Language History

Vietnamese belongs to the Austro-Asiatic language tree and was once known as ‘Annamese’. The Vietnamese language has been largely influenced by other languages including Chinese and French. Thousands of years of Chinese rule in Vietnam had an impact on the language and Chinese vocabulary and grammar rules were adopted.

It was in the 19th century when France conquered Vietnam, which led to elements of French vocabulary being incorporated into the Asian language. It soon became the language of administration and schools. Once the country gained independence from France, the Modern form of Vietnamese was established and declared as the official language of Vietnam.

According to, there is a total of over 80 million Vietnamese speakers around the world. 70 million people are native speakers, while the remaining use it as a second language.

Where is Vietnamese Spoken?

Vietnamese is primarily spoken in Vietnam, the Guangxi Province in southern China, Cambodia and Laos. It is also spoken in other countries such as France, Australia, and the USA.

vietnam_map_inner page


The Vietnamese language has six different tones and word and sentence
meanings are dependent on which one is used. They include:

• không dấu (mid-level tone)
• dấu sắc (high-rising tone)
• dấu huyền (low-falling tone)
• dấu ngã (high-rising broken tone)
• dấu nặng (low-falling broken tone)
• dấu hỏi (low-falling-rising tone)

Did you Know?

Vietnamese was written with a script adapted from Chinese called Chữ Nôm (𡨸喃) or Nôm (喃) and much of the language used Chinese loanwords. But years later, Roman Catholic missionaries developed a Latin-based orthography called Quốc Ngữ (national language), which has been used as a form of written Vietnamese until today.

Vietnamese Dialects

Vietnamese is spoken in three dialects:

• Northern Vietnamese (Hanoi)

• Central Vietnamese (Hue)

• Southern Vietnamese (Ho Chi Minh City)

4 Easy Phrases in Vietnamese!

Anh tên là gì?What is your name?
Xin ChàoHello
Bạn khỏe không?How are you?
Cảm ơnThank you

“Vietnamese has a beautiful poetic and musical nature to it”

Population vs. Internet Penetration

Vietnam Population:


Internet Users:



70.3 %

As of 2020. Source:

Vietnamese Translation Tips

• Like English, Vietnamese sentences are structured in SVO – subject (S), verb (V) and Object (O).

• Prepositions come before the noun and adjectives come after their noun.

• Vietnamese is a non-conjugating language – you don’t have to change a word or add a prefix or suffix next to it.

• There are six tones in the Vietnamese language – ba, bà, bá, bả, bã, bạ, and each one determines a different word with a different meaning.

• The letters “F”, “J”, “W” and “Z” are not part of the Vietnamese alphabet – they are however, used in foreign loan words.

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