How is the plural formed in Vietnamese

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How difficult is learning Vietnamese really?

Extremely difficult! At least if you ask Vietnamese about it. The alleged difficulty of language acquisition is almost something the people of Vietnam are proud of.

So, by now, you've probably heard nothing but discouraging mentioning of learning Vietnamese. In the following text I will give you a different perspective on the Vietnamese language and encourage you, because learning Vietnamese is actually not that difficult.

It is true that Vietnamese has six tones and a multitude of strange vowels that we cannot find in the German language. However, most don't understand that intonation is the only real problem with learning Vietnamese. All other aspects of the Vietnamese language are far simpler than what you imagine. Especially when compared to most European languages.

You do not believe me? Here are nine reasons that prove that learning Vietnamese is not that difficult after all.

1. Vietnamese has no different sexes

If you've ever tried to learn French, Spanish, or any other European language besides English, this is where you will be jumping for joy. The Vietnamese language has no gender concept. You can easily memorize the words without worrying about their gender.

2. Vietnamese does not distinguish between definite and indefinite articles

For example, when you are learning English, you will always be able to explain why you have to use “a” or “the” before a word. It's a surprisingly complex and difficult subject when trying to learn a new language.

It is actually not so important whether you are talking about “a” thing or about “the” thing. In most cases, you can figure out the meaning from the context of the sentence. Therefore, in the Vietnamese language, there is no distinction between definite and indefinite articles. Người can mean both a person and the person.

3. Vietnamese has no plural

In German and when learning most European languages, we have to worry about singular and plural. Because even if there are certain rules, the number of exceptions is hardly manageable.

In the Vietnamese language there is no distinction between singular and plural. For example, the word người means both “person” and “persons”. And bàn means both “table” and “table”. Here, too, the context of the sentence always makes it clear whether it is singular or plural.

And it's not just the nouns that are easier when learning Vietnamese:

4. Vietnamese has no confusing verb endings

For example, if you want to learn Spanish, you have to learn five or six different verb endings for verbs in order to express the different tenses. It is almost a torture to learn the many connections between European languages. And of course a huge investment of time.

The good news is that you won't have any problems with verb endings in the Vietnamese language. Because with no single verb, the ending has to be conjugated. The ending is always the same. No matter in which tense and no matter to whom the verb refers. This will likely save you hundreds of hours of study compared to European languages.

5. The tenses can be learned in two minutes

Vietnamese tenses are so simple it is hard to believe. Just take the basic form of the verb and put one of the following five words in front of it.

  • đã = in the past
  • mới = in the near past
  • đang = present tense, in the here and now
  • sắp = soon, in the near future
  • sẽ = in the future

There are a few more, but 99% of all situations, these five will get you right. And in many cases you can even omit these time indicator words completely, because the other person knows exactly in which tense you are speaking. So you can now communicate in Vietnamese in all tenses. Wasn't it really easy, wasn't it?

6. You don't have to learn a new alphabet

You can thank the French for this. Until 100 years ago, the Vietnamese typeface was similar in appearance and degree of difficulty to the Chinese. But in the meantime this has been replaced 100% by the alphabet we know. This means that unlike other Asian languages ​​like Chinese, Japanese, Korean, Thai and many others, you don't have to learn a new alphabet to be able to read Vietnamese. All you have to learn are a few accent marks, which are essential for the right tone and you can read Vietnamese in no time.

To be honest, reading Vietnamese is easier than reading English!

5. The Vietnamese spelling is consistent and clear

English spelling is extremely inconsistent and the same word can have different accents depending on the context. Even individual letters are stressed differently in English, depending on the situation and position in the word.

If you want to learn Vietnamese, you will never encounter such difficulties. A letter is always stressed the same way. No matter what the situation is or in which word the letter appears. In addition, when you read a Vietnamese word, you know exactly how it is stressed. Once you have learned the 28 letters of the Vietnamese alphabet and internalized the five tone indicators, you can read any Vietnamese word.

6. Vietnamese grammar doesn't really exist

I already mentioned that you can leave out the tense in the Vietnamese language if the meaning emerges from the context of the sentence. This is actually just one example that shows the simplicity of Vietnamese grammar. In most cases, you can use as few words as necessary to make yourself understood and you will be grammatically correct. This is a huge advantage if you want to learn Vietnamese!

7. Vietnamese vocabulary is extremely logical

Get our Vietnamese flashcards to learn more than 600 words within the next 30 days!

Most foreigners in Vietnam, even if they don't speak Vietnamese, are well aware that xe ôm - the name for the taxi bikes - can be translated directly as hug bikes. The majority of Vietnamese vocabulary is formed by putting two other separate words together. And, as is well known, this is not the case in European languages ​​such as English.

Here's another example for you: máy means machine and bay means plane. Can you guess what máy bay means?

It really is that simple! This allows you to learn new vocabulary much faster and learning Vietnamese can be mastered in no time. Even a small number of words can enable you to have a fairly large vocabulary.

Bonus: List of the best Vietnamese study materials

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Learning Vietnamese is a lot easier than you think

Are you now convinced that learning Vietnamese is a lot easier than you imagined a few minutes ago? What should you do next Take our free Vietnamese language course.

I hope I was able to dispel some of the myths and prejudices about the Vietnamese language and gave you the motivation to learn Vietnamese. Let us know in the comments whether you are starting to learn Vietnamese now or let us know what is stopping you.