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Vietnamese Language Vietnamese Pronunciation: Alphabet and Pronunciation

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Vietnamese Alphabet, IPA Pronuncation, Video, Virtual Keyboard...

Hello Polyglots 😀


The Vietnamese alphabet (chữ Quốc ngữ) is the modern Latin writing script for Vietnamese. It uses the Latin script based on Romance languages.


The Vietnamese alphabet contains 29 letters.


In today's lesson, you will learn how to write the different letters of the Vietnamese alphabet, how to pronounce these letters whether it is through the International Phonetic Alphabet (IPA), or through a video with the pronunciation of the letters by a native speaker.


You will also find at the end of this lesson a virtual keyboard to be able to type each special character of this language.



Vietnamese Alphabet and Pronunciation[edit | edit source]

Alphabet[edit | edit source]

Letter Name IPA
A a a /aː˧/
Ă ă á /aː˧˥/
 â /əː˧˥/
B b bê; bờ /ɓe˧, ɓəː˧˩/
C c xê; cờ /se˧, kəː˧˩/
D d dê; dờ /ze˧, zəː˧˩/
Đ đ đê; đờ /ɗe˧, ɗəː˧˩/
E e e /ɛ˧/
Ê ê ê /e˧/
G g giê; gờ /ze˧, ɣəː˧˩/
H h hát; hờ /hat˥, həː˧˩/
I i i; i ngắn /i˧, i˧ ŋan˧˥/
K k ca /kaː˧/
L l e-lờ; lờ /(ɛ˧)ləː˧˩/
M m em-mờ; mờ /(ɛm˧)məː˧˩/
N n en-nờ; nờ /(ɛn˧)nəː˧˩/
O o o /ɔ˧/
Ô ô ô /o˧/
Ơ ơ ơ /əː˧/
P p pê; pờ; bê phở (colloq.) /pe˧, pəː˧˩/
Q q cu; quy; quờ /ku˧, kwi˧, kwəː˧˩/
R r e-rờ; rờ /ɛ˧ɹəː˧˩, ʐəː˧˩/
S s ét-xì; sờ; sờ sẻ /ɛt˦˥si˧˩, ʂəː˧˩/
T t tê; tờ /te˧, təː˧˩/
U u u /u˧/
Ư ư ư /ɨ˧/
V v vê, vờ /ve˧, vəː˧/
X x ích xì; xờ; xờ xe /ik˦˥si˧˩, səː˧˩/
Y y i dài; i-cờ-rét /i˧zaːj˧˩, i˧kəː˧ɹɛt˦˥/

Consonants[edit | edit source]



apheme Word-Initial (IPA) Word-Final Notes
Northern Southern Northern Southern
B b /ɓ/
C c /k/ /k̚/ ⟨k⟩ is used instead when preceding ⟨i y e ê⟩. K is also used before U in the Vietnamese city Pleiku.

⟨qu⟩ is used instead of ⟨co cu⟩ if a /w/ on-glide exists. Realized as [k͡p] in word-final position following rounded vowels ⟨u ô o⟩.

Ch ch /tɕ/ /c/ /ʲk/ /t̚/ Multiple phonemic analyses of final ⟨ch⟩ have been proposed (main article).
D d /z/ /j/ In Middle Vietnamese, ⟨d⟩ represented /ð/. The distinction between ⟨d⟩ and ⟨gi⟩ is now purely etymological in most modern dialects.
Đ đ /ɗ/
G g /ɣ/
Gh gh Spelling used ⟨gh⟩ instead of ⟨g⟩ before ⟨i e ê⟩, seemingly to follow the Italian convention. ⟨g⟩ is not allowed in these environments.
Gi gi /z/ /j/ In Middle Vietnamese, ⟨gi⟩ represented /ʝ/. The distinction between ⟨d⟩ and ⟨gi⟩ is now purely etymological in most modern dialects. Realized as [ʒ] in Northern spelling pronunciation. Spelled ⟨g⟩ before another ⟨i⟩.
H h /h/
K k /k/ Spelling used instead of ⟨c⟩ before ⟨i y e ê⟩ to follow the European tradition. ⟨c⟩ is not allowed in these environments.
Kh kh /x/ In Middle Vietnamese, ⟨kh⟩ was pronounced [kʰ]
L l /l/
M m /m/ /m/
N n /n/ /n/ /ŋ/ In Southern Vietnamese, word-final ⟨n⟩ is realized as [ŋ] if not following ⟨i ê⟩.
Ng ng /ŋ/ /ŋ/ Realized as [ŋ͡m] in word-final position following rounded vowels ⟨u ô o⟩.
Ngh ngh Spelling used instead of ⟨ng⟩ before ⟨i e ê⟩ in accordance with ⟨gh⟩.
Nh nh /ɲ/ /ʲŋ/ /n/ Multiple phonemic analyses of final ⟨nh⟩ have been proposed (main article).
P p /p/ Only occurs initially in loanwords. Some Vietnamese pronounce it as a "b" sound instead (as in Arabic).
Ph ph /f/ In Middle Vietnamese, ⟨ph⟩ was pronounced [pʰ]
Qu qu /kʷ/ Spelling used in place of ⟨co cu⟩ if a /w/ on-glide exists.
R r /z/ /r/ Variably pronounced as a fricative [ʐ], approximant [ɹ], flap [ɾ] or trill [r] in Southern speech.
S s /s/ /ʂ/ Realized as [ʃ] in Northern spelling pronunciation.
T t /t/ /t̚/ /k/ In Southern Vietnamese, word-final ⟨t⟩ is realized as [k] if not following ⟨i ê⟩.
Th th /tʰ/
Tr tr /tɕ/ /ʈ/ Realized as [tʃ] in Northern spelling pronunciation.
V v /v/ In Middle Vietnamese, it was represented by a b with flourish ⟨⟩ and was pronounced [β].

Can be realized as [v] in Southern speech through spelling pronunciation and in loanwords.

X x /s/ In Middle Vietnamese, ⟨x⟩ was pronounced [ɕ].

Spelling and pronunciation in Vietnamese[edit | edit source]



Spelling Sound
a  /a/ ([æ] in some dialects) except as below

 /ă/ in au /ăw/ and ay /ăj/ (but /a/ in ao /aw/ and ai /aj/)  /ăj/ before syllable-final nh /ŋ/ and ch /k/, see

 Vietnamese phonology#Analysis of final chnh  /ə̯/ in ưa /ɨə̯/, ia /iə̯/ and ya /iə̯/

 /ə̯/ in ua except after q

ă  /ă/
â  /ə̆/
e  /ɛ/
ê  /e/ except as below

 /ə̆j/ before syllable-final nh /ŋ/ and ch /k/, see  Vietnamese phonology#Analysis of final chnh

 /ə̯/ in  /iə̯/ and  /iə̯/

i  /i/ except as below

 /j/ after any vowel letter

o  /ɔ/ except as below

 /ăw/ before ng and c  /w/ after any vowel letter (= after a or e)

 /w/ before any vowel letter except i (= before ăa or e)

ô  /o/ except as below

 /ə̆w/ before ng and c except after a u that is not preceded by a q  /ə̯/ in  except after q

ơ  /ə/ except as below

 /ə̯/ in ươ /ɨə̯/

u  /u/ except as below

 /w/ after q or any vowel letter  /w/ before any vowel letter except aô and i

 Before aô and i: /w/ if preceded by q, /u/ otherwise

ư  /ɨ/
y  /i/ except as below

 /j/ after any vowel letter except u (= after â and a)

Tone marks[edit | edit source]

Diacritic Symbol Name Contour Vowels with diacritic
unmarked N/A Ngang mid level, ˧ A/a, Ă/ă, Â/â, E/e, Ê/ê, I/i, O/o, Ô/ô, Ơ/ơ, U/u, Ư/ư, Y/y
grave accent à Huyền low falling, ˨˩ À/à, Ằ/ằ, Ầ/ầ, È/è, Ề/ề, Ì/ì, Ò/ò, Ồ/ồ, Ờ/ờ, Ù/ù, Ừ/ừ, Ỳ/ỳ
hook above Hỏi mid falling, ˧˩ (Northern); dipping, ˨˩˥ (Southern) Ả/ả, Ẳ/ẳ, Ẩ/ẩ, Ẻ/ẻ, Ể/ể, Ỉ/ỉ, Ỏ/ỏ, Ổ/ổ, Ở/ở, Ủ/ủ, Ử/ử, Ỷ/ỷ
tilde ã Ngã glottalized rising, ˧˥ˀ (Northern); slightly lengthened Dấu Hỏi tone (Southern) Ã/ã, Ẵ/ẵ, Ẫ/ẫ, Ẽ/ẽ, Ễ/ễ, Ĩ/ĩ, Õ/õ, Ỗ/ỗ, Ỡ/ỡ, Ũ/ũ, Ữ/ữ, Ỹ/ỹ
acute accent á Sắc high rising, ˧˥ Á/á, Ắ/ắ, Ấ/ấ, É/é, Ế/ế, Í/í, Ó/ó, Ố/ố, Ớ/ớ, Ú/ú, Ứ/ứ, Ý/ý
dot below Nặng glottalized falling, ˧˨ˀ (Northern); low rising, ˩˧ (Southern) Ạ/ạ, Ặ/ặ, Ậ/ậ, Ẹ/ẹ, Ệ/ệ, Ị/ị, Ọ/ọ, Ộ/ộ, Ợ/ợ, Ụ/ụ, Ự/ự, Ỵ/ỵ

English Approximant[edit | edit source]

Vietnamese Alphabet English Sound Pronunciation Example
a α: 'a' as in father
â ɜ 'u' as in but
ă α 'a' as in hat
b ɓ 'b' as in big
c k 'c' as in cat
ch t∫, c 'ch' as in church
d z, j 'z' as in zoo (north), 'y' as in yes (south)
đ ɗ 'd' as in done
e ε 'e' as in get
ê e 'a' as in mate
g ɣ 'g' as in good
gh ɣ 'g' as in good
gi z, j 'z' as in zoo (north), 'y' as in yes (south)
h h 'h' as in house
i i 'i' as in machine (north), 'b' as in bit (south)
k k 'c' as in cat
kh kh, x 'ch' as in the German Bach
l l 'l' as in life
m m 'm' as in man
n n 'n' as in nice
ng ŋ 'ng' as in singer
ngh ŋ 'ng' as in singer
nh ɲ 'ny' as in cranyon
o ɔ 'o' as in hot
ô o 'oa' as in boat
ơ ɜ: 'u' as in fur
p p watch video below
ph f 'f' as in find
qu kw 'qu' as in queue
r z, ɹ 'z' as in zoo (north), 'r' as in ring (south)
s s, ∫ 's' as in sore (north), 's' as in sure (south)
t t 't' as in stop
th th 't' as in top
tr t∫, ʈɽ 'ch' as in church (north), 'tr' as in tree (south)
u ʊ 'oo' as in boot
ư ɨ 'oo' as in boot
v v, j 'v' as in van (north), 'y' as in yes (south)
x s 's' as in sore
y i watch video below

Video - Vietnamese Alphabet Pronunciation by a Native Speaker[edit | edit source]


Vietnamese Online Virtual Keyboard[edit | edit source]

Sources[edit | edit source]

Contributors

Vincent, Hdhuylucky and GrimPixel


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