Studying Vietnamese Again


I decided to make another attempt at studying Vietnamese.  I enlisted the help of my former student.  She never taught Vietnamese before but I told her not to worry, I will create the lesson plans.

Studying Vietnamese can be frustrating for most people.  For me, it gets even more frustrating since I already can communicate in six other languages; Japanese, English, Kazakh, Russian, Kyrgyz, Uzbek, Turkish.  The tricks I used to learn the other languages do not work with Vietnamese.  The tones are a killer for me.  Russian has some tones as well.  My Russian professor from the University of Washington felt that I was tone deaf.  It makes a nice convenient excuse not to learn Vietnamese, doesn’t it?

I really should be ashamed that I have not learned any survival Vietnamese, at least, during my two and a half years here in Vietnam.  I have no excuses except that I am just plain lazy.  Well, my lazy days are about to end.

Vietnamese, here I come.  Toi hoc Tieng Viet…


  1. You’re very good learner. Dont make yourself crazy with the tone. Just do it with your best and try to talk with your friends, especially, with your girl friend.

  2. Kevin,

    I feel your pain…I’ve been trying since 1998 to learn Vietnamese; I have a mother and sister-in-law that I desperately want to communicate with but can’t get past telling them I’m hungry, tired, or that I love them. Or thank you or please. That’s about it…obviously I don’t know the difficulty level of Vietnamese vs. the various other languages you’ve mastered, but I do know that most efforts I make to elaborate in my adopted language are met with laughter….

    Best Wishes,


    • @vous le vous Maybe at the novice-high level, possibly intermediate-low (ACTFL). I just problems with tones. No teacher has been successful with teaching me the tones yet. I may need to learn the northern dialect.

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