As at 2007, Vietnamese was spoken by 75 million people, making it one of the major Asian languages. I am sure the number of Vietnamese speakers today is somewhere around 100 million. It is the official language of Vietnam. The language heavily borrows from Austro-Asiatic languages such as Chinese.

10 Vietnamese phrases you need to know before you go
10 Vietnamese phrases you need to know before you go

As at 2007, Vietnamese was spoken by 75 million people, making it one of the major Asian languages. I am sure the number of Vietnamese speakers today is somewhere around 100 million. It is the official language of Vietnam. The language heavily borrows from Austro-Asiatic languages such as Chinese.

Today, Vietnamese language uses the Latin alphabets but also features some underlying diacritics for tones. It is used by many Vietnamese as first language and for minorities as a second language. The language boasts a whopping 11 vowels making it one of the richest languages in the world. Trust me; you will enjoy learning this language whether you are doing it for tours, professional advantage or just for fun. To kick start your study, practice on the following phrases and words.

1. Tieng chao - Hallo

2. Cam on - Thank you.

3. Ca phe da - Iced Coffee. Iced coffee is a Vietnamese delicacy and thus the locals will expect a foreigner to order some. Knowing how it is called is important.

4. Mot, hi, ba, yo! - One, Two Three Cheers! Use this phrase when you ask a stranger to capture your photo on camera or when photographing the locals.

5. Cai nay bao nhieu? - How much is it?

6. Nam...Nu - Man...Woman

7. Ban co khoe khong? - How are you?

8. Cam on ban toi khoe - I'm fine, thank you. Do not forget to say thank you after a good service. It is considered good manners here.

9. Ban giup toi duoc khong? - Can you help me?

10 Cho internet o dau - Where is the nearest internet cafe?

Like most Asiatic languages, Vietnamese is not hard to learn. The fact that it uses the Latin alphabets makes it even easier to learn. The Vietnamese are a helpful lot and they will go out of their way to help you master their language. Most Vietnamese can speak English. Once they realize that you are a foreigner they will immediately switch to English. Insist on speaking Vietnamese always - this is the way to learn.

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