Oh, we gotta have a lot of fun with this: Vietnamese vowels!
The diacritical marks used in Vietnamese is extremely important. The same A with a ^ on its head becomes â. It makes a different sound in Vietnamese, and means a different thing.
a ă â
o ô ơ
My beginner students (in their haste / carelessness / inexperience) often ignore the diacritical marks at their own perils (and at their teacher’s/my annoyance).
After a few months, we have a ton of headache trying to correct wrong pronunciation and incorrect writing. And yeah… native speakers in Vietnam do make jokes about “foreigners” who say the wrong words or tones and embarrass themselves.
My suggestion is to take it slow and make sure that you have it correctly the first time around.
Curious question: diacritical marks or Vietnamese tones, which one is more important?
Suppose you have a choice of walking with only your left leg or your right leg. Which one do you choose?
Obviously having both legs is the best option. Both diacritical marks and Vietnamese tones are indispensable to learning Vietnamese, so it’s worth spending time learning both legs of the Vietnamese language.
Last but not least, if you remember nothing else today, just remember the DIACRITICAL MARKS on the VOWELS!
And just in case you forgot: the Vietnamese consonants also have diacritical marks, but only 1
And here’s a video I found on YouTube on how to pronounced the vowels 🙂