There are around 7100 languages worldwide, and by traveling to different countries, one would encounter a few different ones. Since Vietnam locates between a few Asian countries, there is a wide variety of languages around, leaving travelers wondering what language they speak there.
Vietnamese gets spoken by at least 85% of the population and is the official language of Vietnam. Vietnamese has three distinct dialects: Northern, Southern, and Central. English is a universally recognized language, and many Vietnamese people understand it.
What Are The Differences Between Vietnamese Dialects?
Vietnamese has multiple dialects and accent differences. Northern Vietnamese dialects have six different voice tones, Central and Southern dialects have five, and some Central dialects have four. The various dialects have an alternative vocabulary and pronunciation differences but are mostly mutually understood by natives throughout Vietnam.
It may be difficult for new language learners to catch on to all the Vietnamese dialects, so to start learning, they should start with one dialect and ease into the others. Choosing a dialect should depend on where the learner lives and their available language resources.
What Other Languages Do They Speak In Vietnam?
There are over 50 different languages spoken in Vietnam, including Kinh, Thai, Cham, and Khmer. These languages are all minorities, and speakers are almost always expats that made Vietnam their home. France colonized Vietnam long ago, so many schools still teach French.
Do They Speak English In Vietnam?
English gets spoken too, but less than one would think and is mainly used by tourism professionals. English has only recently become a compulsory second language taught in schools, so many more locals will speak English to keep up with Western nations partnered with Vietnam.
Can Vietnamese Speakers Understand English?
When tourists visit Vietnam, they likely know English, as it is the universal language, and the great news is that most Vietnamese locals that work in the tourism industry can communicate in English too. Still, they might struggle a little with pronunciation.
If tourists travel to more remote places, those locals will most likely not be able to communicate, as English is only a second language in Vietnam. Travelers will benefit by downloading an offline English-to-Vietnamese translator on their phones in scenarios where there is a language barrier.
What Does Vietnamese Sound Like To Foreigners?
Foreigners will hear different things because of the various Vietnamese dialects. Many people have described Vietnamese as sounding like the person is singing; others say it sounds nasal, but it depends on the person. Some dialects have more ‘y’ sounds, and some have ‘z’ sounds, which may confuse the ear.
What Is The History Of The Vietnamese Language?
Vietnamese used to be called Annamese and has a linked history with Khmer sharing similar consonants and language tones. Over 50% of current-day Vietnamese developed from Chinese, as Vietnam was once under Chinese rule.
French colonization in the late 19th century also impacted the Vietnamese language. French was taught as a subject in schools during the colonization, and French words got adopted into Vietnamese. Chinese uses three tones, but the Vietnamese developed them into six and developed them onwards.
The vocabulary influenced by the Chinese includes science, politics, and medicine. French colonization influenced the Vietnamese words for food, fashion, and infrastructure, and the English vocabulary influenced modern-day words for technology.
How Long Do You Need To Learn Vietnamese?
An English speaker would take around four to six months of consistent learning to speak Vietnamese to the point of carrying on an introductory conversation and about a year and a half to speak fluently. Some people learn faster than others.
The US Foreign Service Institute says it would take 1100 hours of class, meaning it would take three years of an hour a day, but people can learn the basics quicker if they practice having conversations and learn efficiently.
Suppose someone is fluent in Chinese or another Austroasiatic language; in that case, they will most likely take on Vietnamese a lot easier and become fluent quickly due to the language similarities in things like pronunciation.
How Difficult Is Vietnamese Grammar?
Vietnamese grammar might be the simplest of all languages out there! You can make the sentence as simple as possible to get your point across, leave out tenses, and the sentence will still be correct.
The grammar makes learning Vietnamese easy, but harder for Vietnamese speakers to learn English, which is why you might hear them saying incomplete sentences. In addition to easy grammar, Vietnamese doesn’t have ambiguous words and no word genders!
Is Vietnamese Or Chinese Easier To Learn?
Mandarin, the Chinese language, is one of the most complicated languages to learn as an English speaker, so Vietnamese is easier by far. The US Foreign Service Institute states that an English speaker needs 2200 hours of class to get fluent in Mandarin, which is double the time for Vietnamese.
Is Vietnamese More Difficult Than Thai?
Thailand and Vietnam are close together and often compete as tourists’ destination choices, but Vietnamese is more straightforward in terms of which language to learn. The Vietnamese Latin alphabet makes learning more straightforward for English learners, but both languages are equal in pronunciation and grammar.
Is Vietnamese Similar To Japanese?
Vietnamese and Japanese are not similar at all. They have alternative-sounding vowels, their language classification is different, and the grammar structure of sentences differs too. The only fundamental similarity between the two is that they both borrow words from Chinese Mandarin.
Is It Worth It To Learn Vietnamese?
As a tourist, learning a language helps to immerse within the destination’s culture, and learning Vietnamese will help them navigate and experience Vietnam at a new level. Tourists could hear locals’ stories and make new Vietnamese friends by learning Vietnamese.
Unfortunately, only a few countries have Vietnamese as a common language as a minority language, so understanding the basics for visiting will be worthwhile, but maybe only the entire language if you live there. If someone decides to learn Vietnamese, it isn’t too difficult to understand once the basics are learned.