Vietnamese Pronunciation

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Tomii515
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Vietnamese Pronunciation

Postby Tomii515 » 2007-08-02, 16:32

Hello everyone!

My friend, Trâm, is teaching me a little bit of Vietnamese... Like, basic phrases and pronunciation until I have the money to buy the book:

"Vietnamese for Beginners" by Jake Catlett & Huong Nguyen (by the way, is this a good book? Looks ok...)

Anyways... This first post of mine is about vowels... I want to know if this is correct.. Because, from the way she said it, and "explained" it... this is what I got on the vowels:

(by the way.... If the x-sampa isnt right... the pronunciation thingys are of northest (pennsylvania) american accent)

---

in Hanoi, they have "high voices"
in Saigon, they have "low voices"

a = "a" in "cat"
ă (a#) = "a" in "cat" (rising)
â (a^) = "u" in "sun" (rising)
e = "eah" in "yeah"
ê (e^) = "ay" in "say"
i = "ee" in "meet"
o = (Korean) ㅓ (eo)
ô (o^) = "o" in "home"
ơ (o*) = "u" in "sun"
u = "oo" moon"
ư (u*) = "u" in "put"
y = "ee" in "meet"

Now here's the x-sampa i tried...

a = /{/
ă (a#) = /{_R/
â (a^) = /@_R/
e = /E/
ê (e^) = /e/
i = /i/
o = /O/
ô (o^) = /o/
ơ (o*) = /@/
u = /u/
ư (u*) = /M/ or /1/
y = /i/

So... Is any of that correct? Soemone please let me know~ Thanks!

(by the way, again, from what she told me... She said "ă" and "â" ("a#" and "a^") were rising tones of "a" and "ơ" ("a" and "o*")... but I read that they are jsut shorter... but she said thats wrong...... idk)

thanks again!

-Tommy
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Postby Tomii515 » 2007-08-05, 5:07

OK... I did more reseach...

here's how I think all the vowels are pronunced:

a = /6:/
ă = /6/
â = /3/
e = /E/
ê = /e/
i = /i/
o = /O/
ô = /o/
ơ = /3:/
u = /u/
ư = /1/
y = /i/

And here's the consonants, only in the beginning of a syllable. H = hanoi, S = saigon:

b = /b/
c = /k/
d = H: /z/, S: /j/
đ = /d/
g = /G/
h = /h/
k = /k/
l = /l/
m = /m/
n = /n/
r = H: /z/, S: /r\/
s = H: /s/, S: = /S/
t = /t/
v = /v/ (sometimes /v/ or /vj/ in some places)
x = /s/
ch = H: /c/, S: /kj/
gh = /G/
gi = H: /j/, S: /z/
kh = /x/
nh = /J/
ng = /N/
ngh = /N/
ph = /f/
qu = /kw/
th = /t_h/
tr = H: /c/ or /c_h/, S: /c/ or /c_h/ or /cr\/ (i'm not sure about this one...)

And now at the end of a syllable:

c = /k/
m = /m/
n = /n/
p = /p/
t = /t/
ch = ??? I do't know D:
nh = ??? I don't know D:
ng = /N/


Plese correct me or add some things if you'd like :-)

-Tommy
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Postby cyberstranger » 2007-08-21, 15:04

Yeah, something like that but you should check and practice your pronunciation with a native Vietnamese speaker.Image
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Postby Tenebrarum » 2007-09-01, 18:36

Tomii515 wrote:ch = ??? I do't know D:
nh = ??? I don't know D:

(by the way, again, from what she told me... She said "ă" and "â" ("a#" and "a^") were rising tones of "a" and "ơ" ("a" and "o*")... but I read that they are jsut shorter... but she said thats wrong...... idk)

*Word-initially:

ch = /c/ [north] or /J\/ [south] (A rare sound indeed. It presents in... let's see... Hungarian :D )

nh = /n`/

*Word-finally:

ch = /g_</ (implosive /g/) [north] or /d_</ (implosive /d/) [south]

nh = /n/, but it kinda shortens the preceding vowel

And yes, your friend are wrong. She confused the name of the vowel with its phonetic value.

You are right. "ă" is the short version of "a"; while "â" is the short of "ơ".

*IMPORTANT*

Please remember: ALL word-final consonants in VNmese are implosive. NEVER EVER approach them in the Indo-European way. That's to say, never make them plosive.

VNmese doesn't have fricatives at the end of words, joy. :lol:

You should practice the glottal stop too. VNmese uses it frequently & forcefully.

Close your lips whenever /ŋ/ is preceded by a rounded vowel. Eg: "Ông" is pronounced [oŋm], not [oŋ]

Also, close your lips whenever /k/ (or /g/)(*@*) is preceded by, again, a rounded vowel. Eg: "Ốc" is [ogb], not [og]


Fail to follow those rules and you'll sound very Indo-European :wink:

----------------------
(*@*): Doesn't matter. It's implosive anyway. I mean, at the end of a word, /k/ and /g/ is the same.

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Postby Tomii515 » 2007-09-01, 20:39

Thanks. I've been practicing with Vietnamese friends recently... And I can't seem to put it in x-sampa... But, I can pronounce things. When I have the time, I'll try to write how I think it's pronounced
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Postby Tomii515 » 2007-09-01, 23:54

OK./...

These are NOT exact... just, the losest sound you can come to..

---

a = (N) 'a' in 'father', (S) 'a' in 'cat' (sometimes like 'ay')
ă = short 'a'
â = short 'ơ'
e = 'eah' in 'yeah'
ê = 'ay' in 'say' (sometimes like 'ây')
i = 'ee' in 'meet'
o = 'ou' in 'ought' (sometimes like 'au')
ô = 'o' in 'home' (sometimes like 'ao')
ơ = 'u' in 'sun'
u = 'oo' in 'moon'
ư = 'u' in 'put'
y = 'ee' in 'meet'

a = ngang (flat)
á = sắc (rising)
à = huyền (falling)
ả = hỏi (falling-rising)
ã = ngã (N) (high-rising-glottalized), (S) (falling-rising)
ạ = nặng (low-glottalized)

b = 'b' in 'bat'
c = 'k' in 'skip'
d = (N) 'z' in 'zipper', (S) 'y' in 'yes'
g = not in English... like a 'g' from the back of the throat
h = 'h' in 'hot'
k = 'k' in 'skip' (only before 'e, ê, i, y')
l = 'l' in 'love'
m = 'm' in 'mother'
n = 'n' in 'no'
p = 'p' in 'spot' (in in borrowed French words)
r = (N) 'z' in 'zipper', (S) Spanish 'rr' in 'arriba'
s = (N) 's' in 'some', (S) 's' in 'sure'
t = 't' in 'stop'
v = (N) 'v' in 'vine', (S) 'v' in 'vine' + 'y' in 'yes' OR 'y' in 'yes'
x = 's' in 'some'

ch = (N) 'ch' in 'cheese', (S) 'ch' in 'cheese' OR 'k' in 'skip' + 'y' in 'yes'
gh = not in English... like a 'g' from the back of the throat (only before 'e, ê, i, y')
gi = (N) 'z' in 'zipper', (S) 'y' in 'yes'
kh = Scottish 'ch' in 'loch'
ng = 'ng' in 'song'
ngh = 'ng' in 'song' (only before 'e, ê, i, y')
nh = 'ny' in 'canyon'
ph = 'f' in 'fog'
qu = (N) 'qu' in 'queen', (S) 'w' in 'water'
th = 't' in 'talk'
tr = (N) 'ch' in 'cheese', (S) 'tr' in 'train'

-c = 'k' in 'skip' (and the mouth ends like 'ng')
-ch = (N) 'k' in 'skip' (band the mouth end like 'ng'), (S) 't' in 'stop' (and the mouth ends like 'n') [but the vowel sounds different]
-m = 'm' in 'mother'
-n = 'n' in 'no'
-ng = 'ng' in 'song' (and the mouth ends like 'm')
-nh = (N) 'ng' in 'song' (and the mouth ends like 'm'), (S) 'n' in 'no' [but the vowel sounds different]
-p = 'p' in 'spot' (and the mouth ends like 'm')
-t = 't' in 'stop' (and the mouth ends like 'n')

---

OK... thats it :] I didn't do the triphthongs and diphthongs because there are too many! lol... But, I know them. So It's OK. And also let me know if all of them are right. I'm learning hanoi pronounciation, so I'm not too sure about the Saigon... But anyways... THESE ARE NOT EXACT! It's just close enough as I could get.
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Re: Vietnamese Pronunciation

Postby kman1 » 2009-04-24, 10:18

Last edited by kman1 on 2009-05-23, 9:31, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Vietnamese Pronunciation

Postby Tenebrarum » 2009-04-24, 14:42

kman1 wrote:me reading Lithuanian

Look buddy, you're doing too many languages at the same time that you forget which is which when you post. Isn't that a sign to stop? :wink:

kman1 wrote:what do you think?

Not intelligible, sorry. Phonemes are wrong and the tones are way off. I don't want to sound harsh but it would be a royal pain to tell what you've done wrong by words, because almost everything is incorrect. When I'm alone I will record myself reading that paragraph and maybe you can try to imitate later okay?
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Re: Vietnamese Pronunciation

Postby kman1 » 2009-05-09, 2:01

first off, i apologize for responding so late my computer went dead about 2 weeks ago and I just received it back today and I am immediately going through all my old messages and responding to them. Sorry about the delay.

Look buddy, you're doing too many languages at the same time that you forget which is which when you post. Isn't that a sign to stop? :wink:

Damn, I didn't even realize that mistake. I do apologize Draven. I didn't mean to slight Vietnamese in any way. :oops: that's embarrassing. Won't happen again, i hope.

When I'm alone I will record myself reading that paragraph and maybe you can try to imitate later okay?
Thank you, I'm grateful for any and all assistance that I can get. Thanks again. :)

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Re: Vietnamese Pronunciation

Postby kman1 » 2009-05-23, 10:09

draven, after listening to your recording of the Vietnamese text I read, i realize that I must have learned Vietnamese pronunciation incorrectly. I have been looking on Google for a good site that explains Vietnamese pronunciation in all aspects clearly and I can't find one. Do you know of a good site that accomplishes this?

I think what I could do is learn the list that "Tomii515" posted here in regards to basic vowels and consonant sounds. For dipthongs, do you think this site covers all of the dipthongs:
http://www.public.asu.edu/~ickpl/listen ... ctice.html
OR
http://www.seasite.niu.edu/Vietnamese/G ... system.htm
"hanoi vowels" section <- click there

thanks

ps - i'll add this to tomi's list:
Đ - ɗ
ø - silent

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Re: Vietnamese Pronunciation

Postby kman1 » 2009-05-23, 12:17

no worries, tomii515. I'll post the dipthongs and tripthongs here. :)

ai - aisle
ay - bite
ao - cacao
au - about
aê - hat
aâ - but
aâu - know
aây - my
ậy - but + see
eo - let + go
eâ - they
eáu - let + do
êu - let + do
ia - idea
iê - see - yellow
iệ - see
ieá - deal
iêu - see + you
ieâu - bet + yoyo
iờ - so
iu - bit + you
‘ò’ and ‘i’ are the same sounds see i.e. ñi & chò
oi - boy
oo - bought
oa - wallet
oay - why
oaê - so + wallet
oe - west
oâ - snow
oâi - boy
ôi - ought + see
ới - but
ua - do + 워 (kinda like what)
ui - buoy
uoâ - do + wen (Ilocano colloquial variant NOT standard)
uoâi - so + Wii
ueâ - suede
uaâ - won
uy - weep
uya - do + yesterday
uyeâ - do + west
uyu - west + do
uô - do + 워 (kinda like what)
ưa - 으 + father
ưi - 의 (으 + see)
ưô - 으 + ugly
ươ - butt + bar
ười - ought + see
ươi - butt + see
ưôi - but + see
ưôu - so + too
ượu - so
ươu - butt + so
yeâ - see + yellow
yeâu - see + you

i hope everything is correct. sorry for the Korean on some of them but i couldn't think of a better way to express the sounds...
Last edited by kman1 on 2009-05-23, 14:45, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Vietnamese Pronunciation

Postby kman1 » 2009-05-23, 14:24

also draven, i have a few questions about the recording of yourself reading the Vietnamese text on my podcast page.

1. Bài và hình

why do you pronounce ‘và’ & ‘hình’ with a ‘cut’ sound instead of ‘father’ for ‘và’ and ‘meet’ for ‘hình’?
2. giờ sáng

a. draven, you speak southern Vietnamese since here (sáng) you pronounce ‘s’ as ‘sure’ and ‘á’ as ‘cat’ instead of ‘some’ and ‘father’, right?
b. why do you pronounce ‘g’ as a ‘y’ here -> giờ ?
3. hạ gục

‘hạ’ here you pronounce ‘ạ’ as ‘how’, why? also, ‘gục’ here ‘g’ sounds like an American ‘g’ like ‘good’, why? I didn’t think American ‘g’ existed in Vietnamese.
4. Sáng dật

now here you pronounce the ‘s’ in ‘sáng’ as in northern Vietnamese ‘some’, why do you change the way you pronounce it here?
5. Hết xỉn liền

‘hết’ here you pronounce ‘ế’ as ‘cut’, why? also it sounds like the ‘t’ is silent here, why?


What dialect is most useful to learn in general. I live here in Hawai'i if you're wondering what kind of Vietnamese people are in my locale.

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Re: Vietnamese Pronunciation

Postby Kasuya » 2009-05-23, 14:26

kman1 wrote:draven, after listening to your recording of the Vietnamese text I read, i realize that I must have learned Vietnamese pronunciation incorrectly. I have been looking on Google for a good site that explains Vietnamese pronunciation in all aspects clearly and I can't find one. Do you know of a good site that accomplishes this?


If you know Japanese, this will do the trick. Not that it will be enough though.

http://www.coelang.tufs.ac.jp/modules/vi/

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Re: Vietnamese Pronunciation

Postby kman1 » 2009-05-23, 14:56

@lichtrausch - awesome link! I believe I can navigate that site ok with my "intermediate" Japanese but only because of my advanced Korean and a japanese dictionary. :)

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Re: Vietnamese Pronunciation

Postby kman1 » 2009-05-23, 16:01

Also, I just re-recorded the Vietnamese reading. please let me know of any errors I need to remedy or concepts or whatever. I hope this one is better. :)
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Re: Vietnamese Pronunciation

Postby ILuvEire » 2009-05-23, 17:52

Coupla things:
1) Your NHs are pronounced like NGs.
2) Some of your initial NGs sound like Gs.
3) Work on the Ð.
4) V is pronounced like a Y usually, AFAIK.
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Re: Vietnamese Pronunciation

Postby JackFrost » 2009-05-23, 20:24

ILuvEire wrote:Coupla things:
1) Your NHs are pronounced like NGs.
2) Some of your initial NGs sound like Gs.
3) Work on the Ð.
4) V is pronounced like a Y usually, AFAIK.

Final nh's are like ng's however. "Minh" would be [mɪŋ].
The v being like /j/ is a Southern pronunciation. It's /v/ if you want to aim for the Northern sounds. Either way is ok.
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Re: Vietnamese Pronunciation

Postby kman1 » 2009-05-24, 0:34

1) Your NHs are pronounced like NGs.

Final nh's are like ng's however. "Minh" would be [mɪŋ].

this is confusing.... I'm not sure who's right. :hmm:

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Re: Vietnamese Pronunciation

Postby Tenebrarum » 2009-05-24, 6:32

kman1 wrote:1. why do you pronounce ‘và’ & ‘hình’ with a ‘cut’ sound instead of ‘father’ for ‘và’ and ‘meet’ for ‘hình’?
2. 'giờ sáng' - a.) draven, you speak southern Vietnamese since here (sáng) you pronounce ‘s’ as ‘sure’ and ‘á’ as ‘cat’ instead of ‘some’ and ‘father’, right? b.) why do you pronounce ‘g’ as a ‘y’ here -> giờ ?
3. 'hạ gục' - a.) ‘hạ’ here you pronounce ‘ạ’ as ‘how’, why? b.) also, ‘gục’ here ‘g’ sounds like an American ‘g’ like ‘good’, why? I didn’t think American ‘g’ existed in Vietnamese.
4. 'Sáng dậy' - now here you pronounce the ‘s’ in ‘sáng’ as in northern Vietnamese ‘some’, why do you change the way you pronounce it here?
5. a.) ‘hết’ here you pronounce ‘ế’ as ‘cut’, why? b.) also it sounds like the ‘t’ is silent here, why?

1. I'm sure that my vowels in ‘và’ and ‘hình’ are not the same. Southerners tend to push their vowels back, so A should be /ɑ/. If it sounds like /ʌ/ to you then I must haven't opened my mouth wide enough. (Mind you that despite all the minor deviants, no one would misheard me in real life - it's all relativity). I read the paragraph casually and didn't strive for standards whatsoever. For the I in ‘hình’ see below.
2. a) About the S, yes. About the A, again, it should be /ɑ/. If it sounds like /æ/ to you, well, read the above. b) GI is /z/ in the North and /j/ in the South. As is D.
3. a) Near the end of ‘hạ’ I must have rounded my lips to get ready for the U in ‘gục’. I'm surprised you would pick that up - I wasn't even aware of it. b) G can be either /ɣ/ or /g/. It's not that hard to subconsciously oscillate between the two. If our /g/ ever comes up it's very soft though, almost /ɣ/-like. A hard, clear-cut English /g/ will be realized as /k/, since our /k/ is not aspirated.
4. My S is not consistent, sorry. I know this is clichéd, but my parents are to blame. :ohwell:
5. a) Refer to 1). If so, in my speech it must be /ɘ/ or /ɜ/ or even /ə/ - I have no clue, but I know it's not as far back as /ʌ/. b) The T is not "silent", it's "unreleased". All three stop codas in Vietnamese are unreleased. There are some nitpickers saying they're nasally and faintly released blah blah blah... Yeah right.

JackFrost wrote:Final nh's are like ng's however. "Minh" would be [mɪŋ].

It would be, if you're a Northerner. If you're from the South however, it's /n/ and it shortens the preceding vowel. (Looks like I said this quite a few times before).
Paralleling word-final NH is word-final CH, which is /k/ in the North and vowel-shortening /t/ in the South. So the I in ‘hình’ and ‘minh’ can be /ɪ/ or /ɨ/.

JackFrost wrote:The v being like /j/ is a Southern pronunciation. It's /v/ if you want to aim for the Northern sounds. Either way is ok.

The value of V is also not consistent in my idiolect. My Vs in basic words (conjunctions) are /j/, while in less frequently used words it's /v/.

kman1 wrote:What dialect is most useful to learn in general. I live here in Hawai'i if you're wondering what kind of Vietnamese people are in my locale.

If Hawaiian Viets are descendants of 1975 boat people then most of them should speak the dialect of Saigon. I say "most" since among the refugees there must have been Northern speakers (most likely Christians) who lived in or around the city prior to the communist takeover.

kman1 wrote:Also, I just re-recorded the Vietnamese reading. please let me know of any errors I need to remedy or concepts or whatever. I hope this one is better.

Your Vietnamese now lean towards Southern dialects after you listened to my voiceclip. It's still super uncanny, particularly the tones. The whole thing is exactly what we call "Ông Tây bập bẹ tiếng Việt" - "Western man stammer[ing] Vietnamese". That is, when Westerners try to say Vietnamese words, it comes out child-like and painful. The very, very few that speak Vietnamese perfectly make our jaws drop. Everytime they speak.
I believe this matter is indeed as horrible as it sounds. Western people who speak Vietnamese fluently and naturally are the result of long and total immersion - they have been living in Vietnam for at least 7 or 8 years. So the only advice I can think of is to try listening to the language as much as possible, or otherwise drop it entirely, as Vietnamese is not that rewarding.

On a more specific and constructive note, you have to close your lips after -ông (as in công tử), -ong, -ung, -ôc, -oc and -uc, so that /ŋ/ and /k/ become /ŋm/ and /kp/. For more information please read the post of a younger and more enthusiastic me earlier in this very thread.
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Re: Vietnamese Pronunciation

Postby JackFrost » 2009-05-24, 7:17

EDIT: Draven already beat me. I spent an hour typing this up and making my cute little charts. ;)

Whoops, it should be [mɪn] (with the vowel as in American English "bit"). I should've said it's the Southern way. To get the word-initial "nh", just say "onion". It's a palatal nasal sound, so you gotta put the tongue almost against the hard palate. It's exactly like Spanish "ñ" or French "gn". In the North, it's always palatal nasal in either position ([ɲ]).

A few word-initial sounds are different from word-final ones. A little history, the Vietnamese alphabet is based on Portuguese from the 17th century and since then, the language has evolved. The spelling remained the same, ignoring the phonological evolution.

I can help you. I have a Word document explaining the pronunciation (the Southern variety only) with Draven confirming the accuracy. Why don't you tell me which dialect do you wish to aim for? The Northern variety? Or the Southern variety? Neither really dominates over each other and they're mutually intelligible. However, you live outside Vietnam, so you'd be more likely to hear the Southern variety because the large number of Vietnamese immigrants are from the South. I may not get what you're trying to achieve, but this is Unilang, so learning languages is also a hobby where we have fun. No need to ruin that.

i realize that I must have learned Vietnamese pronunciation incorrectly.

Actually, you probably haven't. Draven is from Saigon and is a native speaker of the Vietnamese southern dialect. The two links you showed us is based on the Hanoi variety.

Keywords: N = North and S = South. I'm using North American English vowels as examples alongside with the IPA since I know you don't like IPA. ;)

a. draven, you speak southern Vietnamese since here (sáng) you pronounce ‘s’ as ‘sure’ and ‘á’ as ‘cat’ instead of ‘some’ and ‘father’, right?
b. why do you pronounce ‘g’ as a ‘y’ here -> giờ ?

In Southern Vietnamese, "s" would be as in "she" or "sure" [ʃ]. The [s] as in "sit" would be written as "x". In the North, the "she" sound [ʃ] doesn't really exist. Therefore: "xa" and "số" would be [sa:] "sa" and [so] "so" in Hanoi and [sɑː] "sa" and [ʃo] "sho" in Saigon.

"Giờ" = [j] as in "yes" in Saigon and [z] as in "zoo" in Hanoi. That's the difference for the "gi" in both regions. "G/gh" is either [ɣ] (fricative variant of "g", like the Dutch g) or [g] (English "g") in both regions.

The rest, I cannot explain. It could be the microphone or something else I haven't learnt before. ;)

What dialect is most useful to learn in general. I live here in Hawai'i if you're wondering what kind of Vietnamese people are in my locale.

As I mentioned, you'll have more chances encountering the Southern Vietnamese. Here in Montreal, out of ten Vietnamese, I'd say one or two would be from the North.

Then the tones. I made a quick chart that give you an idea. I'm using a scale of 1-5 with 1 being the low pitch, 3 being the mid-level pitch, and 5 being the high pitch. I split it into three, which means the time length it could take to do the tones. This is only a rough summary and no mean to be perfect.

The Northern tones. Note that ? means a glottal stop.
Image

The Southern tones. Note that hoi and nga are merged.
Image
Last edited by JackFrost on 2009-05-25, 12:05, edited 3 times in total.
Neferuj paħujkij!


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