Pronunciation – Vietnamese Compound Vowels


There are 3 types of compound vowels in Vietnamese.

  1. vowel + vowel. Example: eo (e + o ; meaning: waist)
  2. vowel + consonant (simple or cluster consonant). Example: ong (o + ng; meaning: a bee)
  3. vowel + vowel + consonant. Example: uống (u + ô + ng; meaning: to drink)

I call these vowels “compound” because all the letters make only 1 sound.

Here is an informal guide to Vietnamese compound vowels with example words. It’s quite long so I had to upload it elsewhere.
If you’re a beginner, take a look through but don’t mind it too much. You’ll learn everything in that list along the way.
If you’re intermediate or advance, take a look to see how many you already know and have a little review.
The language department at Arizona university has recorded a Vietnamese pronunciation guide here.

And here’s a little exercise for you: Identify all the compound vowels in the short story below (no you don’t need to understand it).

Title: Chuyện đòi tiền

Hai người bạn nói chuyện với nhau: “Mày nợ tiền tao sao mãi không trả? Ngày mai mày không trả tao sẽ đi nói với mọi người”

– Mày nói thoải mái, tao nợ nhiều người lắm.

– Vậy tao sẽ nói với mọi người là mày trả tao rồi.

– !!!!!

Bonus question: What was the story about?


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