Are you curious about learning Vietnamese but intimidated by the sound of the language? While it’s true that learning to produce and understand the six tones of Vietnamese and unfamiliar vowels of the language will require a lot of practice, don’t be discouraged! Learning Vietnamese is possible and well worth the effort. Here’s why:
1. It’s simpl(er than you think)!
You can focus your energy on pronunciation because Vietnamese grammar is in many ways simple and predictable. For instance, you won’t have to learn noun cases, gender, or even distinct plural forms. You also won’t have to learn a new alphabet. Chữ Quốc Ngữ, the Vietnamese alphabet, uses roman letters with special marks like accents to show additional sounds and tones. This writing system, unlike English, is very transparent, so when you read a word, you will know how to pronounce it.
2. Connect with family and friends.
Many learners cite personal relationships and experiences as their reason to learn Vietnamese. Vietnamese people are known to be generous and welcoming and, naturally, speaking their language will make connecting even easier. It will show that you are genuinely interested and open to getting to know Vietnam, its culture and people.
3. Practicing close to home is easy!
Vietnamese communities are found all over the United States. There are three states in which Vietnamese is the second most spoken language (after Spanish): Texas, Oklahoma, Washington and Nebraska. There are Vietnamese communities in cities all over though. The largest one is in San Jose, California, making up 10.4% of the total population. If you’re lucky enough to live near one such community, you can find a conversation exchange or just use your Vietnamese while shopping or eating in a restaurant.
4. Be a better traveler.
In the first 10 months of 2016, over 8 million visitors arrived in Vietnam, an increase of 25% compared to the same period last year according to Viet Nam National Administration of Tourism. It’s clear: Vietnam is a hot destination, and with good reason. Breathtaking landscapes, delicious food and friendly people await visitors. And while it’s true that if you stick to the tourist destinations only, you can pretty much speak English the entire time, but you’ll be missing out on a lot. With a basic command of Vietnamese, you can break out of the tourist bubble and make connections with the Vietnamese people you interact with. Off the beaten path destinations will be less daunting as well if you’ve got some basic Vietnamese phrases mastered.
5. Living Language Essential Vietnamese will be here to help you soon! Check back on our website in the coming weeks to learn more about this new online course with interactive games, flashcards and dialogues as well as access to our online tutoring service.