Like Korean, the Vietnamese language has relatively well-defined set of phonetic alphabet, without irregularity. Seemingly the 6-tone system itself is a quite regular one, too.

But in reality, extreme difficulties are found in pronunciation, because people speak the sounds in a lot weird ways. Many consonants and vowels sound different person by person.

I thought I knew how each word 'should' sound like ... but seemingly Viet people speak differently, sometimes I can't even mimic the sound itself because of indescribable weirdness.

The sound system in my brain must be re-wired to accept those unclear/indescribable sounds. Vietnamese sound variation is much wider than my expectation, so much as I should learn them not solely relying on the sound, but also I need to heavily resort to the context with lots of memorized words.

Of course, the northern sound (Hanoi) and southern sound (Sai Gon) are different, but for me, as a foreigner, it's meaningless to distinguish the northern from the southern sounds. It's just needed to hear them all, anyway, to understand.


Here's some weird sounds I found difficulties.

- Tôi có cần mang theo Áo vét không?

 * 'cần' / 'cầng' isn't clear. With my eyes closing, I may dictate it definately as 'cầng', sometimes.

- Bạn có wi-fi không?

 * 'Bạn' sounds like 'Bạng' or somewhat weird like 'Bạyng'

- Chào buổi chiều.

 * 'Chào' sometimes sounds like 'Chyào'.
 * 'chiều' sounds like 'chi*u' with very little hint that something is in between 'i' and 'u'.
 * 'buổi' sounds like 'bu*i'. 'ổ' in-between is seldom heard.

- Tạm biệt.

 * The broken tone of 'Tạm' is extremely hard to catch.
 * 'biệt' sounds like 'bit' or somewhat weird like 'biyic', yes, tailing '-t' often sounds like '-c', vice versa.

- Xin chào.

 * 'Xin' sounds like 'Xưn' or 'Xân', not very clear.

- Bạn có khỏe không?

 * 'Bạn' sounds like 'Bạng' or somewhat weird like 'Bạyng'

- Em yêu anh.

 * 'yêu' sometimes sounds like 'iu'. Other person would pronounce it 'iêu'.
 * 'anh' sometimes sounds like 'an' or others speak 'ayn' or somewhat weird like 'ayng'.

- Tôi khỏe, cảm ơn bạn. Còn bạn thế nào?

 * 'bạn' sometimes sounds like 'bạng' or somewhat weird like 'bạyng'.
 * 'Còn' sometimes sounds like 'Còng'.
 * 'thế' sometimes sounds like 'thây', others speak very clearly 'thế'.


- Tôi xin lỗi. (Xin lỗi)

 * 'Xin' sometimes sounds weird like 'Xưn' or 'Xân', not very clear.

- Tôi rất tiếc. (Thông cảm)

 * 'rất' is unclear, whether 'zấc' or 'rấc' or 'rất'.
 * 'tiếc' is unclear, 'tiết' or 'tii', or 'tiit'

- Có tiệm cà phê Internet nào gần đây không?

 * 'tiệm' sometimes sounds like 'ti*m'.
 * 'gần' sometimes sounds like 'gầng'.
 * 'đây' always sounds like 'đêy'.

- Tên tôi là… .  

 * 'Tên' sounds like 'Tân' or 'Tơn'

- Rất vui được gặp bạn.  

 * 'Rất' sometimes sounds like 'Rấc' or 'Zất'.
 * 'bạn' sounds like 'bạng'.

- cảm ơn bạn.

 * 'ơn' sounds like 'ơng'.
 * 'bạn' sounds like 'bạng'.

- Sở thích của bạn là gì?

 * 'thích' sounds something like 'thấc' or 'thưc' or even 'thấc' or 'thưt'.
 * 'bạn' sounds like 'bạng'.
 * 'gì' sounds like 'ghì' or 'zì', or 'dưy'

- Mật khẩu wi-fi là gì?  

 * 'Mật' sounds like 'Mậc' owing to the low broken tone.
 * 'gì' sounds like 'ghì' or 'zì', or 'dưy'

- Tên của bạn là gì?

 * 'Tên' sounds like 'tân' or somewhat 'tơn'.
 * 'gì' sounds like 'ghì' or 'zì', or 'dưy'

- Dự báo thời tiết như thế nào?  

 * 'Dự' sounds like 'yự'.
 * 'thời' sounds like 'thờ'
 * 'tiết' sounds like 'tiit' or even 'tiic'
 * 'thế' sounds like 'thâ' or 'thơ' or 'thây'.


- Môn thể thao ưa thích của bạn là gì? 

 * 'Môn' sounds like 'Mông'
 * 'thế' sounds like 'thâ' or 'thơ' or 'thây' or 'thếy'.
 * 'thích' sounds like 'thưc' or 'thưt'.
 * 'gì' sounds like 'ghì' or 'zì', or 'dưy'

 

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Posted by nomota multilingual

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  1. Favicon of http://morevietnamese.com BlogIcon Ruth Elisabeth 2014.06.04 20:36 신고 Address Modify/Delete Reply

    This video on final consonant sounds may help you: http://vinaville.com/index.php/pronunciation24/

    I think you shouldn't focus too much on the subtle differences. There are always going to be some (just like in Korean 뭐 can sound different depending on the speaker's accent). Using context to help you understand is fine.

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