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Lesson Transcript

Giang: Hello everyone! Welcome back to VietnamesePod101.com. My name is Giang!
Jason: And I’m Jason! This is Pronunciation, lesson 4 Vietnamese Accents. How is it going, listeners? Are you getting the hang of Vietnamese pronunciation? We hope so!

Lesson focus

Giang: This time we’re going to go over some regional variations in pronunciation.
Jason: Up until now, you’ve learned that Vietnamese has a set number of consonants and vowels – 17 native consonants,12 vowels, and many compound consonants and vowels.
Giang: Right. But we also want to tell our listeners that depending on where you go in Vietnam, people might say things differently. So, how are we going to cover this?
Jason: Well, we’re going to focus on three regions Northern, Central, and Southern Vietnam. The northern, central, and southern dialects are named after the representative city of each region, so Hanoi accent is the northern, Hue accent is the central and Sai Gon accent is the southern. These are also among the most visited cities by foreign tourists. Out of these three dialects, the Hanoi or northern accent is considered the standard Vietnamese and is the one spoken by most foreigners learning Vietnamese. We learn northern Vietnamese in our series too.
Giang: That’s right. Now, let’s go into some more detail.
Jason: Firstly, let’s talk about the differences in the sound system and vocabulary.
Giang: There are variations in vowel and consonant pronunciation between the three regions. For example, northerners don’t really make distinctions between the consonants chờ and trờ , ét xì and ích xì or among rờ, dờ and di.
Jason: Oh, that’s confusing. How can they tell the correct spelling when the consonants are not pronounced distinctly?
Giang: Well, there are certain ways to tell which words they are referring to. You can look at the context and the surrounding words.
Jason: Okay, I see. Let’s continue with other kinds of variations. What about the Southern accent?
Giang: The Southern accent has both consonant and vowel variations. For example, they pronounce r, gi, d and v all as [j] sound. If I say “giả vờ” which means “to pretend” then a southerner would say, “jạ jờ”. Another difference is in the pronunciation of the compound consonant “quờ” - “qu”. It is pronounced [kw] in the north but [w] in the south. For example, “đẹp quá” which means “very beautiful”, becomes “đẹp wá” in a southern accent.
Jason: Oh, interesting. And there seem to be differences in tone, too.
Giang: Yes, that’s right. Now let’s continue with vowel variation, southerners tend to drop the “ê” sound in the triphthong “iêu”. So “nhiều quá”, which means “too much” would become “nhìu wá”. They also drop the “u” sound in the dipthong “uô” and drop the “ơ” sound in the dipthong “ươ”. For example, “dễ thương” meaning “lovely” becomes “jễ thưng”.
Jason: So Giang, do Vietnamese people have trouble understanding each other if they’re from different regions?
Giang: There’s usually no problem for people in the north and the south when they’re talking with each other. But the central accent is considered the hardest to understand. This is because of the vocabulary differences and heavy tones of voice.
Jason: Can you give us some examples?
Giang: Well, there are many words that are only understood by people in the central provinces, because they are different from the standard words in both pronunciation and spelling. For example, if northerners say, “sao thế?” meaning “what’s up”, people in the centre would say “răng rứa?” The words are totally different and the tone of voice is also heavier.
Jason: I see, it would be challenging for foreigners learning Vietnamese.
Giang: It sure is. But don’t worry, because people from the center are very good at imitating northern accents. They can understand you and make you understand them if you speak Northern Vietnamese.


Jason: All right, well that’s it for this lesson.
Giang: Make sure to keep practicing – listen over and over again if you have to!
Jason: Then, see you next time!


Please to leave a comment.
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VietnamesePod101.com Verified
Wednesday at 12:00 PM
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Hi everyone!

Have you ever had any problem with your accent?


VietnamesePod101.com Verified
Monday at 10:38 AM
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Hi Vincent,

Sorry but I don't get your question. Could you please be more specific?



Team VietnamesePod101.com

Thursday at 04:43 AM
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how can I change that

Thursday at 04:42 AM
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:disappointed: yes I do, I have a enlish

VietnamesePod101.com Verified
Wednesday at 12:11 AM
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Hi Nhat,

Like other languages, Vietnamese also have different regional dialects. Southern people tend to pronounce "hỏi" and "ngã" the same and it is their speaking habit, and is called Southern dialect. Specifically, they tend to pronounce "hỏi" the same as "ngã", rather than the opposite way. The best way to distinguish is to base on the whole words and the other related words in the sentence. I think you'll get used to it if you keep listening to them frequently.

Please let me know if you have more questions.

Have a nice day.


Team VietnamesePod101.com

Thursday at 05:33 AM
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I have a question.

Why do the Southern people pronounce their tones "hỏi" and "ngã" like they are the same tones? Will it make a difference when they speak and what the words mean?

Cảm ơn.

VietnamesePod101.com Verified
Sunday at 11:04 PM
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Hi Madeleine,

Thank you for joining our program.

I really understand how much you would love to communicate with your husband in Vietnamese.

We actually do focus on teaching Northern Vietnamese, but it does not mean that Southerners cannot understand it. Therefore, what is taught in Survival Phrases is basic Vietnamese and all people in Vietnam should be able to understand.

Can you let me know what you did try to say and he did not understand and I can help you figure out the solution?

Currently, we do not have lessons that specializes in teaching Southern Vietnamese, so I may suggest you join the premium plus membership so you can talk directly with a native Vietnamese tutor and ask exactly what you want to learn.

I hope this helps. Please let me know if you have any other questions or concerns.

I look forward to hearing from you again.



Team VietnamesePod101.com

Madeleine Lam
Tuesday at 11:39 AM
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I wrote a forum post but I notice no one goes on the forums so I don't expect a reply.

Do you guys offer lessons in southern dialect?

It would very much disappoint me if you didn't because southern is the one I want to learn.

Here is the forum post link if you want to look at the post


I really do like the learning system and I've learned a lot so far but most of it is useless when I try to use it :(

Thank you for any help

VietnamesePod101.com Verified
Thursday at 02:34 PM
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Hi Kelsy,

To listen to this audio lesson, you need to be at least a Basic member.

If you are a free member, you won't be able to play this one.

If not, please send an email at contactus@VietnamesePod101.com and we will help you to fix the issue.

Kind regards


Team VietnamesePod101.com

Kelsy Ulrey
Thursday at 11:39 AM
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I keep trying everytime I log on, but this lesson won't load or play.