Vietnamese is part of the Austroasiatic language family along with Khmer (Cambodian). It has more than 80 million native speakers, which puts it above Italian and Polish. Although spoken primarily in the country of Vietnam there is a sizeable diaspora community in many countries like the United States and Australia. The learner will have to confront tones but a lack of gender and no cases is nice gift for those more familiar with Germanic or Slavic languages. In regards to linguistic influences, a large part of northern Vietnam was a part of China during ancient history, so there has been some Chinese language influence which still persists. Vietnamese is a popular second language in neighboring countries and it is easy to see why, as Vietnam is the 15th largest country by population.

Online Resources

FSI Vietnamese is a course offered by the Foreign Service Institute

Duolingo is a popular language learning platform and they offer Vietnamese. Check out the review here.

Learn How To Speak Vietnamese is a small series of about 20 videos

Online Vietnamese Pronunciation and Spelling is good for learning the sounds of Vietnamese

Online News

Sai Gon Giai Phong

BBC Vietnamese

Thanh Nien


Top Products

Pimsleur Vietnamese Conversational Course
Pimsleur is an all audio program for language learning. The Vietnamese Conversational course has 16 lessons, each 30 minutes long, for a total of 8 hours. If you like the method you can graduate and buy the full version, which is significantly more expensive.

Instant Vietnamese
This book presents 100 key words and phrases which help the user express 1000 ideas. It is small and good for traveling.

Elementary Vietnamese
Made for high school and university students and also those looking to self-study. Includes hours of audio material by native speakers and comes in just short of 300 pages.

Chung Ta Noi: Conversational Vietnamese
This text puts an emphasis on conversation and is meant for intermediate learners.

Where Can I Study It?

Vietnamese Language Studies offers formal classes in Vietnamese depending on your needs and what type of student you are.

University of California - Berkeley offers courses in Vietnamese

University of Washington courses in Vietnamese

Famous Speakers

Ho Chi Minh
The capital of Vietnam, Ho Chi Minh, is named after this revolutionary leader.

Cultural Products

Vietnam: Rising Dragon
This book touches on many topics related to modern day Vietnam, including economic development and democracy.

Vietnamese Home Cooking
Almost 200 pages of recipes and delightful photography. Sections include: Soup, Street Food, Steaming, Braising, Stir-Frying, Grilling, and Frying.

Culture Smart: Vietnam
The people of Vietnam were dealt a tough hand in the 20th century but have bounced back fantastically. This book covers the culture, history, traditions and way of life of the Vietnamese in addition to talking about on-going social changes.