L-Lingo Blog: The Main Difference Between Northern And Southern Vietnamese

Should I Learn Northern Or Southern Vietnamese?

The Main Differences Between Northern and Southern Vietnamese

There are many different accents and dialects in Vietnam. These are distinct dialects formed through centuries of varying cultural and geographical influences from Asia and beyond. Vietnam has a fascinating history where much of its recorded past sees it divided and ruled between North and South. As a result, most Vietnamese language learners either opt to learn Northern or Southern Vietnamese. So what are the differences between the two? We can start by analyzing the spoken dialects.

The Dialects of North and South Vietnam

While there are many dialects and accents in the diverse nation of Vietnam, the two that are the most prominent are Northern and Southern Vietnamese. Even though the language strains are unique, the speakers can communicate with each other – or are mutually intelligible.

There are differences in how the two regional speakers pronounce words, the tones they speak, and vocabulary altogether. Each region can have its own variations of North and South Vietnamese – but the most widely understood accents come from the Northern city of Hanoi and the Southern of Saigon.

L-Lingo Blog: Hanoi and Saigon Vietnam. Difference between northern and southern Vietnamese.

Why Are North and South Vietnamese Different?

Many factors inhibit the way a language is spoken, and that includes Vietnamese. Both North and South Vietnam have experienced waves of colonization and international influence. Traditionally, the North has always been the seat of political power – where French ruling and international diplomacy have shaped the way words are spoken.

In the South, there has been much American influence in recent history. This considers the conflicts that took place in the 20th century. Cities such as Saigon have also been a hotspot for foreign settlement from Asia. The introductions of varying lifestyles have created words and pronunciations inspired by its diverse residents.

The Key Differences Between Northern and Southern Vietnamese

As aforementioned – Northern and Southern Vietnamese can be understood by native speakers of each other. There are quite a few instances, though, where there are remarkable differences between the two languages. These are mainly found in words that are pronounced differently or are contrasting. Also, the way the language is spoken through tones.

North Vietnamese has 6 tones in the language, where South Vietnamese only has 5. Accents also differ – with a higher-pitched one being spoken in the North that varies in delivery. In the South, the population speaks with a more monotone accent. Vocabulary is also one of the most well-known deviation points – where a word such as ‘tea’ can mean something completely different between the two regions.

Where Can I Learn Northern and Southern Vietnamese?

There is much argument over which dialect is the best to learn – where in part each one has its merits. The variations of language have significance with where you plan to travel, work or live in Vietnam. Learning one, however, can provide the foundations for studying the other.

Understanding South Vietnamese will assist in getting a quick grasp of the Northern dialect. You can learn Southern Vietnamese today with L-Lingo. It serves as an excellent starting point for your adventures in either North or South Vietnam. A speaker of even a few key phrases can yield rewarding experiences in the beautiful country.

L-Lingo Learn Vietnamese

Learn Spoken Northern and Southern Vietnamese With Italki

You can also head over to Italki where you can find native Vietnamese speakers to get your first speaking lesson. The Vietnamese language teachers there are incredibly lovely and beginner-friendly, so don’t hesitate to practice your speaking.

Posted by Kiandro


I'm Kiandro, the content creator here at L-Lingo. I'm an avid language learner and culture enthusiast. Feel free to leave any comments or thoughts you have on my blog posts.

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