It’s a big effort to learn a new language, regardless of which one you pick. The Vietnamese language is also the same in this aspect.
That’s why, before you begin learning Vietnamese, you want to know how much effort you’ll need to put in. So, you’re asking, “How much time does it take to learn Vietnamese?”
In this article, I’ll share information about how much time experts think it takes to learn Vietnamese. I’ll also explain how you can learn it on your own, either because you enjoy it or for when you want to travel.
How Long Does It Take to Learn Vietnamese?
According to the Foreign Service Institute (FSI), Vietnamese is considered a “Hard language” in Category III. This means it’s quite different from English in terms of both language and culture. Typically, it takes around 44 weeks or 1100 class hours to become fluent in Vietnamese.
If you study Vietnamese for 1 hour every day, 7 days a week, it will take you about 40 months (which is around three years) to become fluent.
Factors to Consider When Learning Vietnamese
The time it takes to learn a language is something other than something objective. There are many factors that affect the time to learn a language, like Vietnamese. Here are a few factors to consider:
1. What’s Your Native Language?
If you are a native English speaker, then you will already know a basic set o English words, even if their pronunciation in Vietnam is different. Although the alphabets in Vietnamese look similar to the English alphabet, there are still many difficulties that English natives will experience when learning Vietnamese.
One of the major problems will be with pronunciation. There are some English sounds that simply don’t exist in Vietnamese; the voiceless consonants, the plosives, and the glottal stop.
The speakers of English may learn the syllables easily because they are short, unlike long English words. Moreover, the Vietnamese language has six tones which means the way in which the word is said can change its meaning. However, English has five tones.
One more thing that Vietnamese has is the language does not inflect, and you must carefully explain how and why certain words change. The differences that there are between English and Vietnamese take a comparatively long time for the English natives to learn Vietnamese and influence the time it takes to learn the language.
2. Language You Are Learning
The language you are learning greatly influences the time it takes to learn it because the harder the language, the more time it will take. Vietnamese is an analytic language, meaning that there are no inflections, and grammatical relationships between words are shown through word order and by adding adjacent “helper” words instead.
There is no case inflections, no conjugations, no grammatical genders, and no plural form. Vietnamese is kind of a monosyllabic language, though many words have two syllables, especially compound words.
Vietnamese normally has three main dialect groups; northern, central, and southern. Now, it’s up to you to decide which one you want to learn. Normally, the northern and southern dialects are popular for learning, and of course, there are differences within the dialects.
Northern Vietnamese has six tones, while southern Vietnamese has five tones. Two of the tones represented in writing are pronounced as in southern Vietnamese. The general range of pitches used is higher in northern Vietnamese and lower in southern Vietnamese.
Vietnamese is indeed an interesting language, it may not be the easiest language for learners to take on, and its phonology may present a challenge, but in certain words, it’s quite a straightforward language. So, it all comes to your natural instinct to grab the complexities of language, which ultimately decides the time it takes to learn the language.
3. How You Are Learning
Vietnamese is a tonal language. This is why it is generally recommended to get its pronunciation right. The Vietnamese language experts recommend their students learn the pronunciation right from the beginning because they are going to spend 3 to 5 hours learning the pronunciation intensively.
Then it will be really helpful for you because the rest of the process of learning the language is not as challenging as the pronunciation.
One thing that you should know when you learn a new Vietnamese word is that you pay attention to the tone, the symbol, the vowel, and everything because people tend to skip remembering the tones, the symbol, and the vowels. So, giving time to each of these components is extremely important.
There is not much interesting material present for Vietnamese because of Vietnamese. Naturally, Vietnamese people don’t have the habit of slowing down when talking to other people, but this trend is changing.
Anyway, whatever the trend becomes, make sure that you pick up the right strategy to learn Vietnamese, as it is essential to learn the language and will decide your proficiency in the language altogether.
4. How Much Time Do You Have?
The time you have to learn the language influences how fast you learn the language.
There are a few stages to learning a language like Vietnamese. Based on these crucial stages, you have to decide the time you are delicate to learning the language.
The first stage is when you are not so sure about learning a language. You are still wondering about the what’s and ifs of the language. This is also known as the honey phase of language learning, and you don’t give much time to learning Vietnamese at this stage. You hardly give a few minutes at this stage.
Then comes the stage when you realize that Vietnamese is more complicated than you thought. At this stage, you will want to commit to the language in more than one form and will realize that language games in Vietnamese are not just enough.
Then comes the stage when you get serious and may even book yourself in some language learning course for a few months. At this stage, you are given 1 hour to learn the language at the very least.
Then comes the final stage when you actually want to get proficient in the language, so you start finding people to communicate with within the language or even watch podcasts in the language. You have to decide the time you want to dedicate to learning Vietnamese.
5. Your Motivation
You need to set a clear and concrete learning goal for yourself. Doing so will help you stay focused and will also become a reason that you won’t be able to procrastinate learning Vietnamese.
Also, if you set a certain Vietnamese learning goal for yourself, it would become exciting to accomplish that small goal and would naturally eliminate laziness from the process.
Unfortunately, many of us have skipped setting goals once we start speaking the language, even on a beginner level. But to stay on track, it is recommended to set a one-phrase goal.
This all depends on your motivation to learn the language. Different people learn Vietnamese for different purposes. Some learn it because it just adds to the rich treasure of their learned languages.
Language is not just about grammar, vocabulary, and pronunciation, and it’s so much more than that. It offers history, culture, and tradition, and Vietnamese detailed and rich history is reflected in its language. So, some people learn it because Vietnamese acts as a gateway to new languages and cultures.
The people whose native language is Vietnamese are scattered in every part of the world. You will find most of them in countries like the USA, Australia, China, France, Canada, South Korea, Germany, and Taiwan.
So, interacting with them in Vietnamese would help score some brownie points and help with fluency and clarity.
My name is Arslan Hussain and I am co-founder of The Different Languages blog. Have years of experience in digital marketing, My best hobby is blogging and feel awesome to spend time in it.