearly. This thing is very common, confusing foreigners if they should continue to study Vietnamese or not,’’Salama mentioned the complexity of Vietnamese.

The Ambassador recalls his early days in Vietnam, with difficult physical life:

“It took me three months to get familiar with the smell of fish sauce. Many time I told to myself: go back home! But that means I accept defeat. If I once accept defeat, there will be second, third; then I will become a negative man. Finally, I chose to pursue my dream.’’

The young Palestinian's dream was to learn the Vietnamese language well, to understand the culture and history of Vietnam, and to find lessons to help Palestine win the struggle for independence. Although there were many opportunities to study in European countries, he came to Vietnam because of his admiration for Vietnamese people and the similarities between the two countries. Now the Ambassador is always proud of his decision.

“Do you know why I love Vietnamese? Some Vietnamese can't be found equivalently in English or French but we have in Arabic.’’

The Ambassador is also passionate about the Vietnamese pun. During the conversation, Mr. Salama repeatedly made reporters and assistants burst into laughter as he told comedian stories about the wrong use of Vietnamese.

Ambassadors humorously talk about using wrong Vietnamese words

To learn Vietnamese, the Ambassador said this is a very complicated journey, the learner must have love and rich mother tongue. Thanks to the Radio Voice of Vietnam, he gradually distinguishes words and sentences, standard pronunciation. Over the first six months, the learning will be easier.

“Vietnamese language has given me a deep understanding of the country and the people of Vietnam. When I meet anyone, I can impress him by communicating. This thing brought me confidence in life,’’ the Ambassador said.

In the context of Vietnam's expanding international relations, Ambassador Salama expects the Vietnamese language to grow at the same pace. He proposed that Vietnam should have a major agency in charge of unifying the national translations, such as ‘’Moscow’’ or ‘’Mạc Tư Khoa’’ for the Russian capital. The agency also helps to popularlize Vietnamese in the world.

Ambassador has said that his "destiny" to Vietnam is not over, he always grateful to the Government and people of Vietnam for supporting resolutions in accordance with the Charter of the United Nations, supporting the establishment of a sustainable and equitable peace for the Palestinian people. Vietnam's support is of special significance to Palestine in the current context.

What he is most interested in is the promotion of relations between Vietnam and the Palestinians as well as with the Arab world and the Middle East. The Ambassador believe that Palestine will be Vietnam's active partner in the Middle East./.

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