Vietnamese 1/Script and grammar

This is a guide for Languages --> Southeast Asian languages --> Vietnamese Language --> Viet script and grammar

Vietnamese (Tiếng Việt is the official language of Vietnam) this lesson explains it's constructive use as a second language for English speakers.

Language of Vietnam (Tiếng_Việt)
Speakers: 91.5 million + overseas population
English name: Vietnamese
Language name: Tiếng Việt
Spoken in: Vietnam and overseas population
Pronunciation: Hanoian, Saigon, Huế, Mekong, Ethnic, Overseas
Official Language: Vietnam
Family of languages: Austro Asiatic
Relatives: Viet, Hmong, Khmer
Writing system: Quốc Ngữ, Chữ_Nôm)

Vietnamese as a Second Language

Language System edit

Spoken edit

The spoken language of Vietnam differs between provinces. The greater the distance between provinces the stronger the difference. Directly the difference between Hanoian and Saigon, Mekong was once called a dialect difference. Nowadays, the education for all of Vietnam includes the Hanoian dialect. However, each ethnic tribe can have less national education between parents, and may still have a different dialect or vocabulary.

In computers edit

Currently, there are speaking programs that use the Vietnamese language properly. A commonly available Mozilla Add-on for the Firefox web browser can read Vietnamese (or text) with the 'vietnamization' that is needed. It's called Vietnamese TTS. TTS means Text to Speech. Audio libraries are available to reproduce the Vietnamese language. Google translate uses a TTS reader and sound library to read Vietnamese in simple sentences. Hand held versions are also very popular. Kim Tu Dien makes the most common pocket dictionary for the Vietnamese market.

Script edit

Alphabet edit

The Vietnamese alphabet.

Vietnamese dipthongs edit

The combination of two vowels makes a dipthong. The dipthongs used in the Vietnamese language have some rules when used. For example, one rule states where the singular tone marking for both letters must be placed.

Vietnamese tripthongs edit

There are more tripthongs in Vietnamese than English. 'uye' is included.

Vietnamese syllables edit

The syllables refers to the Chinese use of at least two characters as syllables. So, Hong is one and Kong the other. Vietnamese also uses singular syllables as words (monosyllabic). For example: in the same way as English, people can say just 'go'. For more emphasis (in Vietnamese) it could be said twice. The use of the syllable twice is from the history of languages for Asia. Some Australian Aboriginal languages are known do the same thing [1]. So, 'go - go' (đi đi)[2] means definitely go. But also, 'go' would have been enough in Vietnamese. Many singular syllables are used by the Vietnamese language. They can form sentences without pairing with other syllables as they do in Chinese. Readers (and speakers) still notice that many syllables, in most sentences, are paired.

Vietnamization edit

Many words from around the world were needed in Vietnamese. When a word gets vietnamization it is changed to sound Vietnamese. Chinese uses the same method of conversion Ao-day-lia in Pinyin means Australia.

The first rule edit

The first rule for vietnamization is that 'no Vietnamese word/syllable is broken by a consonant'. E.g. (Việt Nam). An example of how to break a foreign word into two syllables is mô tô which is used for motorbike. It's not the most common word for motorbike, but it is accepted. This word is a vietnamized version of 'motor' and 'auto'(ô tô).
But, the rule isn't used in every vietnamization of a word, e.g. lôgic. When introducing a common foreign word, people 'vietnamize' the word in at least one spoken demonstration for Vietnamese listeners.

  • This rule should explain a problem with the foreign use of the name Nguyen. It will never be New Yen! Y is not a consonant in Vietnam. A better explanation is by comparing the English name Ian to any name with Yen( e.g. Yến). This use of Y has an equal in English: many, penny, etc use the vowel 'y'.

The second rule edit

The second (softer) rule for vietnamization is that the sound of each syllable must be made 'a little closer to Viet sounds'. The second rule is made to work by adding the tone marks for vowel letters. For example: lôgicis an alteration of 'logic'. It would be needed to teach a couple of school and science subjects. Computer science uses this word.

Exceptions edit

Any word can be made an exception to vietnamization.

  • Names like Barak Obama, or Bill Clinton might be attempted by all Vietnamese speakers. In writing, these foreign names will mostly stay intact.
  • Names like David are easy for Vietnamese people to say, and have become very popular in English-class textbook writing.
  • Chemistry has various exceptions to Vietnamization rules. A chemical name may stay intact in script, but vietnamized in speaking.
  • Computer jargon and proprietary names may remain completely intact with only slight accent differences when speaking.

Grammar edit

Sentence beginnings edit

  • sau đó, (after that)
  • trước khi, (before when)

  • mình yêu, (I love)
  • Tôi đang ở, (I am at)
  • anh có, (you (fellow) have)

  • ở chợ, (at the market)
  • Có hạt, (Has nut)
  • đây là, (this is)
  • Đúng, tôi, sẽ được (Correct, I will be able)
  • Xin anh, (Please, you)

  • đi ủi, (To iron/press, Go iron)
  • Mang cho tôi,(Bring for me)

References edit