The official language of Vietnam is Vietnamese which is a language that originated in the northern part of the country. The language is part of the Austro-Asiatic family and borrows from Chinese. In the early history of the Vietnamese language the writing used Chinese characters, but in the 13th century, the first Vietnamese characters were developed. The modern Vietnamese alphabet was created during the 17th century, and exposure to the language increased substantially during the French colonial period for the citizenry of Vietnam. The language is the same across the country, but pronunciation varies from north to south.

The population of Vietnam is approximately 92.7 million and 75 million of these people speak Vietnamese as their primary language. Many of the ethnic minorities in the nation also speak Vietnamese as their second language. Vietnamese is also a recognised minority language in the Czech Republic. At one time, French served as the primary language of the country.

Hello is pronounced “sin-chow”, and goodbye is “tam bi-yet”. The language becomes easier with practice and phrases such as “bi-yet noy tyeng ang kau-mng”, which inquires if a person speaks English, will become manageable once pronunciation has been perfected . Many of the younger Vietnamese citizens will have a great knowledge of English. “Gauhm uhhn”, meaning thank-you, is easy to learn and much-appreciated phrase.

Minority languages in the country include Cham, Chinese, Khmer, Muong, and Nung to name only a few. The primary foreign language of Vietnam is French which was influenced by the French colonial period, Czech, German, and Russian are also spoken in small communities throughout the country. There are also variations of sign language in different cities that have developed over the past few decades. A lot of the younger citizens of Vietnam have taken English as a subject at high school which is now a required subject in many parts of the country and will have an excellent knowledge of the language, replacing French in many areas. The economy of Vietnam is heavily reliant on foreign tourism, and consequently English has become reasonably common in the major tourist areas.

This page was last modified on May 1st, 2018

More on Graphicmaps