French influence in Vietnam in the 19th century.

Essay by NataliejdV March 2008

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In the 19th century, the French had a great influence in Vietnam in different aspects including; culture, religion, ethics, economy, politics and government and nationalistic aspirations of the Vietnamese. The French ruled Vietnam from approximately mid-late 1800's until 1954 when Vietnam defeated the French. According by Edward Terry on the geocities website, the greatest influence in Vietnam was that of religion. Others may think differently, but this essay will explain how all different aspects had an impact on Vietnam and whether or not the French had a good or bad influence in Vietnam. According to the textbook Contested Spaces by Thomas Cantwell, French colonialism had a negative influence on Vietnamese society.

The French had a huge impact on the Vietnamese culture. French culture strongly influenced Vietnamese food, language, some architecture etc. The French cuisine had a great influence in Vietnam as you can still find asparagus, white potato and French bread on menus in Vietnam.

A Vietnamese breakfast would be a baguette, yogurt and orange juice, which are all typical French items. In the South, the influence was the greatest, so these things are most often found in southern Vietnam. Before the French came, the Vietnamese used Chinese characters but French missionaries introduced the Latin alphabet to replace that. The Vietnamese written language doesn't only use 26 characters like the English language, but many different with different accents. Actual Vietnamese words were hardly influenced by the French and it could be said that in the 19th century, the Vietnamese spoken language sounded just like the Chinese spoken language to people who couldn't tell the difference. Even though the French language didn't have a great impact on the Vietnamese spoken language, many well educated Vietnamese speak French. The French influence in Vietnamese culture wasn't particularly bad or good. Even though, some...