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Foreign Language Institute’s Vietnamese Basic Course and learning tones

12.13.07 | admin | In Vietnamese

If you’re just learning Vietnamese one of the first problems you will encounter are the six tones (depending on the dialect) especially if you come from English or another language where tone does not change the meaning of a word.  I posted previously a utility to practice hearing the different Vietnamese tones but I have just discovered the best audio source yet for practicing tones.  I’ve checked out audio books like Teach Yourself Vietnamese and Colloquial Vietnamese which both have short introductions to the tones in the beginning.  I have found neither book sufficient for learning the tones although Colloquial Vietnamese is slightly better.

What I found is that the Foreign Language Institute’s entire Vietnamese Basic Course Volume 1 is available for free online.  This means that you can learn Vietnamese like Americans who go to work for the American Embassy in Vietnam learn.  I guess that it’s your tax money that’s paying for it so it should be free.

The Vietnamese Basic Course includes a Guide to Pronunciation which is the best treatment yet that I have found for learning Vietnamese tones.  The exercises give many examples of sounds that differ only in their tone so you’ll get lots of experience hearing similar tones and discerning the differences between tones.

Not only is the Vietnamese course from the Foreign Language Institute available online for free but all the languages that they teach are also available.  This includes Amharic (Ethiopia), Arabic (several dialects including classical, Levantine, Saudi Arabic), Bulgarian, Cambodian, Cantonese, Chinese, Chinyanja, Finnish, French, German, Greek, Hausa, Hindi, Hebrew, Hungarian, Igbo, Italian, Korean, Lao, Moré, Portuguese, Romanian, Russian, Spanish, Swahili, Swedish, Thai, Turkish, Twi, Vietnamese, and Yoruba.

You can find the basic course here and get links to the other languages.

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