How difficult is it to learn Vietnamese


Age: 22
Registration date: 09.01.2017
Posts: 9
Place of residence: Saarbrücken

Posted: 01/12/2017, 3:45 pm Learning Vietnamese: How difficult?

Hey guys!

I have already looked for a thread that has this topic as a topic, but I couldn't find it. Hopefully I'm going to Vietnam soon, so I'd like to hear a few opinions on "learning Vietnamese". It seems that many of you are learning this language here, so I am certainly in the right place here.

In general, I have four questions.

First: How time-consuming is it to learn the tourist vocabulary and sentences? Example: "How much does it cost?" "How do I get to XYZ?" "My name is ..." you understand what I mean

Second: I've heard that there are supposed to be nine different "pitches" in the language. What exactly is it all about?

Thirdly, secondly, it becomes clear from the second: Do you have to perfect the pronunciation of the vocabulary in order to be understood?

Fourth, a more general question. How far have you got with your knowledge and how long did it take you for your current status?

Best regards



Registration date: 05/29/2015
Posts: 35
Place of residence: Hanoi

Written on: 01/13/2017, 6:35 am (no title)


Short version:
To 1.) is due to your talent
To 2.) Correct. 6 "tones". The tone is an integral part of the respective word.
To 3.) Yes. Wrong tone = different word
To 4.) see "to 1"

Long version:
Yes ... how long you need for what depends largely on your language skills. I know people who have lived here for 10 years and don't speak a word of Vietnamese ...

Basically, the language is not difficult. Compared to German or English, the grammar is almost non-existent . There are no tenses (not as we know it), articles, genders and nothing is conjugated. It's always “I go shopping” it's never “I went shopping”.
Really "difficult" is actually only learning the unfamiliar pronunciation and vocabulary.

We also have sounds in the German language. However, we use these to determine the type of sentence. So whether it's a question or a statement. Irony, sarcasm, etc.

There are 6 “tones” in Vietnamese.
- Fundamental tone, rising tone, falling tone, questioning tone, shortened tone and an interrupted tone.

If you put the stress on a word incorrectly, you will usually not be understood. Except the people have a lot to do with westerners. So maybe in tourist hotspots. In addition, the "average Vietnamese" has almost no experience with foreigners who try to speak Vietnamese.

Tôi ăn chay = I - eat - vegetarian
Tôi ăn chai = I - eat - bottle
Tối ân chạy = dark - grace - run / run

Reads and sounds the same for the European. Whereby only he really makes the first sentence. (Means something like "I am a vegetarian."

Chay and Chạy are two completely different words for the Vietnamese. It is NOT the same word, stressed differently! There is no connection there.

Tourist vowels at the level of served Greek should be easy to learn. It'll be difficult for you when the people here give you the answers

Look here.

If you only come as a tourist, you can get along with English. If necessary, Google Translate also helps quite well. English - Vietnamese. Type in simple sentences / words and show the translation to the other person.

Before and while traveling, I always used the books and MP3s from "Reise Know How". They are always good for a few chunks of the local language.

Oh .. in the north and south the pronunciation is very different. Like standard German and Bavarian

Have fun,

Registration date: 13.03.2014
Posts: 62

Written on: 01/13/2017, 12:29 pm (no title)

I can confirm. I am teaching myself a few bits with various apps.

It struck me at the beginning that most of the apps apparently have a South Vietnamese pronunciation, which becomes a bit difficult if you mainly want to stay in North Vietnam.

Excursus: Does anyone know of a really good app for learning (North) Vietnamese? I think the possibility of learning via an app on the smartphone is ideal - you can do it on the train, etc.

And that with the different accentuation is actually quite difficult for a European. Yesterday I tried to say something about pork (thịt lợn), but I pronounced it more like "thịt lồn", which caused a lot of laughter (please try google translate yourself to understand why).

Age: 22
Registration date: 09.01.2017
Posts: 9
Place of residence: Saarbrücken

Posted: 01/13/2017, 3:59 pm (no title)

Thanks for the detailed information!

I would say that I am relatively gifted with languages. I speak three languages ​​fluently and one brokenly. However, it sounds really difficult with the tones. I suspect that I will take your advice to heart and help myself with audio books. I would like to speak to people in their native language - that's why I ask. I think it's much more personable than not even trying to speak the local language. If necessary, I have to switch to English. Well, it will probably be a mish-mash haha

Haha Harry, I have a tingling stomach in front of such accentuation errors. Embarrassing promises are amusing and not bad, but what if I suddenly say something nasty ?!

Best regards

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