Pronunciation – Vietnamese Simple Consonants

Standard

Vietnamese Consonants

There are 18 simple consonants in Vietnamese. Most have the same pronunciation as their English counterparts. However, note that:

  • d and đ are different from English (see below)

  • f is written as ph (a consonant cluster). Take phở for example

  • there is no w sound in Vietnamese

Consonants Similar sound in English Example
B b B in bar bò (a cow) bay (to fly)
C c C in car cá (a fish) cô (aunt)
D d Z in zoo (North)
Y in you (South)
dơ (dirty) dù (umbrella)
Đ đ D in do đó (there) đây (here)
G g G in go gà (chicken) gạch (a brick)
H h H in hot ho (to cough) học (to study)
K k C in car kí (to sign) kịch (a play)
L l L in lose lạc (to get lost; a peanut) lịch (calendar)
M m M in mom mai (quince flower) mở (to open)
N n N in no nở (to blossom) nổ (to explode)
P p P in pan pin (AA battery)
Q(u) qu Q in quest quần (pant; trouser) quạt (a fan)
R r Z in zoo (North)
R in red (South)
rõ ràng (clear) rất (very)
S s S in shoot sư (a monk) sinh (to give birth to)
T t T in time tím (purple) tốt (good)
V v V in victory vở (a notebook) và (and)
X x S in shoot xinh (pretty) xô (a bucket)
d and đ Vietnamese consonant diacritical mark

d and đ Vietnamese consonant diacritical mark

Similar sounding consonants:

Vietnamese has many consonants that sound the same but written with different letters.
– C and K

– D, Gi, and R r

– Ch and Tr (in the North)

– G and Gh

– Ng and Ngh

– S and X (in the North)

Note:

– I leave the “Similar sound in English” box blank if I can’t find similar English sounds for a Vietnamese consonant.

– There are very few words starting with p. However, there are many words starting with ph (phở)

– Who invented the d and đ? I surely didn’t make it up to confuse you guys. The Portuguese made it when they invented the whole romanized Vietnamese alphabets. You have a choice between learning learning the current alphabet and the old Vietnamese one below (chữ Nôm)

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