Take the food as an example, there are so many. With Vietnamese vocabulary, words are either single syllable or formed through compounding or reduplication. Vietnamese has no concept of “masculine” or “feminine” words. Wasn’t that simple? I nói, you nói, he or she nói, we nói, you all nói, and they nói. Practice speaking with each other on a daily basis, and frequently quiz each other over new vocabulary. Congratulations! I later got to practice speaking and listening first hand around 12 years ago when I visited the country. 14. But, if you dedicate the time and effort to learning the 6 tones then the rewards are fantastic. 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. Heavy – start low, fall lower then stop –, Asking – begin low, dips a little then rise to a higher pitch – bả – poison, Tumbling – begin above mid level dips slightly then rise sharply –. Word Order – Vietnamese grammar has a subject-verb-object word order, which is of course similar to English. The English language has a lot of weird spelling, grammar, and pronunciation rules. In recent years the country also attracts a lot of foreign investment and tourism also plays a big role in the economy. Verbs – Verbs are pretty straight forward in Vietnamese. In truth, like many people, I first heard the language in the Vietnam war movies of the 80s and 90s. They rate Vietnamese as a category 4 language along with languages like Hebrew, Russian and Urdu. In the 80s Vietnam switched from a centralised command economy to this more mixed market economy. So if you’re learning Vietnamese, or thinking about learning, it’s likely that all you’ve been getting so far is discouragement! Well, was it close, or did you close? In 938 AD the Vietnamese defeated the Chinese and gained independence. Next, the following are Vietnamese compound words formed from two existing words. Did you present the present, read what I’ve read, or object to the object? Culturally, Vietnam is a fascinating place. Answer 1 of 14: Hi.....probably a questions geared towards all the expats here! Vietnamese Is Not Difficult to Learn Vietnamese Has No Confusing Verb Endings. They’re just translating directly from how they’d say it in Vietnamese, forgetting to apply the much more complicated rules that English insists on. The red script denotes the consonant symbols, the blue script denotes the vowel symbols and the green script denotes vowel markers. 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. i was in a cafe the other day and a Vietnamese man who had a very sore throat was bemoaning, in perfectly understandable English that no one around could understand him if he spoke Vietnamese. 1.0.1 Diacritical marks for tones in Vietnamese; 2 Getting started with learning Vietnamese. Even to say something as simple as the word “speak” (, ), he or she has to learn five or six (depending on dialect) different verb endings for the present tense alone . So with that in mind, I feel able to answer the question, how hard is Vietnamese to learn? 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. Try to learn it everywhere, in … It is a tonal language which means it is musical. Learn the word nói, and you know how to say “speak” in all contexts and tenses for all speakers. Answer 1 of 14: Hi.....probably a questions geared towards all the expats here! Vietnamese, on the hand, has none of this nonsense. Stress doesn’t play too significant a part in Vietnamese. Later, French become a commonly spoken and dominant language in Vietnam, so it too introduced a lot of new words to the language. It is the official language of Vietnam and a minority language in ASEAN and Czechia. 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”. If you think this would get confusing, ask yourself: can you remember a single time in your life when you heard someone talking about “the sheep” or “the fish” and you got confused because you didn’t know how many animals they were talking about? Pity the poor learner of Spanish. Are you inspired to study Vietnamese after reading this article? If this is the case, then you probably haven’t been to a real Chinese restaurant. Quick question: how do you pronounce the English words “read”, “object”, “close”, and “present”? And unless you can get to grips with them, nearly everything else falls by the wayside. Japanese has [...], If you’ve ever been to a Chinese restaurant, you might think it’s super easy to order. Shutterstock/Eiko Tsuchiya. You can now express yourself in Vietnamese in any tense! 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. In attempting to learn anything it is best to first deconstruct the problem and then break down the learning task into manageable chunks. đã word to denote past. 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. We must admit that pronouncing Vietnamese can be hard and arduous since it has six tones and numbers of strange vowel sounds that don’t exist in English. They do not change for subject, gender or tense. 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”. Clairol and Canadian Mist’s German Blunder Canadian Mist, a brand of whiskey, failed in German markets because “Mist” in German means “manure.” A corollary to this is something that will give anyone’s who’s studied a European language a sigh of relief: Vietnamese tenses are so easy it’s practically cheating. It has maritime borders with Thailand in the Gulf of Thailand, and the Indonesia, Philippines and Malaysia in the South China Sea. In fact, learning to read Vietnamese is actually easier than learning to read English, because…. But is it really that important whether you’re talking about “a” something or “the” something? “ăn” (to eat), and stick one of the following 5 words in front of it: (There are a few others, but with these 5 you’ll be fine in 99% of situations.). Spoken Vietnamese is actually harder to learn than Chinese, because Vietnamese has six tones whereas Chinese only has four, and 90% of all Chinese words are only one syllable in length. Easy. Everything on the menu is in English, there are usually even pictures in the menu list. Some syllables are lower while other are higher. They believe it would take 44 weeks (1100 hours) to achieve a L3 proficiency in speaking and reading. In Chinese, this translates to “Pepsi brings your relatives back from the dead.” Each person has their own motivation for taking on a language, but without a doubt i’d say there are three important reasons why people might learn Vietnamese. There are of course tense markers which are placed before the verb. Uzbek. Some examples of common single syllable words can be seen below. These are easy to remember, đã (past tense), đang (present) and. Negatives – To form a negative is pretty straight forward, you just need to place. There are classifiers for many things from bottles, to flowers to vehicles. The Vietnamese economy is a mixed market economy. Each has some key differences from the other. 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). Người can mean both a person or “the person”, and you never need to worry about the distinction. The capital city is Hanoi, however the largest city is Ho Chi Minh City in the south of Vietnam, sometimes called Saigon. I think American people studying Vietnamese just have to go through as much difficulty as Vietnamese learning English do. But this means that, of the Vietnamese who speak English, the majority are concentrated in this one sector. Let us know in the comments. The combinations are somewhat logical and make forming memory mnemonics pretty straight forward. In order to understand the grammar of a language it is necessary to deconstruct the basic sentences to observe how the language functions. In English, when we want to make something plural we usually stick an “s” on the end of it. The surprise was that Vietnamese wasn't only about many accents, It was about pronunciation and ages as well. The script is written from left to right. If you want to try getting your tongue round a language that’s devilishly hard to pronounce, Vietnamese could be the one for you. But people tend to lack dedication because you can live a perfectly convenient life in Vietnam without speaking a word of the language. 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 1893 the French added Vietnam to their empire of French Indochina. Vietnam has a vibrant and growing tourist industry. 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. The technical term is that Spanish verbs (and nouns, and adjectives) inflect, meaning the same word can take different forms depending on the context. The country was broken into two parts with Communist North Vietnam and the anti-Communist South. 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. Unconventional language hacking tips from Benny the Irish polyglot; travelling the world to learn languages to fluency and beyond! So with that in mind, I feel able to answer the question, how hard is Vietnamese to learn? Vietnamese (Tiếng Việt) is an Austroasiatic language that originated in Vietnam, where it is the national and official language.Vietnamese is spoken natively by over 70 million people, several times as many as the rest of the Austroasiatic family combined. Learning Vietnamese is neither hard nor easy. 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. This is why you'll often hear Vietnamese people using incomplete English sentences like “no have” or “where you go?”. In particular, in the areas of science and technology. It’s usually obvious from the context which one you mean. However, … Problem No. Vietnamese was originally an oral language which ran alongside the written language of Vietnam which was classical Chinese. depends on your mother tongue. Challenges build character. Pretty much impossible, if you ask the Vietnamese themselves. I hablo, you hablas, he habla, we hablamos, and the list goes on. Auxiliary verbs – They precede the main verb, this is very simple. 15. Vietnam has substantive agricultural, manufacturing and mining sectors. It’s a surprisingly complicated topic. The first dynasty of Vietnam is considered to be Hong Bang Dynasty. For instance, you won’t have to learn noun cases, gender, or … Classifiers – When the speaker is counting things they use specific classifiers. It would be difficult to master Vietnamese at the level of native speakers (well as for any languages a foreigner want to learn), but if you want a level for communication like my English level here only, it could be a piece of cake. 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. Conclusion: Is Vietnamese Hard? Contents. To ski is “to slide snow”, a tractor is a “pulling machine”, a turkey is a “western chicken”, a zebra is a “striped horse”, and the list goes on and on and on. Realistically, it is more accurate to say that Vietnamese is mostly "an easy language" rather than "a hard language." Speaking Vietnamese and understanding spoken Vietnamese makes Mandarin look easy. Pronouns vary by – gender, age and the social position of both the speaker and the listener. Just take the original verb, e.g. 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. You bet it is! Admittedly, a somewhat sobering introduction. This was a type of Chinese hybrid with many new characters created by Vietnamese. Fluent in 3 months - Language Hacking and Travel Tips. 2: The Pronunciation Is Not Only Darn Difficult, but Crucial It is easier for you to learn Vietnamese when you live here. But most expats in Vietnam (of which I was one for a year) fail to realise that the pronunciation is just about the only difficult thing about Vietnamese. Vietnamese is hard to learn. Save my name, email, and website in this browser for the next time I comment. Pity the poor learner of Spanish. Who wants to put a shit stick into their hair? In 111 BC, the Han Dynasty of China added Vietnam into their empire. Most foreigners in Vietnam, even if they don't speak Vietnamese, will know the amusing fact that xe ôm – the local name for Vietnam’s ubiquitous motorbike taxis – translates literally as “hug vehicle.” But it doesn’t stop there – a huge percentage of Vietnamese vocabulary is formed by just combining two words in a logical manner, whereas in English you'd have to learn an entirely new third word that sounds completely different. Today, that’s been 100% superseded by a version of the Latin alphabet (i.e. Don't believe me? Adjectives/Adverbs – Adjectives and adverbs are interchangeable and they are placed after the noun or the verb that they are describing. 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. Also, there are no articles for Vietnamese. [...]. It is the native language of the Vietnamese (Kinh) people, as well as a first or second language for other ethnic groups in Vietnam. 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. 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. He currently lives in London. 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. Vietnamese is a relatively easy language to learn: short words, a stable orthography, no genders, no plurals, no conjugation, no cases, no articles, and more. First of all, some good news. So stop making excuses! It features six tones (two of which are particularly tricky), a large number of vowel sounds and several sounds that are unlike anything in English. Doing the maths, just 0.005% of the seven billion people on this globe speak Icelandic. The written Chinese was read with Vietnamese words. Vietnamese Has No Genders If you've ever learned French, Spanish, German, or just about any European language except English, you just breathed a huge sigh of relief. In truth, there are 90 million people in Vietnam and by learning the language you can better understand a more diverse bunch of people. Reduplication is also very common in Vietnamese. This means no complex verb changes. 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. Job done! This massively speeds up your learning of new vocabulary! 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