The official language of Vietnam, Vietnamese has around 70 million speakers worldwide, with minority populations in Cambodia and China.
Only achieving its official language status in the 20th Century, the Vietnamese language has been influenced by various other languages, including Chinese and French. Classified as part of the Austro-Asiatic language family, Vietnam itself was a French colony until the 1950s. During French rule, the French language was the official language for government. Despite this, Vietnamese was still spoken throughout Vietnam. Vietnamese is also spoken by an estimated 3 million people in the USA.
A tonal language, where a change in the tone of a word means a change in the word’s meaning, Vietnamese is a difficult language for English speakers to learn. For Westerners, one of the most challenging sounds to pronounce in Vietnamese is the “Ng”, as in the name Nguyen.
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