Embassy of vietnam Vietnam holidays, tours, hotels and other travel: Language of Vietnamese

Language of Vietnamese

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Spoken as the mother tongue of more than 86% of the country's population,
Vietnamese is the official/national language in Vietnam.
Origin
Though much effort has been paid to trace the origin of Vietnamese language,
so-far findings remain debatable. It is, however, unquestionable that it does
emerge from the aspirations of its people to have something speak for their own
cultural identity (in both oral and written ways). After a long time borrowing
Chinese characters, in 14th century, Vietnamese people created their own scripts
called "chu Nom" to set down their language. In 17th century, with huge joint
effort of Western missionaries, notably Alexandre de Rhodes, it was transcribed
again into Romanised scripts which later became the national language characters
(chu Quoc Ngu).
Pronunciation
Vietnamese, albeit written with Latin letters, somewhat sounds complicated for
foreigners to pronounce. It is a tonal language with six different tones.
Specifically, the meaning of a word is determined by the pitch at which it is
delivered. The word ba, for example, can mean:
* three with the mid-level tone (ba)
* grandmother with the low falling tone (bà)
* poisoned food with the low rising tone (b?)
* aunt with the high rising tone (bá)
* waste with the high broken tone (bã)
* or random with the low broken tone (b?).
Thus, learning how to say a Vietnamese word is much easier with asking locals
for sample pronunciation in advance.
Dialects
There are at least three dialects in Vietnam: northern, central and southern.
Even with standardized grammar, the accents do vary significantly among these
regions. The accent of Hanoians is considered the "standard" Vietnamese.
In all, Vietnamese people do take great pride in their beautiful language with
abundance of vocabulary, rhythm as well as emotional and literary creation
power. It is absolutely possible for you to grasp a little of this
Vietnameseness. Also, this is fun and heartily encouraged with local smiles of
welcome.
Vietnamese ethnic language
Vietnamese cultural fabric is woven by not only Viet/King people but also 53
other ethnic groups, each with its own language. Twenty four of these minorities
even have their own writing scripts. The rest live in oral societies with no
less rich traditional literature. As some of these languages are now in danger
of extinction, Vietnam government is striving hard to sustain and develop them
while at the same time popularizing Vietnamese language as a lingua franca of
the whole nation.
Your languages:
Coming to Vietnam now, you should relax yourself out of language obstruction
since more and more foreign languages are increasingly popular. English is
compulsorily taught at almost every school. French and Russian are mostly common
in the North. Japanese, Chinese, Korean and Spanish are also rising in
popularity. Most tours will be provided with efficient English speaking guides.
You can, of course, ask for a guide of your language though this chance may
depend much on the travel agents and locations you are dealing with.

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