The languages spoken in Vietnam
The Vietnamese language
It is a tonal language monosyllabiqueet. The difficulty lies in the Vietnamese pronunciation and accent. Imagine that the same word can take totally different meaning depending on whether you pronounce shrilly, a falling tone, a tone or a heavy questioning tone.
The words are monosyllabic but with accents around and when that changes the emphasis that gives the sense of change that word.
The word BA
- He is all alone without any accent around, BA meaning number 3 in general and in the southern language means Papa
- If it is accompanied by an acute accent over the vowel A: Uncle Ba meaning in the language due south.
- If it is accompanied by an emphasis falling on the vowel A: BÀ which means Mami
- If it comes with a heavy focus with a point in the vowel A: BA which means the registry book
- If it is accompanied by an interrogative accent mark over the vowel A: BA which signie Pasture poisoned.
- If it is accompanied by an emphasis as the tilde over the vowel A: BÃ which means Waste
Moreover, in Vietnam, there are 54 ethnic minorities therefore have their dialect incomprehensible to a Vietnamese. Some people in remote areas of the Highlands do not even speak the Vietnamese language and lowland rice fields!
So the Vietnamese is the official language for all ethnic groups. It is compulsory to teach at the school.
French is still spoken by the scholars of the generation that experienced the colonial era, over 60 years. There is a revival of sensitive enough Francophonie in recent years with young people eager to find work in tourism or in French companies that locate in Vietnam. In rural areas, it is much more difficult to find Francophones. But sometimes has amazing surprises, even in dark corners.
English is widely used in hotels, government offices, and trade. We speak more easily the south and north, because of the American presence during the Vietnam War. This is by far the most popular foreign language today.
Alexandre de Rhodes and "quốc ngữ"
Father Alexander de Rhodes (1591-1660) was one of the first missionaries of Cochin. On a Spanish Jewish family converted to Christianity, this Jesuit, tireless traveler, is the inventor of quốc ngữ, the phonetic alphabet in Latin characters used by the Vietnamese. The father of Rhodes transcribed thousands and thousands of Vietnamese words in Roman characters, causing a revolution in the traditional culture.
With the generalization of quốc ngữ the mandarin power was threatened. This "new Vietnamese language" was approaching European standards while breaking away from its ancient Chinese roots.