The language of Vietnam allows you to experience Vietnam’s diverse culture in a genuine way. Vietnam is a country of 54 ethnic groups and with 20 different languages. Spoken by more than 75 million people, Vietnamese is the official language of this country since 1945 and it belongs to the Austro-Asiatic family and applies Nom script. If you are interested in this beautiful country and its language, here are 5 compelling Vietnamese language facts that you don’t want to miss.
The Vietnamese language has six different tones
Tones play important roles in speaking Vietnamese and accents are applied to denote six distinctive tones. These tones are level (ngang), acute-angry (sắc), grave-lowering (huyền), smooth-rising (hỏi), chesty-raised (ngã), and chesty-heavy (năng). Your sentence may deliver a totally different meaning if you use an inappropriate tone. If your mother tongue is a non-tonal language, learning Vietnamese might be a great challenge.
The Vietnamese alphabet use Latin script
Vietnamese used to be written using an edited version of Chinese characters because of China’s domination over the area. However, the language was Latinized in the French colonization time. Using Latin alphabet is one of the main factors makes Vietnamese approachable to many learners, especially those from the western side. Vietnamese alphabet contains 29 letters like the Latin alphabet but F, J, W, and Z are not included.
There are many borrowing words
If you know the Chinese language, you may recognize some similarities when learning Vietnamese. The reason behind this could be the Chinese domination for thousand of years in the area. Many common words and terms such as “gia đình” (family), “đồng ý” (agree) originate from the Chinese language.
Not only Chinese, Vietnamese language also has some influences from the French language such as “áp phích” (poster), “ban công” (balcony), “ắc quy” (battery). One thing may surprise you is that the Vietnamese alphabet is actually derived from the French alphabet! This influence also comes from the French colonization time in Vietnam from 1884 to 1945.
Three different accents
Vietnam is generally regarded to be divided into three main regions which are Northern, Central, and Southern and each region has different accents. Inhabitants of the North, particularly in the Hanoi capital, are considered to have the most standard pronunciation. The main differences between dialects are the sounds used, some vocabulary, and pronunciation.
Vietnamese is the official language in the Czech Republic
Vietnamese is not only the official language of Vietnam but also the Czech Republic. In detail, it is officially recognized as the minority language in this European country since 2013 with 60.000 Vietnamese-speaking inhabitants.
Vietnamese is easy to learn in terms of grammatically speaking since the language is not inflected like English or German. However, the language can be a major challenge to some learners because of its complex system of tones. In general, Vietnamese is still one of the easy languages to learn and there are lots of resources for beginners. Above are some fascinating Vietnamese language facts that can boost your interest in this language. If you know more facts about it, don’t hesitate to comment below.