A Study of Figurative Language in Vietnamese Folklore Scripts, Proverbs and Idiomatic Expressions – Challenges for Foreign Learners of Vietnamese Language

  • Quang Dung Le
  • Van Khanh Nguyen
Keywords: metaphor, metonymy, Vietnamese folklore, proverbs, folk songs


It is a fact that Vietnamese language learning has become an interest for many people who want to do business with Vietnamese companies. The literal understanding of the language is sometimes inadequate for mutual understanding between partners due to the varieties of Vietnamese language. Special figures of speech prevent them from successful communication. The paper reviews some background information about figurative language such as metaphor, metonymy in English to show the challenges for foreign learners who are studying Vietnamese at educational institutions across Vietnam. Although the issue of figurative language is massive, the researchers selected some salient figures such as metaphor, metonymy as key issues. The researchers just selected some Vietnamese types of cultural documents such as proverbs, folk songs and idiomatic expressions to illustrate the uses of those mentioned figures of speech. The paper hopes to raise an issue for language educators in terms of integrating figurative language teaching independently in their language programs.