Help:IPA for Vietnamese

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The charts below show the way in which the International Phonetic Alphabet (IPA) represents Vietnamese language pronunciations in Wikipedia articles. There are two major standards, one of Hanoi and one of Saigon. Each makes distinctions that the other does not; the central dialects, which make the distinctions of both, are represented here. Following the examples are common alternate transcriptions for sounds in IPA, for comparison.

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

  IPA   Examples English approximation
ʔ anh (pronounced before a vowel) button (Informal British)
ɓ ba [ʔb] almost like bee
c chè (Saigon final [t] after e/i/y [1]) cheese (unaspirated)
ɗ đi [ʔd] almost like day, but "swallowed"
f ph fight
h hàng high
j y; mai (may follow all vowels but e/i/y [1]) yellow
k cô, kem sky
l là low
m mai my
n nam (Saigon final [ŋ] after a/o/u [2]) no
ɲ nhà (Saigon final [n] after e/i/y [1]) French agneau, Spanish enseñar
ŋ ngam (before a/o/u [2]); nghe (before e/i/y [1]) singer
p đáp sport
s xa so
ʂ sao (Hanoi [s]) almost like show
t tây (Saigon final [k] after o/u [2]) stop
thầy top
ʈʂ tra [ʈ] (Hanoi c) almost like choose (unaspirated)
v về ([j] in informal Southern Vietnamese) van
w u; oanh (Hanoi initial [ʔw]) (may follow all vowels but a/o/u [2]) we
x khô (Saigon []) loch (Scottish English)
ɣ ga (before a/o/u [2]); ghế (before e/i/y [1]) No English equivalent ; amigo in Spanish
z da; già (Saigon [j]) zero
ʐ ra (Hanoi [z], Saigon could be [ɹ]) almost like pleasure
IPA Examples English approximation
ă ăn; anh almost like cut
a ba [3] between cat and father
e v almost like sit
ɛ xe set
ə̆ ân; bênh person
ə bơ almost like sir (British English)
i khi; quy see
ɨ tư roughly like glasses
o cô almost like good
ɔ có; xoong law
u ru too
IPA Examples English approximation
vn, bia beer (British English)
ɨə xương, chưa No English equivalent
uống, mua sure (British English)
ʷ (see /w/ above) we
IPA Examples
a ə a (Hanoi [˧], Saigon [˧])
â ə̂ à (Hanoi [˨˩], Saigon [˨˩])
ǎ ə̌ á (Hanoi [˧˥], Saigon [˧˥])
a᷉ ə᷉[4] (Hanoi [˧˩], Saigon [˧˩˧])
ǎˀ ə̌ˀ ã (Hanoi [˧ˀ˥], Saigon [˧˩˧])
âˀ ə̂ˀ (Hanoi [˧ˀ˩ʔ], Saigon [˨˧])
ə́k[5] ấc (Hanoi [˦˥], Saigon [˦˥])
ə̀k[5] ậc (Hanoi [˩], Saigon [˩])


  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 1.4 The front vowels ([i], [e], [ɛ], [j]) which are based on the letters e, i, and y.
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 2.3 2.4 The non-front vowels, which are based on the letters a, o, and u.
  3. /aː/ may be pronounced [æ].
  4. This is a dipping tone. It looks similar to ã ə̃ ([  ̃  ] (nasalized mark). The dipping tone differs only in being angular in shape, but is not widely supported by IPA fonts.
  5. 5.0 5.1 Before a final /p, t, c, k/, the six tones of Vietnamese are reduced to two.