VIETNAMESE LANGUAGE for Vietnamese and Foreigners – Section 2

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… be continued for section 1:

Vietnamese Alphabet

Vietnamese alphabet system

     There are 29 letters in the Vietnamese alphabet system which consists of 12 vowels and 17 consonants. See the list below:

Vietnamese alphabet -
Vietnamese alphabet (Source: Lac Viet Computing Corporation)

Vietnamese Vowels

Vietnamese vowels -
Vietnamese vowels (Source: IRD New Tech)

    As mentioned above, there are 12 vowels in the Vietnamese alphabet system. They are including:

    How to pronoun these vowels is to follow the below:

Vietnamese vowels pronuciation -
Vietnamese vowels pronunciation (Source: Lac Viet Computing Corporation)

    Front, central, and low vowels (iêeưâơăa) are unrounded, whereas the back vowels (uôo) are rounded. The vowels  â [ə] and  ă [a] are pronounced very short, much shorter than the other vowels. Thus, ơ  and â are basically pronounced the same except that ơ [əː] is long while â [ə] is short — the same applies to the low vowels long a [aː] and short ă  [a].

Diphthongs and Tripthongs

   In addition to single vowels (or monophthongs), Vietnamese has diphthongs and triphthongs. The diphthongs consist of a main vowel component followed by a shorter semivowel offglide to either a high front position [ɪ], a high back position [ʊ], or a central position [ə]. See the table below:

Vietnamese diphthongs, triphthongs -
Vietnamese diphthongs, triphthongs (Source: Lac Viet Computing Corporation)

    The centering diphthongs are formed with only the three high vowels (iưu) as the main vowel. They are generally spelled as  iaưaua  when they end a word and are spelled  ươ, respectively, when they are followed by a consonant. There are also restrictions on the high offglides: the high front offglide cannot occur after a front vowel (iêe) nucleus and the high back offglide cannot occur after a back vowel (uôo) nucleus.

   The correspondence between the orthography and pronunciation is complicated. For example, the offglide [ɪ] is usually written as i however, it may also be represented with y. In addition, in the diphthongs [] and [aːɪ] the letters  y and  i also indicate the pronunciation of the main vowel:  ay = ă + [ɪ], ai a + [ɪ]. Thus,  tay /“hand” is [taɪ] while tai /“ear” is [taːɪ]. Similarly, u and o indicate different pronunciations of the main vowel:  au = ă + [ʊ], ao = a + [ʊ].

    The four triphthongs are formed by adding front and back offglides to the centering diphthongs. Similarly to the restrictions involving diphthongs, a triphthong with front nucleus cannot have a front offglide (after the centering glide) and a triphthong with a back nucleus cannot have a back offglide.

   With regards to the front and back offglides [ɪ, ʊ], many phonological descriptions analyze these as consonant glides /j, w/. Thus, a word such as  đâu “where” [ɗəʊ] would be /ɗəw/.

      It is difficult to pronoun these sounds:

Vietnamesse vowels glide -
Vietnamese vowel glides (Source: IRD New Tech)

… continue in section 3 …

◊  VIETNAMESE LANGUAGE for Vietnamese and Foreigners – Introduction – Section 1
◊  VIETNAMESE LANGUAGE for Vietnamese and Foreigners – Vietnamese Consonants – Section 3
◊  VIETNAMESE LANGUAGE for Vietnamese and Foreigners – Vietnamese Tones – Section 4
◊  VIETNAMESE LANGUAGE for Vietnamese and Foreigners – Vietnamese Dialogue: Greeting – Section 5

02 /2020

◊  Header image – Source:  Student Vietnam Exchange.
◊  Indexes, bold text, italic text in bracket and sepia image has been set by Ban Tu Thu –

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