Vietnamese

Approximately 90 million people in Vietnam speak Vietnamese (tiếng việt / 㗂越). Abroad, about 3 million of Vietnamese expatriates make it the 16th largest language in the world. Due to immigration and cultural influence the Czech Republic officially recognised it as a minority language. We also can hear Vietnamese in Guangxi province in southern China, in addition to other areas in Europe, North America, Australia, Japan, and Thailand.

Language Facts

Chinese characters once dominated the written Vietnamese system, but after the 13th century it evolved into its own format, known as Chữ-nôm (喃). But it was during the 17th century, when Roman Catholic missionaries introduced the Latin alphabet. This resulted in the 20th Century in the current and official written system: chữ Quốc ngữ.

Regarding pronunciation, like Chinese, Vietnamese is a tonal language with six tones. It also counts with a large number of vowels (11), resulting in a wide range of different pronunciations.

As a foreign language, the teaching of Vietnamese is increasing outside the country, mainly because of two reasons:

  • To serve as a link between descendants of Vietnamese migrants and their ancestors, in countries such as Australia, Canada, France and the United States.
  • The influence of Vietnamese economy, especially in those countries nearby Vietnam, like China, South Korea, Thailand, Laos, and Cambodia.

Vietnamese in Hong Kong

In Hong Kong, depending on the students´ background, the reasons for learning Vietnamese can be either of the both aforementioned. Our city counts with a relatively large number of Vietnamese migrants.

Besides the traditional popularity of Vietnamese cuisine in the city, Hong Kong residents have commonly traveled to Vietnam for leisure. However, in the recent years, the increase of foreign investment in Vietnam is gradually making the country also attractive for professional reasons. In this light, Vietnamese as a foreign language is becoming more demanded among professionals.

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