About

Welcome to More Vietnamese!

You dream of speaking Vietnamese and being understood. But you spend your time learning yet you don’t make any progress. Or perhaps you don’t even know where to start. After all, you took high school Spanish and look where that got you.

Let me help you achieve that dream.

Hi! I’m Elisabeth Thảo, a language teacher and learner. While I enjoyed languages as school, I followed a different path at university. Then I moved to Vietnam in 2011 to teach English, immerse myself in Vietnamese culture, and learn Vietnamese.

What’s next?

To get better at a language you need practice – practice speaking of course but also listening, reading and writing. To help you out, we’ve created the most comprehensive list of Vietnamese resources and our regular blog posts help you to optimise your approach to learning.

Get started!

Just Vietnamese?

This blog is for anyone interested in learning languages, no matter what level you’re at. We write about both general language learning tips and techniques, and those specific to learning Vietnamese.

About Elisabeth (Thảo)

Elisabeth Thảo in Tây Ninh

My English name is not ideal for the Vietnamese
tongue – you can call me Elisabeth or follow my Vietnamese friends and call me Thảo. The th- is pronounced as an English ‘t’ and the name rhymes with ‘how?’.

I first moved to Vietnam in 2011 and taught English there for 2 years. In 2014 I moved back to Vietnam for a second time, where I lived until early 2016. My Vietnamese is some kind of intermediate level.

My articles stem not only from my experience learning Vietnamese, but I also draw on my experience learning other languages in the past and present as well as my 10 years of teaching experience.

In my ten year career as a language teacher I have helped hundreds of learners improve their confidence and study methods. I love helping people learn languages so much that I also train teachers.

A quick language history

  • Several years ago I studied French quite extensively (to UK A-level, said to be around B2).
  • I’ve dabbled with Esperanto, particularly in 2009 and 2012/3.
  • I started learning Vietnamese in 2011.
  • I studied some Korean on and off in 2013/4.
  • I spent about a year working on Bulgarian (but only 6 months actively) in 2016/7.
  • In 2017 I dabbled in Spanish.
  • In 2018 I started learning Russian, which I’m continuing with to this day.

When I travel I like to learn the basics of the language where I’m travelling.

Where else do you write or give interviews?

Why did you start this site?

I studied Vietnamese on and off while living in Ho Chi Minh City (aka Saigon) and the second attempt, once I was able to look beyond tones, I discovered a love for the language. The way that many words are formed is so simple and poetic. For example, the ^ accent literally being the northern word for hat: . (How can you not love a language that does that!)

As it’s not a very commonly learned language I struggled to find resources for the middle levels – beyond basic survival language but not yet able to read magazines or listen to the news.

I also grew tired of hearing people say it’s so hard! Sadly there isn’t much positive stuff online about learning Vietnamese. While you’re not going to become fluent overnight, it is possible to learn Vietnamese!

As scientist Thomas Edison once said:

Of the 200 light bulbs that didn’t work, every failure told me something that I was able to incorporate into the next attempt.

Every failed technique, every misuse of a word that made a native speaker laugh…they each take us one step closer to our goal.

With a little time and effort I believe you and I can do it.

I hope you’ll join us on your journey. But most of all, good luck!

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If you have anything you’d like to see featured on the blog, please get in touch! I’m always interested in input from readers and/or articles from different perspectives (write a guest post?). (And of course more interviewees!) I want this website to be useful to everyone learning Vietnamese.

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