About The Easy Vietnamese and interesting facts about Vietnamese
The Easy Vietnamese is a place to learn Vietnamese and our culture in a free and easy way. You will also receive a realistic source of information from a perspective of a native. In this article are 7 interesting facts about Vietnamese.
The same as how much people talk about their endorsement for English, French, German, and Italian, I found myself pretty passionate about how much I would like to talk and share about the Vietnamese language. Despite the fact that Vietnamese is only spoken by over 80 million people in the whole world, it is a diverse, complex and beautiful language that has ever existed. Foreign Service Institute (FSI) describes Vietnamese as a Category IV language, which is just below Arabic, Korean, and Mandarin in difficulty level.
The Easy Vietnamese pop up in my head on a snowy day of Finland in winter 2021. My only goal is to create a place where I can help foreigners, Vietnamese who have been brought up abroad and anyone who have a strong will to learn the language and culture in an as-free-and-easy-as-possible way. This blog is my love for the country and above all, my mother tongue. Therefore, I want to proudly preserve its beauty in every word and thought I am writing.
While you would feel a spillover devotion (of mine) from this blog, you can expect to receive a realistic source of information from a perspective of a native. I hope you will enjoy your journey here with an open mind and a curiousity, so let's continue with some awesome facts about Vietnamese.
1. Vietnamese is the official language of Vietnam and the Czech Republic
Vietnam has 110 officially recognised dialects and languages, and Vietnamese is the national language. As of 2013, Vietnamese has also been recognised as a minority language in the Czech Republic, with 60000 Vietnamese speakers living there.
2. Vietnamese has 29 letters in the alphabet
There are many letters that are the same as English alphabet, but there are a few that are different, resulting in 29 letters in a Vietnamese alphabet. There are just a few letters that Vietnamese has that English does not.
3. Vietnamese has 6 tones
Vietnamese is a tonal language and uses six distinct tones, with accents applied to distinguish these: sắc (mid rising), huyền (low-falling), hỏi (mid falling or rising), ngã (mid rising), nặng (mid falling), or ngang (mid level). The tone you use in your sentence can completely alter the meaning and in funny case, change your intention. If your mother tongue is not tonal, learning Vietnamese is worth a try.
4. Vietnamese has 3 different accents
There are generally three main regions of Vietnam - Northern, Central, and Southern. Each has its own accent. Northerners, particularly those from Hanoi, have the most standard pronunciation. In schools, we learn the standard Vietnamese, however the accent is very hard to mimic. Differences between dialects are mainly based on vocabulary and pronunciation. As a native, I can tell you that I am still in the stage of exploring this aspect of Vietnamese (and of course I am sometimes puzzled to understand my Vietnamese peers!).
5. Vietnamese has siblings
Vietnamese is part of the Austroasiatic language family, in which there are Khmer (spoken in Cambodia), and Mon (spoken in Thailand and Myanmar).
Additionally, with a remarkably long historical relationship, both French and Chinese have heavily influenced the Vietnamese. This results in 50% of tonal quality and 70% of vocabulary of Vietnamese deprived from Chinese. As per French, we have borrowed several words, for instance bia (bière in French, meaning beer), ban công (balcon in French, meaning balcony).
6. Vietnamese has no gender
If you have had trouble memorising what nouns are masculine or feminine in French, you are very much welcomed to learn Vietnamese as we have no gender-based rules for them. Plus, in Vietnamese, you do not need to add extra parts to express plural nouns.
7. Vietnamese pronouns bring a family feeling
Last but not least, there is no easy way to say "I" and "you" in Vietnamese. This also means that you cannot rely on the help of Google Translate as it will basically translate "I" to "tôi" and "you" to "bạn" (meaning friend).
Pronouns in Vietnamese are based on gender, age and the relationship between you and the people you are forming the conversation with. From the pronouns used, you can also guess the position of one person to another.
However, it is strange but also adorable that most of the time pronouns bring you a warm family feeling. If you are a man, you will be:
"Em" (little brother) to those that are in the same generation but older than you.
"Anh" (big brother) to those that are in the same generation but younger than you.
"Con" (child) to your parents and to those that are in the same generation with your parents.
"Cháu" (grandchild) to your grandparents and to those that are in the same generation with your grandparents.
"Chú" (uncle) to your big brothers' children and to those that are in the same generation with your big brothers' children.
What do you think?
Most of the time I have heard that Vietnamese is too hard to be true and to master in. I find it interesting and lovely that you have read all way until now and learned something more about my mother tongue (even just a bit!).
Language is a part of culture and will always be. As long as you want to learn the Vietnamese, there will be a way to pave and dive into it. Hopefully, you will not feel alone as I am ready to help you develop your speaking skill.
When there is a will, there is a way.