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» Differentiating Vietnamese vowels in diphthongs

Spelling Vietnamese

02.02.08 | admin | In orthography, Vietnamese

Language hack:
Spelling Vietnamese is difficult. It’s difficult because it’s hard to understand and differentiate between vowels and it’s difficult because there are many ways to write the same consonant sound. For example, in the south of Vietnam they pronounce gi, d, and v the same — as y. There are some tricks however. There are many more words that begin with v than d or gi. But if you’re lucky the speaker will actually pronounce v’s and you will only have to figure out if they’re saying d or gi.

If the word begins with a k sound then remember French spelling rules. If followed by any form of e or i/y then the letter is k otherwise c. Likewise g changes its sound in French if followed by e or i and so an h follows the g (that’s why gi is different). In Vietnamese it’s no different if there is an n before the g so you don’t have words like ngin but rather nghin.

If you’re confusing the different a sounds then know that ă is very rare compared to a and â. Likewise if you are confusing â and ơ know that ơ is less common than â. Also, as mentioned in the Vietnamese vowels post, â is basically a shortened version of ơ and a higher version of ă.

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« Learning Vietnamese: the first thousand words
» Differentiating Vietnamese vowels in diphthongs