Lesson 3: Learn The Vietnamese Alphabet – Học Bảng Chữ Cái Tiếng Việt

The Vietnamese Alphabet

Vietnamese alphabet

Lesson 3: Learn The Vietnamese Alphabet – Học Bảng Chữ Cái Tiếng Việt

The alphabet is one of the first things a language learner should learn. After this lesson, you will know how to pronounce individual letters in Vietnamese, building the foundation to decipher the Vietnamese written language later on.

THE WHOLE VIETNAMESE ALPHABET:

A Ă Â B C CH D Đ E Ê G GH H I K KH L M N NG NGH NH O Ô Ơ P PH QU R S T TH TR U Ư V X Y

    1. A
      as in Anh (older brother)
    2. Ă
      as in Ăn (eat)
    3. Â
      as in Âm (syllable)
    4. B
      as in Ba (three, father)
    5. C
      as in Ca (a pitcher, to sing)
    6. CH
      as in Cha (father)
    7. D
      (pronounced like Y in Yellow) as in Da (skin, leather)
    8. Đ
      (pronounced like D in Dog, but without any aspiration) as in Đá (to kick, ice)
    9. E
      as in Em (younger sibling)
    10. Ê
      as in Êm (comfortable to sit on)
    11. G
      as in Ga (train station, cooking gas)
    12. GH
      (pronounced the same as G) as in Ghê (yucky)
    13. H
      as in Hà (a common Vietnamese name)
    14. I
      as in In (to print)
    15. K
      as in Kẹt (stuck)
    16. KH
      as in Khô (dry)
    17. L
      as in Là (Be before a noun)
    18. M
      as in Ma (ghost)
    19. N
      as in No (full after eating)
    20. NG
      as in Nga (a common female name, Russia)
    21. NGH
      (pronounced the same as NG) as in Nghe (hear, listen)
    22. NH
      as in Nhà (house, home)
    23. O
      as in Óc (brain)
    24. Ô
      as in Ốc (snail)
    25. Ơ
      as in Ớt (chilli pepper)
    26. P
      as in Pin (battery, excluding the big ones for cars, trucks)
    27. PH
      as in Phở (Vietnamese beef noodle)
    28. QU
      as in Qua (come over, cross)
    29. R
      (pronounced like R in Red) as in Ra (go out)
    30. S
      (pronounced like S in Sun) as in Sách (a book, books)
    31. T
      as in Tiền (money_)
    32. TH
      as in Thi (take a test, a common name)
    33. TR
      (pronounced like TR in Tree) as in Trà (tea)
    34. U
      as in Dùng (Use)
    35. Ư
      as in Cứ (keep+doing something)
    36. V
      as in Và (and)
    37. X
      (to distinguish from S while naming, pronounce it as “its sea”
      ) as in Xa (far)
    38. Y
      (to distinguish from S while naming, call it a long I
      ) as in Yêu (love)

VIETNAMESE VOWELS:

A Ă Â, E Ê, I, O Ô Ơ, U Ư, Y

    1. A
      as in Anh
    2. Ă
      as in Ăn
    3. Â
      as in Âm
    4. E
      as in Em
    5. Ê
      as in Êm
    6. I
      as in In
    7. O
      as in Óc
    8. Ô
      as in Ốc
    9. Ơ
      as in Ớt
    10. U
      as in Dùng
    11. Ư
      as in Cứ
    12. Y
      (to distinguish from S while naming, call it a long I
      ) as in Yêu

VIETNAMESE DIPHTHONGS:

AI, AY, ÂY, EO, IM, IÊM, OA, OI, ÔI, ƯU, ƯƠU, UA, ƯA, ƯƠM

    1. AI
      as in Mai
    2. AY
      as in May
    3. ÂY
      as in Mây
    4. EO
      as in Mèo
    5. IM
      as in Im
    6. IÊM
      as in Tiêm
    7. OA
      as in Loa
    8. OI
      as in Đói
    9. ÔI
      as in Tôi
    10. ƯU
      as in Hưu
    11. ƯƠU
      as in Hươu
    12. UA
      as in Chua
    13. ƯA
      = as in Chưa
    14. ƯƠM
      as in Bướm

VIETNAMESE CONSONANTS:

B C CH D Đ G GH H K KH L M N NG NGH NH P PH QU R S T TH TR V X

    1. B
      as in Ba
    2. C
      as in Ca
    3. CH
      as in Cha
    4. D
      (pronounced like Y in Yellow) as in Da
    5. Đ
      (pronounced like D in Dog, but without any aspiration) as in Đá
    6. G
      as in Ga
    7. GH
      (pronounced the same as G) as in Ghê
    8. H
      as in
    9. K
      as in Kẹt
    10. KH
      as in Khô
    11. L
      as in
    12. M
      as in Ma
    13. N
      as in No
    14. NG
      as in Nga
    15. NGH
      (pronounced the same as NG) as in Nghe
    16. NH
      as in Nhà
    17. P
      as in Pin
    18. PH
      as in Phà
    19. QU
      as in Qua
    20. R
      (pronounced like R in Red) as in Ra
    21. S
      (pronounced like S in Sun) as in Sách
    22. T
      as in Tiền
    23. TH
      as in Thích
    24. TR
      (pronounced like TR in Tree) as in Trà
    25. V
      as in
    26. X
      (to distinguish from S while naming, pronounce it as “its sea”
      ) as in Xa

* SOME NOTES:

  1. AY and AI sometimes sound the same, like /ai/ as in “tie”. For example, May (lucky) and Mai (tomorrow)
  2. NG and NGH always sound the same, which is like /ng/ in /sing/: ngu (stupid), nghe (listen, hear)
  3. X and S sound the same, which is like /s/ as in /sea/. For example: xa (far), sa (sand, prolapse)
  4. EO sounds almost like /el/ as in SELL, except that you don’t need to curl your tongue backward for the L sound like in English. đeo = WEAR (only for a watch, a backpack, jewelry), theo (to follow, according to…)
  5. TH always sounds almost like /th/ as in THIN in English, except that you don’t need to place the tip of the tongue between the teeth: thịt = meat, thi (examination)

WATCH OUR VIDEO VERSION OF THIS LESSON ON THE VIETNAMESE APHABET:

 

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