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How to pronunciate Vietnamese?



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How to pronunciate Vietnamese?

Bài gửi by congdantoancau on 4th September 2014, 18:54

Vietnamese (tiếng Việt)

Vietnamese is an Austroasiatic language spoken by about 68 million people in Vietnam. It is also spoken in Australia, Cambodia, Canada, China, Côte d'Ivoire, Finland, France, Germany, Laos, Martinique, Netherlands, New Caledonia, Norway, Philippines, Senegal, Thailand, the UK, USA and Vanuatu.

Vietnamese was originally written with a Siniform (Chinese-like) script known as Chữ-nôm or Nôm. At first most Vietnamese literature was essentially Chinese in structure and vocabulary. Later literature developed a more Vietnamese style, but was still full of Chinese loan words. The greatest literary work in Vietnamese is Kim Van Kieu, the 'Tale of Kieu', a romance written by Nguyen-Du (1765-1820).

Chữ-nôm was used until the 20th century. Courses in the Chữ-nôm script were available at Ho Chi Minh University until 1993, but since then knowledge of and interest in the script has died out.

During the 17th century, Roman Catholic missionaries introduced a Latin-based orthography for Vietnamese, Quốc Ngữ (national language),which has been used ever since. Until the early 20th century, Quốc Ngữ was used in parallel with Chữ-nôm. Today only Quốc Ngữ is used.

Vietnamese Alphabet

The Vietnamese alphabet has the following 39 letters (29 single and 10 clusters):

[size=48]A Ă Â B C D Đ E Ê G H I K L M N O Ô Ơ P Q R S T U Ư V X Y

a ă â b c d đ e ê g h i k l m n o ô ơ p q r s t u ư v x y [/size]

The letters J, W and Z are also used, but only in foreign loan words.

Consonants & Clusters

There is a trend in the Vietnamese language to pronounce all kinds of consonants as single sounds. Groups of consonants are pronounced as if they were single consonants. Consonants located at the end of words are not pronounced at all, which make the language sound a bit more confusing for foreigner at the first contacts.

All consonants not listed here are pronounced as they would be in standard English

[size=48]d[/size] like 'z' as in 'zero'
[size=48]đ[/size] is the English 'd'
[size=48]v[/size] sometime pronounced as 'y' too

[size=48]ch[/size] like 'ch' in 'chat'
[size=48]gh[/size] like normal 'g' as in 'go'
[size=48]kh[/size] like nomal 'k' as in 'kite'
[size=48]nh[/size] like French 'gn' in 'champaigne'
[size=48]ng, ngh[/size] like 'ng' in 'bang'
[size=48]ph[/size] like normal 'f' as in 'fur'
[size=48]qu[/size] like normal 'q' as in 'queen'
[size=48]th[/size] like normal 't' as in 'Tom'
[size=48]tr[/size] as in 'try'


The Vietnamese language uses a large numbers of vowels and groups of vowels to create different sounds, which are at first glance difficult for an English speaker to recognize. But when they are used in words, phrases or sentences, the context can help you to make them out easier.

[size=48]a[/size] like 'a' in 'flat'
[size=48]ă[/size] 'ah!' like when someone startles you
[size=48]â[/size] like 'a' in 'father'
[size=48]e[/size] like 'e' in 'heir'
[size=48]ê[/size] as in 'Café' or 'eh'
[size=48]i[/size] 'ee'
[size=48]o[/size] like 'o' in 'block'
[size=48]ô[/size] 'oh'
[size=48]ơ[/size] like 'u' in 'put'
[size=48]u[/size] 'oo'
[size=48]ư[/size] like 'u' in 'ugh'
[size=48]y[/size] 'ee'


For speaker of English the sounds of Vietnamese are quite different. They are typically short with single consonants and one or groups of vowels. The big issue is the pronunciation of the words using the correct tone. In Vietnamese there are many words which are spelt and pronounced in exactly the same way, but meaning something quite different. The way the words are distinguished is by the tone used when pronouncing it. English usually employs tones butthe tonal quality is used for emphasis or emotion.

There are six basic tones in Vietnamese, five of which are indicated by a diacritic above or below a letter, the last tone is not indicated at all, which means you keep your voice unchanged when pronouncing.

The word ma can have six different meanings depending on the tone:

[size=48]ma[/size] meaning 'ghost' - no tone
[size=48]má[/size] meaning 'mother' (southern accent) - raising ( / )
[size=48]mà[/size] meaning 'but' - falling ( \ )
[size=48]mả[/size] meaning 'tomb' - questioning ( ? )
[size=48]mã[/size] meaning 'horse' - falling-raising ( [size=48]~[/size] )
[size=48]mạ[/size] meaning 'burgeon' - weighing ( [size=48].[/size] )

Tones are normally placed on vowels, not consonants.

*Source: Vietnamese Online


Tổng số bài gửi : 624
Tiền xu Ⓑ : 1712
Được cảm ơn № : 25
Ngày khởi sự Ngày khởi sự : 12/05/2014

Re: How to pronunciate Vietnamese?

Bài gửi by congdantoancau on 4th September 2014, 19:16

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