Ironically, one of the main benefits of learning to speak Vietnamese from a non-native speaker is learning how to say each alphabet, vowel, and tone well. For example, when learning the alphabet “a”, one native speaker said that it sounds like “ah”. They went on further to say that it sounded like the “a” in apple. Therefore, for a period of time, when reading and speaking Vietnamese, I would endeavor to say this alphabet like the “a” in apple.
With time, however, I discovered that that did not really sound quite right. So, I took another look and listened to another native Vietnamese speaker equate the “a” sound to the “a” in father. Granted, the “a” in father is different than the “a” in apple, so I thought this was the missing link to my “a” sound.
Of course, it did not take long to realize that this still was not the “a” sound that I heard each time a Vietnamese person spoke. So, I decided to ignore the sound “rule” and instead studied the sound. In this way, I was able to relate what I heard from native Vietnamese speakers into the real sound it makes as it relates to English.
This is just one clear example of the benefits of learning to speak Vietnamese from a non-native speaker. This is why I decided to start sharing my Vietnamese Notes with others. I have compiled some of this information in the Southern Vietnamese: Everything Is The Same..Just Different!book (Course 1). Southern Vietnamese for Beginners (Course 2) elaborates more on the elusive sound of “a”…
You are invited to study the Vietnamese Language in our Online Vietnamese Language Course. Whether you are backpacking or living in Vietnam, you too can capture the benefits of learning to speak Vietnamese from a non-native speaker.