Pronouncing brand names and other foreign words in Vietnamese

As Vietnamese is a monosyllabic language with different sounds and without consonant clusters, brand names and other foreign words can be pronounced very differently.

Words like passport and visa should generally be understood if you pronounce them as they are. Some brands such as Nokia or Coca-Cola sound more or less the same. Many Korean and Japanese brands are also pronounced similarly, like Samsung and Yamaha.

There are however some foreign words so different that you may face communication problems. The differences are best explained through examples, so let’s take a look at some common ones.

If you ever find yourself laptop shopping, prepare for confusion between these two brands. Both often referred to as a-sờ, or sometimes a-si for Asus, but either you or the sales assistant will confuse them at some point!

If you ever find yourself laptop shopping, prepare for confusion between these two brands. Both often referred to as a-sờ, or sometimes a-si for Asus, but either you or the sales assistant will confuse them at some point!

Over to you: Have you had problems pronouncing foreign words in Vietnamese? Have you got any more examples to add to this list?

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  1. Katherine

    This was a really interesting post on a topic that you’ll never find in a textbook : ) For me the biggest difference was “LG” to “el-ri”.

    I’ve noticed this issue in Russian too… instead of the “Nike-E” brand, it’s “Nike” (rhymes with “like”). What does it sound like in Vietnamese?

  2. Katherine

    Wow, that was like a double dose of learning: Vietnamese and British English, cool! : ) It wasn’t so long ago that I figured out the double pronunciations of “schedule”… had no idea that Nike was also said differently!

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