What will happen with vietnams language divide

The increased presence of southern dialects on Vietnamese state television may be a sign that true unification is happening between the country’s politically dominant north and the economically stronger south.

After a war between the north and south from the early 1960s until 1975, the language adopted as standard became that of the north, the winner, which is primarily used in Hanoi. Since then, state-run Vietnam Television(VTV) had been dominated by announcers from the northern region.

In 2013, however, the first announcer from the south appeared on a nationwide VTV news program. There are now three announcers who speak southern dialects on TV today. Their accents are distinctive from northern intonations, especially when pronouncing words with the letter “z,” “y” or “r.”

In the current environment, it can be common for both professional TV anchors and ordinary Vietnamese to continue speaking their local dialects and refrain from adopting the standard language.

The north-south divide seems to exist even among younger generations who did not experience the war. A 32-year-old company employee in Hanoi said she is proud of the language spoken in her hometown of Ho Chi Minh City, the former capital of South Vietnam, previously known as Saigon, and does not feel the need to adapt her language.

Many people once thought that Nguyen Tan Dung, the former prime minister from the southern province of Ca Mau, might become the first secretary-general of Vietnam’s Communist Party — the country’s supreme leader — to hail from the south. But overcoming the north’s dominance proved too difficult, and he eventually stepped down.

Ho Chi Minh City is the economic capital of Vietnam, and most major companies, such as Vietnam Dairy Products (Vinamilk) and VietJet Air, are based in the south. Despite the south’s economic dominance, though, the north’s political establishment continues to control the country — a situation that rankles southerners. Even the city’s secretary, Dinh La Thang, is from the north.

For a country sometimes described, ironically, as two countries under one system, a small change at its state broadcaster may be a big step toward the unification of north and south.