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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 Ho Chi Minh City. Each makes distinctions that the other does not; neither standard is preferred over the other at Wikipedia. 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 French agneau, Spanish enseñar
ŋ ngâm; nghe singer
p pin[1] sport
s s xa so
ʂ sáu almost like show
t tây stop
thầy top
c c chè American strength, 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
ʐ ra, rồi similar to pleasure, with tongue "bunched up"
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] like pick, but with a 'p' after the 'ck'
w tao, triệu[5] how
IPA Examples English approximation
a ăn cart
ba father
e v roughly like hay
ɛ xe set
ə ân balance
əː bơ pur (RP)
i khi; quy seat
ɨ tư similar to glasses
o cô roughly like bowl
ɔ có; xoong off
u ru rule
vn, bia beer (British English) (starting with the ”ee” in “beer”, but moving to the “a” in “balance”)
ɨə xương, chưa No English equivalent
uống, mua sure (British English) (starting with the ”u” in “rule”, but moving to the “o” in “person”)
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˩ʔ] [˨˧]


  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.