Vietnamese Tones, Pronunciation and Alphabet


There are six tones in Vietnamese, each of which is represented by a different diacritical mark. Depending on the tones, the word “ma” can mean ghost, mother, which/but, tomb, horse or rise seedling. The six tones are:

Mid tone: produced at the relative middle of your voice range. No tone mark is used. (ma = ghost)
High-rising tone: begins high and rises sharply. (má = mother)
Low- falling tone: begins low and falls lower. (mà = but)
Low-rising tone: begins low, dips lower, then rises sharply. (mả = tomb)
High-broken tone: begins above middle, dips, then rises sharply. (mã = horse)
Low-broken tone: begins low then falls sharply. (mạ = rice seedling)

Vietnamese Alphabet

a ă â b c d đ e ê g h i k l m n o ô ơ p q r s t u ư v x y


a- like a in part

ă- like u in cup, cut

â- like (?)

b- like b

c,k- like k

d- like z in zero

đ- like d

e- like e in lend

ê- like ai in plain

g- like g in gain

h- like h in house

i,y- like e in me

l- like l in live

m- like m

n- like n

o- like o in core

ô- like oh

ơ- like in nerd

p- like p

qu- like q

r- like r in really

s- like sh in she

t- like t in total

u- like oo in cool

ư- like u in huh

v- like v

x- like s in so


gi- as z in north or y in south ng- like the -nga- in long ago nh- like ni in opinion ph- like f
tr- as ch in north and tr in south th- like th in thanks
ch- like ch in chew