More Language Notes (VN Diary No. 16)

I learned something important about Vietnamese phonology yesterday. A couple of things, actually. First, each Vietnamese syllable can be analyzed into five parts: tone, initial consonant, semivowel, dipthong, and terminal consonant. Not every syllable has all the elements, but understnadin this can help understand pronunciation by a careful “sound out” practice and this is particularly important because Vietnamese, for me, is difficult to produce; that is, my mouth has not been trained to make the right shapes. Second, Vietnamese syllables that end in a consonant are not asperated whereas those that end with a vowel are. This is simply not something an Englsih speaker notices, so it too is a useful bit of information in learning the language.