Vietnamese alphabet

VIETNAMESE ALPHABET

In order to have excellent knowledge of Vietnamese, it is crucial to understand Vietnamese alphabet, specifically the number of letters, how to pronounce, how to divide and how to write them. In this article, we will introduce to you the most basic things about Vietnamese alphabet.

VIETNAMESE ALPHABET

Vietnamese alphabet – pronunciation:

Vietnamese alphabet comprises of 29 letters.They have pretty easy writing. Mostly are straight/horizontal strokes, left/right obliques. There two types of writing:

Capital letter and Normal letter

vietnamese Capital letter and Normal letter

Besides, there is also official cursive writing

Vietnamese alphabet - curisive

Vietnamese alphabet – consonants and vowels:

Vowel

Vowel is a syllabic speech sound which is pronounced without any stricture in the vocal tract.

In Vietnamese alphabet, there are 12 single vowels: a, ă, â, e, ê, i, o, ô, ơ, u, ư, y.

On phonology side, there are only 11 vowels since “i” and “y” have the same pronunciation.

Vowel

Pronunciation

Vowel

Pronunciation

a

/ɐː/, /ɐ/, /a:/ [ng]a.mp3[/ng]

o

/ɔ/, /ɐw/, /w/ [ng]o.mp3[/ng]

ă

/ɐ/,/ʌ/,/a/ [ng]ă.mp3[/ng]

ô

/o/, /ɜw/,/ou/ [ng]ô.mp3[/ng]

â

/ə/ [ng]â.mp3[/ng]

ơ

/əː/ [ng]ơ.mp3[/ng]

e

/ɛ/,/æ/ [ng]e.mp3[/ng]

u

/u/, /w/ [ng]u.mp3[/ng]

ê

/e/, /ei/ [ng]ê.mp3[/ng]

ư

/ɨ/,[ɯ] [ng]ư.mp3[/ng]

i

/i/, /j/ [ng]iy.mp3[/ng]

y

/i/, /j/, /i:/ [ng]iy.mp3[/ng]

In addition, we have 32 double vowels: AI, AO, AU, ÂU, AY, ÂY, EO, ÊU, IA, IÊ/YÊ, IU, OA, OĂ, OE, OI, ÔI, ƠI, OO, ÔÔ, UA, UĂ, UÂ, ƯA, UÊ, UI, ƯI,UO, UÔ, UƠ, ƯƠ, ƯU, UY; and 13 triple vowels:  IÊU/YÊU, OAI, OAO, OAY, OEO, UAO, UÂY, UÔI, ƯƠI, ƯƠU, UYA, UYÊ, UYU.

We have this table for you to know how to spell these vowels:

Pronunciation

Vowels

Pronunciation

Vowels

Double vowels

/uj/ [ng]ui.mp3[/ng]

ui 

/iw/ [ng]iu.mp3[/ng]

iu 

/oj/ [ng]ôi.mp3[/ng]

ôi 

/ew/ [ng]êu.mp3[/ng]

êu 

/ɔj/ [ng]oi.mp3[/ng]

oi 

/ɛw/ [ng]eo.mp3[/ng]

eo 

/əːj/ [ng]ơi.mp3[/ng]

ơi 

/əːw/ 

ơu 

/ɜj/ [ng]ây.mp3[/ng]

ây

/ɜw/ [ng]âu.mp3[/ng]

âu, ô 

/ɐːj/ [ng]ai.mp3[/ng]

ai 

/ɐːw/ [ng]ao.mp3[/ng]

ao 

/ɐj/ [ng]ay.mp3[/ng]

ay

/ɐw/ [ng]au.mp3[/ng]

au, o 

/ɨj/ [ng]ưi.mp3[/ng]

ưi 

/ɨw/ [ng]ưu.mp3[/ng]

ưu 

/iɜ/ [ng]ia.mp3[/ng]

ia, ya, iê, yê

/uɜ/ [ng]ua.mp3[/ng]

ua, uô

/ɨɜ/ [ng]ưa.mp3[/ng]

ưa, ươ

/o:/ 

oo

Triple vowels

/iɜw/ [ng]iêu.mp3[/ng]

iêu, yêu 

/uɜj/ [ng]uôi.mp3[/ng]

uôi 

/ɨɜj/ [ng]ươi.mp3[/ng]

ươi 

/ɨɜw/ [ng]ươu.mp3[/ng]

ươu 

The vowel “i” is presented mostly by the letter “i”. However, in some cases, it is written with the letter “y”:

  • When the letter stands alone. Ex: ý kiến,…
  • There is no preceeding consonants, “iê” is written with “yê”. Ex: yêu quái,…

Note: There are certain vowels that need additional vowels and consonants at the end.

  • Additional vowels/consonants are compulsory: Â, IÊ,UÂ,UÔ,ƯƠ,YÊ.
  • Additional consonant are compulsory: Ă, OĂ, OO, ÔÔ, UĂ, UYÊ.

On the other hand, these are 29 vowels that are not allowed to be added vowels/consonants at the end: AI, AO, AU, ÂU, AY, ÂY, EO, ÊU, IA, IÊU/YÊU, IU, OI, ÔI, ƠI, OAI, OAO, OAY, OEO, ƯA, UI, ƯI, ƯU, UƠ, UAI, UÂY, UÔI, ƯƠI, ƯƠU, UYA and UYU.

Consonant

Consonant is a speech sound articulated with complete or partial closure of the vocal tract. It usually stands before and behind a vowel to create a word.

  • One letter consonants: C, B, T, D, Đ, G, H, K, L, M, N,Q,R, S, T, V, X
  • Double letter consonants: ph, th, tr, gi, ch, nh, ng, kh, gh.
  • Triple letter consonants: ngh.

Pronunciation

Consonant

Pronunciation

Consonant

/ɓ/ [ng]b.mp3[/ng]

b

ch

/tɕ/ [ng]ch.mp3[/ng]

/k/ [ng]c.mp3[/ng]

c

gh 

/ɣ/ [ng]g.mp3[/ng]

/z/ [ng]d.mp3[/ng]

d

gi 

/z/ [ng]gi.mp3[/ng]

/ɗ/ [ng]đ.mp3[/ng]

đ

kh

/x/ [ng]kh.mp3[/ng]

/ɣ/ [ng]g.mp3[/ng]

g

ng

/ŋ/ [ng]ng.mp3[/ng]

/h/ [ng]h.mp3[/ng]

h

ngh

/ŋ/ [ng]ng.mp3[/ng]

/k/ [ng]k.mp3[/ng]

k

nh

/ɲ/ [ng]nh.mp3[/ng]

/l/ [ng]l.mp3[/ng]

l

ph

/f/ [ng]ph.mp3[/ng]

/m/ [ng]m.mp3[/ng]

m

qu

/kw/ [ng]q.mp3[/ng]

/n/ [ng]n.mp3[/ng]

n

tr

/t͡ɕ/ [ng]tr.mp3[/ng]

/p/ [ng]p.mp3[/ng]

p

/k/ [ng]q.mp3[/ng]

q

/z/,/r/ [ng]r.mp3[/ng]

r

/s/ [ng]s.mp3[/ng]

s

/t/ [ng]t.mp3[/ng]

t

/v/ [ng]v.mp3[/ng]

v

/s/ [ng]x.mp3[/ng]

x

Tiếng Việt Online has introduced to you Vietnamese alphabet. We hope that with this, you can have a good start on the journey to conquer this unique language. Find more about Vietnamese in Basic Vietnamese

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