First Advisor

Kimberley Brown

Date of Publication


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts (M.A.) in Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages


Teaching English as a Second Language




Vietnamese Americans -- Oregon -- Portland -- Ethnic identity, Vietnamese Americans -- Oregon -- Portland -- Language, Vietnamese Americans -- Cultural assimilation -- Oregon -- Portland



Physical Description

1 online resource (2, 237 p.)


Vietnamese immigrants within the United States have demonstrated a strong desire to retain their ethnocultural identity. They have also experienced tremendous pressure to use English. What are the implications of these two trends for identity and language choice within the Vietnamese-American community? The presented research used multidimensional scaling (MDS) methods to describe the subjects' ethnic and language identities. The population for the study consisted of adult Vietnamese-Americans who were born in Vietnam and were currently living in the US. The study had two stages. First, identity labels were generated using a modified Twenty Statements Test. A "Myself' label was added to the list, and the labels were printed on cards in both Vietnamese and English. The labels were sorted by the subjects on the basis of perceived similarity. In addition, subjects chose five cards which were most important for each of the following domains: parents, siblings, friends, school, and work. The sorts were submitted to MDS and hierarchical cluster analyses. In addition, the frequencies of labels for each domain were used to explore the effect of context. The group's identity was structured along 3 dimensions: Vietnamese-ness, Chinese-ness, and Americanization vs. being anchored in Vietnam. The most selfsalient items were a sense of shared origin, pride in being Vietnamese, preference for living in the US, family values, a perception of shared physical appearance, common food preferences, and a set of positive personal/group attributes. Items associated with Vietnamese identity (including Vietnamese language) were also very salient. Those items which were heavily loaded on either the Anchored in Vietnam, Americanized, or Chinese vectors were generally less self salient. English language and having a mixed culture were also highly salient. In general the most important aspects of the group's identity were those items which were not heavily loaded on any particular cultural vector. Rather, there was an emphasis on the most socially inclusive items. The subjects' context specific choices showed relatively little shifting among unique aspects of identity. Instead, there was a stable emphasis on those items associated with a more generally Asian, mixed, and bilingual identity.


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