How to Learn Vietnamese: 6 Helpful Ways to Learn Vietnamese Effectively
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Are you learning Vietnamese? Maybe you have a trip to Hoi An or you want to converse with your new in-laws. Whatever your reason for learning this language, there are tons of resources available that can help you. This article compiles some of the best and most effective ways. There are traditional methods, like using textbooks, as well as some unique options like watching YouTube videos or taking online classes with a tutor from Vietnam. However you prefer to study, this list will help you find the best way to learn Vietnamese.
Best Vietnamese App
Best Vietnamese Course
Best Vietnamese Tutors
Vietnamese is a tonal language. There are 6 different tones and changing the tone can change the meaning of the word. But due to the French colonization period, the Vietnamese script is written with Latin characters, which makes it a little more approachable for English speakers.
Similar to other countries, there are different accents between the regions. There are distinct Northern, Middle, and Southern accents. The northern accent is considered the most standard, but by learning any of these dialects, you’ll most likely be able to understand anyone who speaks Vietnamese.
With over 85 million speakers, Vietnamese is one of the most spoken langauges in Asia and the world. Whatever your reason for learning the language, you’re sure to find a resource in our guide that will help you learn this unique and fascinating language.
Table of Contents
Take an Online Vietnamese Course
Find an Online Vietnamese Tutor
Study with High-Quality Vietnamese Books
Watch Vietnamese YouTube Videos
How to Learn Vietnamese: Follow These Steps to Become Fluent Fast!
Vietnamese is considered a difficult language for English speakers to learn, but there are tips and tricks you can use to make learning easier. The best way is to use a variety of resources. One study tool isn’t comprehensive enough to cover everything, so it’s best to use several. For example, you can learn a lot of vocabulary and basic grammar with a Vietnamese language app but taking online classes with a Vietnamese tutor is more effective to practice speaking.
It’s also helpful to immerse yourself in the language and culture to get as much exposure as you can. Even if you’ve never been to Hanoi or Ho Chi Minh, you can immerse yourself right at home. YouTube channels and podcasts let you listen to how people actually speak the language. You can also read/listen to the news directly from Vietnam or find a language exchange partner.
Use the Best Vietnamese Apps
Vietnamese language apps are incredibly useful and well-developed. It’s a convenient and budget-friendly way to learn. There is a wide variety of apps that focus on different skills and teach the language using different methods. There are tons of options out there, but some are better than others. The apps below, Pimsleur, Mondly, and Drops, are high-quality options that are easy to use and effective at helping you learn the Vietnamese language.
Pimsleur is the best overall app to learn Vietnamese because it helps you become conversational quickly. Each lesson breaks down a complete conversation between native speakers. You learn vocabulary, grammar, and practice Vietnamese pronunciation. Since Pimsleur’s lessons are audio-based, you can listen anywhere and at anytime. You can try Pimsleur for free for 7 days or read more about it in this Pimsleur review.
Mondly is the best choice for Vietnamese beginners because it covers basic topics in a straightforward way. You’ll quickly learn important grammar and vocabulary in the short, interactive lessons. You can also choose which lessons you want to complete and study what interests you. Mondly has a free 7-day trial, and you can also learn more about the app in this Mondly review.
The Drops app is the best choice to learn Vietnamese vocabulary. It has a bunch of useful word lists that cover a wide range of topics. The lessons are well-designed, and each word has a unique animation. To learn the words, you play different games and practice each word multiple times. Drops is exclusively a vocabulary app, so it’s best used with other study methods. You can use Drops for free for 5 minutes every day. You can also read more about the app in this complete Drops review.
Take an Online Vietnamese Course
If you like to learn with a set study plan, an online Vietnamese course is a good option for you. The courses are comprehensive and since they follow a structured course, you’re always building on what you already learned. It takes the guesswork out of what to study next. Everyday Vietnamese for Beginners, Udemy, and LingoHut are easy-to-follow options that will help you learn Vietnamese quickly.
Everyday Vietnamese for Beginners
Everyday Vietnamese for Beginners is a course available on Audible so it’s completely audio based. You can listen anywhere and while doing other activities like driving to work or cooking dinner. The course is divided into 10 chapters that cover common topics like morning activities and hanging out with friends. You listen and repeat useful phrases, and each phrase has audio pronunciation and vocabulary. You can listen to a free audio sample of Everyday Vietnamese for Beginners to see if you enjoy it.
Udemy is a massive online learning platform that has more than 130 Vietnamese courses. They cover a wide range of topics, such as vocabulary, pronunciation, and grammar. Most of the courses are for beginners. For each one, you can watch a preview and read exactly what information is taught in the lessons. You can also read reviews from past students so you can be sure you’re getting a high-quality option.
LingoHut offers a self-taught Vietnamese course that focuses on vocabulary. There are currently 125 lessons in this course. Each lesson focuses on a vocabulary topic, such as shopping online, email terms, and giving directions. You learn with flashcards and can then play interactive games to reinforce the words you just learned. Best of all, it’s completely free!
Find an Online Vietnamese Tutor
If you truly want to become fluent in Vietnamese, practicing speaking and conversation is very important. Depending on where you live, it might be difficult to find someone to practice with. Now, there are many platforms that have qualified Vietnamese tutors that can help you start speaking from anywhere in the world. Italki, Preply, and Your Vietnamese Tutor are excellent sites to find a teacher that fits your learning style.
Italki is an online platform exclusively for language learning. There are currently 26 Vietnamese tutors available. To find a tutor that’s a good fit for you, you can search with different filters like where the teacher is from, lesson types, and availability. Most teachers offer a discounted trial class so you can see if you like their teaching style. You can also read more about the platform in this italki review.
Preply is a platform similar to italki with 70 Vietnamese tutors to choose from. You can browse the teachers’ profiles to read past reviews, see what languages they speak, and check their availability. And since teachers set their own lesson prices, there’s a wide range to choose from. You can try as many free trial classes as you like or read more about Preply in this review.
Your Vietnamese Tutor
Your Vietnamese Tutor is dedicated to Vietnamese learners and teachers. The teacher can modify the curriculum to your specific language goals. You’re given homework and access to other learning resources so you can practice independently. During class, the focus is on speaking practice. They offer a few self-paced online courses without live classes, but these are for intermediate-advanced learners only. Learn more about the tutors and see their profiles on the Your Vietnamese Tutor website.
Study with High-Quality Vietnamese Books
Books are a classic way to learn Vietnamese. They can be used if you’re studying with a tutor or as a self-study guide. They are convenient and can be taken anywhere. There are many excellent Vietnamese books out there, so it can be difficult to decide which one is right for you. The three books below, Easy Vietnamese, Elementary Vietnamese, and Vietnamese Stories for Language Learners are three books that have great ratings and reader reviews on Amazon.
Easy Vietnamese is for beginners who want an overview of the language. The book has practice exercises with an answer key and is useful for self-study. It also includes vocabulary, tips for conversation, and a glossary of commonly used words and phrases. To practice listening comprehension, you can access audio recordings of dialogues online. Learn more about Easy Vietnamese and read reviews here.
Elementary Vietnamese is an introduction to all the major skills needed to learn the language. It can be used with a tutor or for self-study. In addition to teaching the basics of grammar and vocabulary, the book also includes useful cultural information about Vietnam and shows modern use of the language. The third edition includes audio dialogues recorded by native speakers and pronunciation drills. People who studied with the book liked the structure of the content and found it to be a complete overview. See what other reviewers thought about the book here.
Vietnamese Stories for Language Learners
Vietnamese Stories for Language Learners has 40 stories written in Vietnamese and translated into English. The stories are common folktales from Vietnam and show a unique side of the country’s culture. The Vietnamese and English translations are side-by-side to help with language learning. The book also includes audio recordings of the stories in Vietnamese, and each story has discussion questions, vocabulary, and cultural notes. See what readers thought about the book here.
Watch Vietnamese YouTube Videos
Using YouTube to learn a language is unconventional, but it can be one of the most fun ways! Some YouTubers make educational videos, imitating a traditional classroom-style, and others focus more on the culture and daily life of Vietnam. It’s a great way to hear real Vietnamese speakers and learn about Vietnamese culture at the same time. The channels below post videos that are both educational and entertaining.
Tieng Viet Oi
Tieng Viet Oi is a language school located in Vietnam and makes tons of video lessons to help people learn how to speak Vietnamese like a local. The videos are usually short and focus on a small snippet of language such as how to use a word or demonstrate correct pronunciation. There are different playlists to choose from, but their “Learn Vietnamese” playlist which teaches the basics is the most extensive and has 240 videos.
Learn Vietnamese with Annie
Annie is a Vietnamese teacher who speaks the Southern Vietnamese dialect. Her videos focus on dialogues and conversation, and you’ll learn how to correctly pronounce words and phrases. There are also videos about vocabulary, stories, and more. You can also download the Learn Vietnamese with Annie app for even more practice material.
What the Pho
Van Vu shows you the unique culture of Vietnam through her videos. There are videos about different locations, food, and the differences between Vietnam and the United States. Her videos are in English, so you won’t learn much Vietnamese apart from a few words and phrases, but it’s an excellent look into the Vietnamese lifestyle and is a great resource if you’re interested in learning about the culture. The What the Pho channel has a new video every Friday.
Listen to Vietnamese Podcasts
Podcasts are an outstanding way to learn how Vietnamese is really spoken. The focus is on audio, so you can hear correct pronunciation, tone, and more. You can also go hands-free and listen at any time. Some podcasts focus on teaching important language topics and others are entirely in Vietnamese and cover everyday topics like news, stories, and culture. VietnamesePod101, HowToVietnamese, and SBS Vietnamese have hundreds of hours of content for you to listen to.
VietnamesePod101 is an online platform and app with tons of podcast lessons that teach topics like grammar, conversation, speaking, and even Vietnamese culture. There are 5 levels that go from absolute beginner to advanced, so there’s something available for everyone. Each lesson comes with a transcript and extensive lesson notes. The online platform has tons of additional resources to practice vocabulary and they add new content every week. You can try VietnamesePod101 for free for 7 days.
The HowToVietnamese podcast features vocabulary lessons as well as short stories. The host speaks the southern Vietnamese dialect and speaks slowly so learners can understand. This podcast is better for upper beginners and intermediate learners that have already had some exposure to the language. You can listen to all episodes for free on your favorite podcast player, like Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, and Spotify.
SBS Vietnamese is produced out of Australia and the episodes feature independent news stories about Australia and Vietnamese-speaking Australians. Even if you don’t want to learn about Australian news, the SBS podcast is a helpful resource since the episodes are entirely in Vietnamese. It’s best for intermediate and advanced learners, but they do speak clearly and understandably if a beginner learner wants to try to listen. Check out all their episodes on the SBS website.
How to Learn Vietnamese: Final Thoughts
To see steady progress when learning Vietnamese, it’s important to be consistent with your studies. You should set up a language learning routine and stick with it. Set aside a few minutes every day or a larger chunk of time a few times per week that you dedicate to practicing Vietnamese
Another way to learn effectively is to use a variety of resources. There’s no perfect app or platform that can help you improve all your skills, so it’s a good idea to use a few different ones to fill in any gaps and have a well-rounded understanding of Vietnamese. Don’t forget to include authentic Vietnamese content, such as news sites, YouTube videos, tv shows, and more, in your learning routine.
Want to learn more? Check out our Vietnamese resource page.
How to Learn Vietnamese: FAQ
According to the US Department of State, it takes 44 weeks, or 1100 class hours to reach a proficient level of Vietnamese. This number will vary depending on each person’s circumstances, such as the amount of time they can dedicate to studying, their natural ability for language acquisition, and if they already speak a language that’s similar to Vietnamese.
To see how long it will take you to learn Vietnamese, check out this fluency calculator.
The best way to learn Vietnamese quickly is to use a variety of resources to have an overall understanding of the language. Taking online classes with a Vietnamese tutor is one of the most effective ways to learn because of the personalized instruction and guidance. But this can get expensive. You can also use language apps or books to get an overall grasp of Vietnamese.
There are many ways to learn Vietnamese at home, including using language apps, studying with a textbook, or finding a private tutor that teaches online classes. One of the most popular ways is to use a language app. This can teach you the basics of Vietnamese and is usually an inexpensive way to start learning a language.
Vietnamese is considered to be a hard language, for English speakers because it has significant linguistic differences. Vietnamese is a tonal language, and although it uses the Latin script there are different characters that don’t appear in the English language. But learning Vietnamese doesn’t have to be difficult. By using high-quality tools to study, you can gain a basic conversational level in less than a year.
To become fluent in Vietnamese, you will need to practice with a native Vietnamese speaker. You’ll most likely need to find a Vietnamese teacher, or someone who speaks at a fluent level. Language apps and books can help you reach a certain level, but if you want to reach fluency, practicing conversation is key. A qualified Vietnamese tutor can help you practice and guide your learning.
There are quite a few resources available to learn Vietnamese for free. One of the most popular ways is to use a language app like Duolingo. It’s ad-sponsored so you’ll be interrupted during your lessons, but all the content on Duolingo is completely free. You can also watch YouTube channels or see if your local library has a subscription to Mango Languages. VietnamesePod101 offers quite a bit of content for free