The Vietnamese alphabet, as literally known as “national language script”, is the modern writing system for the Vietnamese language. We must admit that pronouncing Vietnamese can be hard and arduous since it has six tones and numbers of strange vowel sounds that don’t exist in English. However, trust me, this language is much easier to learn than you may think. Here are some reasons that will completely change your thought. If you are about to go for a Vietnam tour, it is cool to say some simple Vietnamese sentences by yourself, right?

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The Similarity between Vietnamese & English

Despite some minor differences, these two languages still have something in common. Below is a table of both consonants and vowels, which shows the Vietnamese alphabet, and some examples of how those letters sound if you put them in a word.

Vietnamese Alphabet English Sound

Pronunciation Example

a

ɑː

‘a’ as in far

á

a

‘a’ as in bat

â

ɜ

‘i’ as in bird

b

ɓ

‘b’ as in boy

c

k

‘c’ as in cop

ch

t∫, c

‘ch’ as in match

d

z, j

‘z’ as in zigzag (north), ‘y’ as in yard (south)

đ

ɗ

‘d’ as in do

e

e

‘e’ as in get

ê

e

‘a’ as in mate

g

ɣ

‘g’ as in gab

gh

ɣ

‘g’ as in gab

gi

z, j

‘z’ as in zigzag (north), ‘y’ as in yard (south)

h

h

‘h’ as in horse

i

i

‘i’ as in evening (north) or in in (south)

k

k

‘c’ as in cop

kh

kh, x

‘ch’ as in the German Bach

l

l

‘l’ as in live

m

m

‘m’ as in mango

n

n

‘n’ as in nine

ng

Ŋ

‘ng’ as in thing

ngh

Ŋ

‘ng’ as in thing

nh

ɲ, nj

‘ny’ as in canyon

o

ɔ

‘o’ as in ought

ô

o

‘o’ as in note

ơ

ɜ:

‘u’ as in urban

p

p

‘p’ as in pink

ph

f

‘f’ as in fix

qu

kw

‘qu’ as in queue

r

z, ɹ

‘z’ as in zoo (north), ‘r’ as in rabbit (south)

s

s, ∫

‘s’ as in sick (north), ‘s’ as in chef (south)

t

t

‘t’ as in toe

th

th

‘th’ as in think

tr

t∫, ʈɽ

‘ch’ as in watch (north), ‘tr’ as in truck (south)

u

ʊ

‘oo’ as in boost

ư

ɨ

‘oo’ as in boost

v

v, j

‘v’ as in vain (north), ‘y’ as in yes (south)

x

s

‘s’ as in sand

y

i

‘i’ as in ink

Do you believe that Vietnamese tenses are so easy that foreigners can learn in two minutes? Just take a look at this tip: Easy Vietnamese Tenses

đã = in the past

mới = in the past, more recent than “đã”

đang = right now, at this very moment

sắp = soon, in the near future

sẽ = in the future

(There are some others, but these 5 can support you in almost all situations.)

Let’s take the basic verb “đi bộ” (to walk by foot) for example, and stick one of these 5 typical words in front of it:

Tôi đi bộ tới trường = I walk to school.

Tôi đã đi bộ tới trường = I walked to school.

Tôi mới đi bộ tới trường = I just walked to school, I recently walked to school.

Tôi đang đi bộ tới trường = I am walking to school (right now)

Tôi sắp đi bộ tới trường = I am going to walk to school, I am about to walk to school.

Tôi sẽ đi bộ tới trường = I will walk to school.

Well done! You are now able to express yourself in Vietnamese! It is fairly simple, right?

The Differences between Vietnamese & English

Say No to Plural Form of Vietnamese Nouns

One fish and two fish, a shelf but some shelves, one bacterium, and numbers of bacteria. It is exactly a horrible nightmare for those who study irregular forms of English plural nouns. In contrast, luckily, foreigners can get rid of this unwanted problem since Vietnamese has no plurals. In other words, the singular and plural forms of nouns are the same! If you want to express the meaning more specifically and clearly, you just need to add quantifiers like “one” or “some” in front of the word. For example, “một giá sách” (a shelf) và “một vài giá” sách (some shelves).

vietnamese language

Vietnamese Language Has No Genders

It can be seen that Vietnamese has no grammatical gender. If you have ever learned French or German (except for English), you can sigh with relief because gender, often irregular and illogical, is truly a challenge for learners. Now you can forget about the concept of “masculine” or “feminine” words, which make your Vietnamese learning journey much easier.