To give you some concrete examples (“tôi” means “I”): Better yet, you can often skip these words entirely if it’s obvious from the context – for example “tôi ăn cÆ¡m hom qua” – “I eat rice yesterday” – is perfectly valid Vietnamese. “Dog” becomes “dogs”, “table” becomes “tables” and “house” becomes “houses”. Some syllables are lower while other are higher. Next, the following are Vietnamese compound words formed from two existing words. Unconventional language hacking tips from Benny the Irish polyglot; travelling the world to learn languages to fluency and beyond! So, unlike Mandarin, Cantonese, Japanese, Thai, Cambodian, Korean, Hindi, or dozens of other Asian languages, there's no need to learn a new alphabet to read Vietnamese . Answer 1 of 14: Hi.....probably a questions geared towards all the expats here! Once you can read the Vietnamese alphabet’s 28 letters (which, remember, are almost exactly the same as English’s 26), and understand its five tone marks, you can read any Vietnamese word. I hablo, you hablas, he habla, we hablamos, and the list goes on. But people tend to lack dedication because you can live a perfectly convenient life in Vietnam without speaking a word of the language. The classifier goes between the number and the noun. This means no complex verb changes. The surprise was that Vietnamese wasn't only about many accents, It was about pronunciation and ages as well. The North Vietnamese eventually won and the country was united by the communists in 1975. Every other aspect of the language is extremely easy – far easier that what you might expect, especially compared to most European languages. The same letter is always pronounced the same way no matter what the word or context (disclaimer: this holds true more for Hanoi Vietnamese than Saigon Vietnamese, which has a very small number of inconsistencies), and you can always tell from reading a single Vietnamese word exactly how it’s supposed to be pronounced. 15. You will need to learn the differences between Northern, Central and Southern Vietnamese (the former and the latter are the more commonly spoken, especially in the media). In the modern era government-controlled media has kept a strong grip on national cultural values while in recent years Southeast Asian, East Asian as well as Western culture have played a increasingly influential role. In terms of learning to read, Korean has a relatively straightforward alphabet that doesn't take too long to learn, unlike the characters used in Chinese and Japanese writing systems, so you can start sounding out words pretty quickly. This massively speeds up your learning of new vocabulary! Direct/indirect objects – There is no fixed order for direct objects and indirect objects. Fluent in 3 months - Language Hacking and Travel Tips. There are three major styles/dialects of spoken Vietnamese – northern (around the capital city of Hanoi), central (around the city of Hue) and southern (around the major southern city of Ho Chi Minh City). In particular, in the areas of science and technology. Just how difficult is the Vietnamese language? In the 80s Vietnam switched from a centralised command economy to this more mixed market economy. Stress doesn’t play too significant a part in Vietnamese. This script shares many letter from the English alphabet while at the same time adding additional letters for long and short vowels and diacritics to denote tones. Just take the original verb, e.g. Factor in different tenses and subtleties like the grammatical “mood” (indicative vs subjunctive), and a single Spanish verb has over fifty different forms that learners have to memorize. There are more examples than I can begin to list, but to give you an idea: a bench is a “long chair”, a refrigerator is a “cold cupboard”, a bra is a “breast shirt” and a bicycle is a “pedal vehicle”. A lot of the vowel sounds combine together in Vietnamese so keep an eye on that. Around the 13th century Vietnamese began to be written in a script called Chữ-nôm. You need to be patient, persistent, diligent and consistent but if you keep it up, you will eventually get there! Have I convinced you yet that Vietnamese just might be easier than you previously thought? Pity the poor learner of Spanish. The Vietnamese people are very friendly and hospitable, and language learners report they make the effort to learn Vietnamese well worth it. It's true that, with six tones and a plethora of strange vowel sounds that we don’t have in English, pronouncing Vietnamese can be tricky. So if you’re learning Vietnamese, or thinking about learning, it’s likely that all you’ve been getting so far is discouragement! Learning Vietnamese can make you feel a part of a tight-knit community that honors your effort to learn their language with patience and kindness. Pretty much impossible, if you ask the Vietnamese themselves. If 1 is super easy and 10 is some super hard tribal language based on clicks then spoken Vietnamese is probably an 8, maybe 9. In attempting to learn anything it is best to first deconstruct the problem and then break down the learning task into manageable chunks. Canadian Mist, a brand of whiskey, failed in German markets because “Mist” in German means “manure.” Later, French become a commonly spoken and dominant language in Vietnam, so it too introduced a lot of new words to the language. Adjectives/Adverbs – Adjectives and adverbs are interchangeable and they are placed after the noun or the verb that they are describing. Vietnamese Is Not Difficult to Learn Vietnamese Has No Confusing Verb Endings. So with that in mind, I feel able to answer the question, how hard is Vietnamese to learn? Each has some key differences from the other. Factor in different tenses and subtleties like the grammatical “mood” (indicative vs subjunctive), and a single Spanish verb has over fifty different forms that learners have to memorize. I would say it is very different from English, due to its tonal features. The supposed difficulty of Vietnam's official language is a point of national pride amongst its 90 million inhabitants, and locals are happy to tell you “tiếng Việt khó!” (Vietnamese is hard) at every possible opportunity. Pronouns vary by – gender, age and the social position of both the speaker and the listener. If this is the case, then you probably haven’t been to a real Chinese restaurant. The north of Vietnam was dominated by China for much of its history while the central and southern parts of Vietnam also have a Champa and Khmer influence. Conclusion: Is Vietnamese Hard? Girls talk with higher tones of … Up until about 100 years ago, Vietnamese was written (by the tiny percentage of the population who were literate back then) using a complicated pictoral system called Chữ Nôm that's similar to today’s Chinese characters. Below, I’ll be sharing the easy and hard aspects of learning Vietnamese, along with some ideas to help make the hard parts easier for English-speakers. You may be able to learn Vietnamese faster as well. This is actually just one example of a wider point: Vietnamese grammar is incredibly simple. This was a type of Chinese hybrid with many new characters created by Vietnamese. However, I have found it an incredibly hard language to master, and I am sure many of you have experienced similar feelings when learning English or another language. Natural sights include the National Park of Phong Nha-Kẻ Bàng, some coastal regions like Nha Trang, and the awesome caves at Hạ Long Bay. English isn’t nearly as inflective as Spanish, but we still do it to some extent – for example the word “speak” can inflect to “speaks”, “speaking”, “spoken”, or “spoke”. The word người, which I’ve already mentioned, can be used for both “people” or “person”; “chó” is “dog” or “dogs”, “bàn” is “table” or “tables”, and so on. 2.0.1 Picking up one of two beginner’s coursebooks in Vietnamese; 2.0.2 Do another beginner’s course in parallel ; 2.0.3 Assimil for Vietnamese; 2.0.4 FSI Vietnamese; 3 Improve your spoken comprehension, grammar and tones with Glossika Is Vietnamese a Difficult Language to Learn? Don't believe me? Basically, it's near impossible to learn it without total immersion once inside this country - even if you know proper words and accent symbols, the pronunciation is the real difficult part. You can just learn the word as it … Today, that’s been 100% superseded by a version of the Latin alphabet (i.e. Most of the time, you can just say the minimum amount of words needed to get your point across and the result is grammatically correct Vietnamese, no matter how “broken” it would sound in English. Vocabulary – The words in Vietnamese are often formed in a very logical manner. Even to say something as simple as the word “speak” (hablar), he or she has to learn five or six (depending on dialect) different verb endings for the present tense alone . — There is no use for the be verb in this type of sentence. The first dynasty of Vietnam is considered to be Hong Bang Dynasty. Contents. That’s dozens, if not hundreds of hours of work saved compared to learning almost any European language. The letters f, j, w, z are not found in the native Vietnamese alphabet however they are used for names and loans words from other languages. The language deconstruction method is by no means exhaustive, but it is a good base for understanding Vietnamese. Hopefully I've managed to undo some of the myths and misconceptions you may have held around Vietnamese, and given you an insight into how the language works. You can thank the French for this one. You can just learn the word as it is, without any need for extra memorisation. So stop making excuses! The combinations are somewhat logical and make forming memory mnemonics pretty straight forward. Learning Vietnamese with a partner will make the learning process fun and easy. This makes them easy to remember. Learning Vietnamese is possible and well worth the effort. Vietnamese also has borrowed a lot of loan words from other languages. In truth, like many people, I first heard the language in the Vietnam war movies of the 80s and 90s. Vietnam has been strongly influenced by the values of Confucianism, Buddhism and Taoism. How Hard is Cantonese to Learn? In later years still, as with many languages, English also had a significant impact. The Vietnamese language has far fewer words to learn compared to English. George is a polyglot, linguistics nerd and travel enthusiast from the U.K. Vietnam has substantive agricultural, manufacturing and mining sectors. The way it rolled off people’s tongues and the way the words carry more weight to them because of subtext. Let us know in the comments. In 111 BC, the Han Dynasty of China added Vietnam into their empire. The Wikipedia page on “articles”, as they’re called, is over 2500 words long! It is the underdog Chinese language to the big brother Mandarin and is in many ways a more fascinating and challenging language to take on. The Foreign Service Institute classifies Thai as a Level IV difficulty language (in the same category as Vietnamese and Hungarian, for example), with an average of 44 study weeks needed to achieve a working knowledge of the language. The Vietnamese alphabet, as literally known as “national language script”, is the modern writing system for the Vietnamese language. In order to understand the grammar of a language it is necessary to deconstruct the basic sentences to observe how the language functions. 13. I. , and the list goes on. But this means that, of the Vietnamese who speak English, the majority are concentrated in this one sector. With Vietnamese vocabulary, words are either single syllable or formed through compounding or reduplication. Easy. Even to say something as simple as the word “speak” (hablar), he or she has to learn five or six (depending on dialect) different verb endings for the present tense alone . As we will see, many more aspects of Vietnamese grammar are dễ rather than khó. Save my name, email, and website in this browser for the next time I comment. [...], Feelings play a much bigger role in language learning than they’re given credit for. Here are 11 of its anomalies that make it difficult to learn. It has maritime borders with Thailand in the Gulf of Thailand, and the Indonesia, Philippines and Malaysia in the South China Sea. Pronouns – This is where things can get tricky. There are also question words which can be placed at the beginning or the end of the sentence. Vietnamese is really hard to learn, if your native language is English. Vietnamese. Everything on the menu is in English, there are usually even pictures in the menu list. Far easier to just do away with them completely, which is what Vietnamese does. Clairol and Canadian Mist’s German Blunder The answer is that Vietnamese, if you are able to move past the initial difficulty of the tones, is in many ways a reasonably straight forward language to take on. It is a tonal language which means it is musical. Classifiers – When the speaker is counting things they use specific classifiers. The capital city is Hanoi, however the largest city is Ho Chi Minh City in the south of Vietnam, sometimes called Saigon. It is difficult to both produce and detect the different tones. Admittedly, a somewhat sobering introduction. It is the native language of the Vietnamese (Kinh) people, as well as a first or second language for other ethnic groups in Vietnam. Reduplication is also very common in Vietnamese. Pity the poor learner of Spanish. The Foreign Service Institute (FSI) has put together a relative comparison of world languages including Vietnamese. depends on your mother tongue. Vietnamese, on the hand, has none of this nonsense. 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