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The charts below show the way in which the International Phonetic Alphabet (IPA) represents Vietnamese language pronunciations in articles. For a guide to adding IPA characters to articles, see {{IPA-vi}} and Wikipedia:Manual of Style/Pronunciation § Entering IPA characters.

There are two major standards: one of Hanoi and one of Ho Chi Minh City. Each makes distinctions that the other does not; neither standard is preferred over the other at. The central dialects, which make the distinctions of both, are generally represented in articles here, except if a local pronunciation is clearly more relevant.

See Vietnamese phonology for a more thorough look at the sounds of Vietnamese.

Initial consonants
H C S Examples English approximation
ʔ anh (unwritten, occurs before initial vowels) uh-oh; informal British button
ɓ ba almost like bee
ɗ đi almost like day but "swallowed"
f ph fight
ɣ ga; ghế Spanish: amigo
h hàng high
k cô, kem, quốc scan
x khô loch
l là low
m mai my
n nam no
ɲ nhà canyon
ŋ ngâm; nghe singer
p pin[1] sport
s s xa so
ʂ sáu almost like show
t tây stop
thầy top
t͡ɕ c chè American cue, but further towards the teeth
ʈ tra choose (unaspirated), with tongue "bunched up"
v j v[2] van
z z già, giết zero
j da, danh yellow
r ra, rồi similar to red; variably pronounced as a fricative, flap or trill
Medial glide
ʷ oanh; quốc quick
Final consonants
j i, tay[3] boy
m thêm pom
n ŋ ban pin
ŋ trứng long
n n min (after /i, e/)[4]
ŋ̟ nh[4][3] onion (various pronunciations)
n ŋm mộn (after /u, o/)
ŋm hồng (after /u, o, ɔ/)[5] like long, but with an 'm' after the 'ng'
p tiếp clasp
t k xuất pit
k ác pick
t t chít (after /i, e/)[4]
ch[4][3] technical (various pronunciations)
t kp một (after /u, o/)
kp học (after /u, o, ɔ/)[5] backpack
w tao, triệu[5] how
Monophthongs
IPA Examples English approximation
a ăn cart
ba father
e v roughly like hay
ɛ xe set
ə ân balance
əː bơ hurt
i khi; quy seat
ɨ tư similar to glasses
o cô roughly like bowl
ɔ có; xoong off
u ru rule
Diphthongs
vn, bia California
ɨə xương, chưa No English equivalent
uống, mua influence
Tones
IPA Examples Hanoi Ho Chi Minh City
ā ə̄ a [˧] [˧]
à ə̀ à [˨˩] [˨˩]
ǎ ə̌ á, ấc[6] [˧˥] [˧˥]
â ə̂ ,[7] ậc[6] [˧˩] [˧˩˧]
ǎˀ ə̌ˀ ã [˧ˀ˥] [˧˩˧]
âˀ ə̂ˀ [˧ˀ˩] [˨˧]

Notes

  1. ^ [p] appears only in loanwords, and is often replaced by [ɓ].
  2. ^ [v] may be used as a spelling pronunciation in southern dialects.
  3. ^ a b c In northern dialects, when the velar finals /k, ŋ/ follow the front vowels /i, e, ɛ/, the consonant becomes pre-velar [k̟, ŋ̟], and the vowels /e, ɛ/ become [əj, aj].
  4. ^ a b c d In southern dialects, the vowels /i, e, ɛ/ become [ɨ, ə, a] before the alveolar consonants [t, n].
  5. ^ a b c In most dialects, when the velar finals /k, ŋ/ follow the round vowels /u, o, ɔ/, the consonant is strongly labialized [kʷ, ŋʷ] or doubly-articulated [k͡p, ŋ͡m], and the vowels /o, ɔ/ become [əw, aw].
  6. ^ a b Before a final /p, t, k/, the six tones of Vietnamese are reduced to two.
  7. ^ In isolation, this can be a dipping tone. The usual IPA diacritic for dipping tone is [a᷉ ə᷉], which differs from the nasalization mark [ ˜ ] only in being angular in shape, and is not widely supported by fonts.