Vietnamese, which is spoken by more than 75 million people worldwide, is part of the Mon–Khmer branch of the Austroasiatic language family and features three main dialects, Northern, Central, and Southern. Vietnamese has been strongly influenced by Chinese, with over 60% of words being of Chinese origin. Like Chinese, Vietnamese is a tonal language (with 6 tones), meaning that the tone of a word changes its meaning. Vietnamese used the Chinese script through the 17th century when it adopted the Latin script. Vietnamese is the official language of Vietnam and is among 14 languages recognized as a minority language in the Czech Republic.
Free Resources to Learn Vietnamese
Free Learning/Studying Apps
Duolingo – iTunes – Google Play – Duolingo has become a leader in the language learning world and for good reason. It’s fast, fun, well designed, suitable for all ages, and turns learning a foreign language into a challenging and pretty addictive game.
Tinycards – iTunes – Google Play – Tinycards is a free flashcards app, from the creators of Duolingo, which uses spaced repetition and nicely designed “decks” to help you learn anything, including foreign languages. Tinycards uses gamification, like Duolingo, which makes it fun and easy to use.
Drops – Learn Vietnamese – iTunes – Google Play – This simple but powerful app is entertaining, educational, and free. With a focus on visual learning and 5-minute lesson limits, this app is easy to integrate into your daily language learning regimen and is very effective.
Clozemaster – iTunes – Google Play – This popular app uses gamification and is a great addition to your language learning regimen, no matter what your level. It is very effective for vocabulary acquisition and billed as a great app to use after Duolingo.
Learn Vietnamese by 50 Languages – iTunes – Google Play – This app is great for beginners (A1-A2) to increase practical vocabulary which is useful for managing everyday situations (at a store, restaurant, bank, doctor, etc). With the free version, you will have access to 30 complete lessons.
Learn Vietnamese Phrasebook – iTunes – Google Play – This useful app will help you learn Vietnamese words and sentences with recordings made by native speakers. The free version has 200+ practical phrases.
Simply Learn Vietnamese – iTunes – Google Play – This app will teach you over 300 common Vietnamese words and phrases using images and high-quality audio recordings by a native speaker from Vietnam. Spaced repetition is used for better vocabulary retention. You can track your progress, take quizzes, and save words and phrases to a favorites list. The free version covers phrases and vocabulary for the following topics which are essential when visiting Vietnam: Numbers, Time and Date, Basic Conversation, Greetings, Getting Directions, Eating at Restaurants, Sightseeing, Shopping, Emergency, and Accommodations.
Beginner Vietnamese – Google Play – This app is based on the “learn a word a day” concept and uses a simple and direct approach to teaching Vietnamese to beginners.
Start From Zero Vietnamese – Google Play – This app will boost your vocabulary skills by helping you learn thousands of the most commonly used Vietnamese words and phrases. It also offers quiz and flashcard functionality to test your progress.
Learn 10,000 Vietnamese Words and Phrases – iTunes – Google Play – Although this app won’t help you learn grammar, it will teach you a ton of vocabulary. The Vietnamese language lessons include 10,000 key words and phrases for all levels Beginner A1 (500 words), Elementary A2 (501-1250), Lower Intermediate B1 (1251-2250), Upper Intermediate B2 (2251-3500) and Advanced C1 (3501-5000).
Learn Vietnamese with WordPower – iTunes – Google Play – WordPower is another app that relies heavily on the “freemium” model, but the free version will teach you 100 of the most common Vietnamese words and phrases.
HelloTalk – iTunes – Google Play – HelloTalk is a global language learning social network that connects you with native speakers of other languages so that you can practice your speaking and listening skills with native speakers via text/audio messages and free audio and video calls. The free version allows you to choose one native language and one target language.
Learn the Vietnamese Language – Google Play – This fun learning app teaches users how to understand, speak, and read in Vietnamese. It works offline and features audio by native Vietnamese speakers.
Tandem Language Exchange – iTunes – Google Play – This app matches you with language exchange partners from all over the world, providing the opportunity to practice those essential conversation skills that are necessary to take your language skills to the next level.
Free Vietnamese Dictionary/Translation Apps
Vietnamese English Dictionary & Translator – iTunes – Google Play – This free app works offline and provides detailed definitions, example sentences and pronunciation guidance for Vietnamese & English words, as well as flashcards for learning.
Google Translate – iTunes – Google Play – Google Translate offers online text translation between 103 languages by typing, offline translation for 59 languages, camera translation for 38 languages, image translation for 37 languages, conversation translation in 32 languages, and translation of handwritten characters in 93 languages. The app also has a phrasebook which allows you to save translated words and phrases for future reference in all languages.
iTranslate – iTunes – Google Play – iTranslate is a leading free translator and dictionary app that provides translations for text in over 100 languages. Other functionality includes transliteration, sharing, favorites, history, and audio in both male and female voices. Voice to voice translations and the use of offline mode is not available with the free version.
Klays-Development Vietnamese-English Translator – Google Play – This free app translates words and complete sentences instantly. It features a favorites list, history, voice input, and a user-friendly interface.
The Apps Castle Vietnamese English Translator – Google Play – This Vietnamese English translation and dictionary app can be used offline and has built-in audio.
Learn Vietnamese With Annie – YouTube – Annie is a devoted teacher who focuses on developing materials for learning Vietnamese and offers lessons via video and podcast. Her lessons, which focus on the Southern Vietnamese dialect, have garnered rave reviews and are considered top-notch among Vietnamese learning materials. Vietnamese Pronunciation, Vietnamese Lessons, and Slang and Idioms are some popular playlists, to name a few.
Learn Vietnamese with VietnamesePod101.com – This is a fun and helpful set of videos to add to your regular Vietnamese language learning regimen.
Easy Vietnamese – These YouTube videos are the work of a non-profit project which uses lighthearted street interviews as a method to teach languages. Each video has a topic and the host asks questions to native Vietnamese speakers on the street based on the theme. Each video contains subtitles in both Vietnamese and English.
LangMedia – LangMedia provides language learning resources, including videos, audio, study guides, etc. LangMedia is run by the Five College Center for the Study of World Languages and their mission is to share examples of linguistic and cultural diversity with language learners. The Vietnamese “CultureTalk” section of the LangMedia website features video interviews with people of different ages and backgrounds. The interviews are primarily conducted by students and translations and transcripts are provided.
More Vietnamese – YouTube – This YouTube channel features a number of useful playlists like Vietnamese for Expats, Vietnamese for Travelers, Vietnamese Elementary Listening Practice and Vietnamese Intermediate Listening Practice.
Southern Vietnamese For Foreigners – YouTube – Phi, an experienced and trained Vietnamese teacher and native speaker offers useful videos which are primarily focused on helping students to master the Southern Vietnamese accent.
Learn Vietnamese – YouTube – This playlist contains 15 videos which introduce the basics to absolute beginners.
Tieng Viet Oi Vietnamese Lessons – YouTube – This channel offers a wide variety of Vietnamese lessons, ranging from beginner and elementary to intermediate and advanced.
Vina Villa – YouTube – 42 short videos focusing entirely on pronunciation.
123Vietnamese – YouTube – 123 Vietnamese is a for-profit language school that offers a nice collection of free video lessons. Study Vietnamese with Kathy, Vietnamese Course for Beginners and Common Vietnamese Phrases are all useful playlists.
Learn Vietnamese with VietnamesePod101.com – iTunes – This is a fun and informative podcast to add to your regular Vietnamese language learning regimen. Every lesson is free for a period of time; each new audio and video lesson (3-5 lessons are published per week) is free to access for 3 weeks before being locked into their library, which can be accessed only with paid membership.
Vocabulearn Vietnamese Part 1 – Spotify – This free program on Spotify is approximately three hours long and teaches more than 2500 vocabulary words and useful phrases.
Vietnamese SurvivalPhrases – iTunes – These fun and innovative audio lessons teach basic North Vietnamese and are accompanied by PDF guides.
Learn Vietnamese by Complete Language Lessons – Spotify – 15 free Vietnamese lessons on Spotify.
Colloquial Vietnamese: The Complete Course for Beginners Book – This collection of audio files, each a few minutes in length, provides concise and clear Vietnamese language instruction for beginners. These free audio lessons were made to accompany the Colloquial Vietnamese: The Complete Course for Beginners textbooks, which is aimed at teaching Vietnamese to beginners in a practical way to prepare them to effectively communicate with confidence in everyday situations.
Vietnamese 4 Everyone Podcast – iTunes – This podcast offers 6 beginner lessons.
Foreign Service Institute (FSI) Vietnamese Basic Course – The Foreign Service Institute (U.S. Department of State) originally created this and many other language learning courses to train government employees and members of the foreign service in preparation for a post abroad. This course was designed to train participants to speak Vietnamese naturally with native speakers while exuding confidence and using an accurate accent. It focuses heavily on pronunciation and preparing students for real-life conversations. 15 units are encompassed over the two volumes and include textbooks in PDF format and audio lessons as MP3s.
- FSI Vietnamese Basic Course Volume 1 – This course is accompanied by an e-textbook with 390 pages and 37 audio files with a running time of 14 hours and 37 minutes.
- FSI Vietnamese Basic Course Volume 2 – This course is accompanied by an e-textbook with 325 pages and 18 audio files with a running time of 7 hours and 31 minutes.
Foreign Service Institute (FSI) Vietnamese Familiarization Course – The Foreign Service Institute (U.S. Department of State) originally created this and many other language learning courses to train government employees and members of the foreign service in preparation for a post abroad. This course provides an introduction to South Vietnamese over 12 units and includes a textbook in PDF format with 247 pages.
Defense Language Institute (DLI) Vietnamese Phonology Course – This free Vietnamese course focuses on teaching students how to understand, speak and read Vietnamese. This course is accompanied by 1 e-textbook in PDF format with 62 pages in total and 5 audio files in MP3 format with a running time of 2 hours and 48 minutes.
Defense Language Institute (DLI) Vietnamese Basic Course – This free Vietnamese course focuses on teaching students how to understand, speak and read Vietnamese. This course is accompanied by 10 e-textbooks in PDF format with 2276 pages in total and 50 audio files in MP3 format with a running time of 35 hours and 49 minutes.
Learn Vietnamese Common Phrases Course on Udemy – Over the course of 44 lessons, students will learn basic Vietnamese vocabulary which is very useful in navigating everyday life situations.
Learn101 – This website features free beginner lessons to guide you through learning Vietnamese, step by step, starting with the Alphabet, moving on to grammar, vocabulary, and phrases, and finally offering simple quizzes to test your progress. These lessons are a basic introduction to the language and have images, text, and audio.
Ilanguages – This site is designed to teach Vietnamese with free vocabulary, phrases, grammar, and flashcards while focusing on highly used words and phrases necessary for everyday living.
Omniglot – This site specializes in providing information about languages and their alphabets and writing systems.
Digital Dialects – This website makes learning vocabulary fun with interactive games.
Hello World – Hello World has created hundreds of free language learning games and activities that cater to the way children learn best. The goal is to teach languages using cognitive immersion and to keep the process fun in order to increase learning potential. Approximately 1,300 vocabulary words are introduced over 70 different categories.
Goethe Verlag – This website offers 100 Vietnamese lessons for beginners, each with words, phrases and corresponding audio files.
Loecsen – Loecson offers a free mini-course consisting of fun lessons that provide a basic introduction to Vietnamese with the help of text, audio, simple illustrations, and quizzes to test your progress. You will learn high-frequency vocabulary words and commonly used phrases relating to 17 themes which are relevant to everyday life.
Defense Language Institute Foreign Language Center Vietnamese Tutorial – This Language Survival Kit Module for Vietnamese contains basic vocabulary with audio. Both the audio files and the PDF text can be downloaded.
I Love Languages Vietnamese Lessons – This site provides 17 beginner Vietnamese lessons designed to help you improve your speaking, reading, and writing skills. Supplementary resources include vocabulary, grammar tips, and phrases.
LingvoSoft Vietnamese Phrasebook – This site offers a basic phrasebook format with text and audio to help you learn essential Vietnamese vocabulary.
SEAsite – These free interactive Vietnamese learning resources were created by Northern Illinois University and the project was funded by The U.S. Department of Education and The U.S. Department of Defense. The website has a number of sections worth checking out: Lessons for Learning Vietnamese, A Guide to Pronunciation, a Quick Vietnamese Tutorial and more.
Learning Vietnamese – Although much of the content is reserved for paying members, this website offers some basic lessons and content for free.
A Glimpse of Vietnam – This Vietnamese learning program was created by Arizona State University professor Lê Phạm Thuý-Kim with funding by the University of Minnesota and sponsorship from Yale University, University of Wisconsin-Madison, and Arizona State University. It is an online program that provides viewing and listening activities for students learning the Vietnamese language. The program caters to three levels of students: High Beginner, Low-Intermediate, and Intermediate Level. students can find instructions on how to use the program here.
Vietnamese Idiomatic Expressions and Slangs – This learning program was created by Arizona State University professor Lê Phạm Thuý-Kim and it provides an introduction to Vietnamese idioms and slang with definitions and usage examples.
Online Vietnamese Reading Program – This reading program with exercises was created by Arizona State University professor Lê Phạm Thuý-Kim for intermediate and advanced Vietnamese learners.
Learn Vietnamese Through Songs – This Online program that helps students to learn Vietnamese through songs developed by Arizona State professor Lê Phạm Thuý-Kim.
Online Review Activities – These review activities, including vocabulary, grammar, and communicative exercises for the elementary and intermediate levels with audio files, correspond to the Let’s Speak Vietnamese textbook by Arizona State University professor Lê Phạm Thuý-Kim.
Bài tập tiếng Viêt Online – The Center for Applied Linguistics and Vietnamese Language (CALV) of the Faculty of Linguistics created these exercises to help students practice Vietnamese and test their proficiency levels. The exercises focus on four main skills: acquiring vocabulary, comprehension, listening and writing skills and range in difficulty, starting at beginner level.
Elementary Vietnamese Grammar – This site offers 30 Vietnamese Grammar exercises.
English-Vietnamese Vocabulary Quizzes – Test your knowledge of Vietnamese vocabulary with these fun and simple quizzes.
Virtual Vietnamese Keyboard – This online keyboard allows you to type in Vietnamese.
Vietnamese Conversation – This blog is devoted to teaching Southern Vietnamese for free with lots of helpful articles at the beginner, intermediate and advanced levels.
Tieng Viet Online – This online program is tailored for foreigners who want to learn Vietnamese and is hosted by the Ministry of Education and Training as part of the “Support for Teaching and Learning Vietnamese for Overseas Vietnamese” project. It is based on the content of two textbooks: Tiếng Việt Vui (Interesting Vietnamese) and Quê Việt (Homeland Vietnam). Lessons for each book are broken down by Beginner, Intermediate, and Advanced levels and include audio clips and illustrations. Students can practice listening, reading and writing skills and track their progress with tests. Lessons, tutorials, and exercises can all be downloaded.
Lang-8 – This free network is a nice tool to support your language learning. Native speakers are available to make corrections to your text and provide feedback. In return, you provide help to others.
HiNative – iTunes – Google Play – HiNative is an app brought to you by the creators of Lang-8 that allows you to ask questions to native speakers from around the world using your smartphone. HiNative was created to be used alongside Lang-8 and is different from Lang-8 in that it focuses on a Q&A type of learning while Lang-8 is a journal writing experience.
RhinoSpike – RhinoSpike is an interesting website that connects language learners from all over the world allowing them to exchange audio files to help improve pronunciation skills. It allows you to submit text that you would like to hear read aloud by a native speaker, and in turn, you receive the audio file. In exchange, and to speed up the process you can, in turn, provide audio files in your native language for other learners.
MyLanguageExchange.com – This online language learning community connects you with other learners so that you can practice speaking in your second language with a native speaker and vice-versa.
Italki – A community of over 2 million language learners that facilitates free language practice with native speakers. You simply exchange time teaching your native language for time learning a foreign language, making it mutually beneficial and free.
BBC – The British Broadcasting Company provides news in Vietnamese.
Google News – Read the world news in Vietnamese with Google News.
SBS Radio Vietnamese Program – iTunes – SBS is an Australian broadcasting company that targets non-native English speakers and creates programming in many languages. This podcast allows you to listen to interviews, features and community stories from the SBS Radio Vietnamese program, including Australian and world news.
VOA News – Voice of America is an American broadcasting company that creates radio and television news in Vietnamese.
Radio Free Asia News for Vietnam – RFA is dedicated to providing reliable and responsible news reporting for countries where accurate and complete news reports are not available. They offer news for China, Tibet, North Korea, Vietnam, Cambodia, Laos, and Burma, always in local languages and dialects.
Australia Plus – Australia Plus is an International news service brought to you by the Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC) which offers Australian news in Chinese, Vietnamese, Bahasa Indonesian, English and Tok Pisin.
The Voice of Vietnam Radio Station – This national Vietnamese radio station targets Vietnamese citizens living abroad as well as foreigners around the world and is broadcast in 12 foreign languages.
Forvo – This crowd-sourced site is a great tool to help with pronunciation as it allows you to listen to words and phrases spoken by native speakers.
Bab.La – This “language portal” boasts 44 dictionaries for 28 languages, as well as a wealth of other language learning resources, such as helpful articles, games and quizzes, verb conjugations and phrase books.
Tatoeba – Tatoeba is a large, crowdsourced database of sentences and translations. This free resource allows you to search for a word and get results showing that word in sentences with translations.
Talkify – This free, multilingual website is a very interesting and valuable resource that allows you to listen to text in foreign languages. Simply insert a URL into the search field on Talkify and it will automatically detect the language and read the text of that website aloud in a natural sounding voice.
Cambridge Online Dictionary – Here you can access the online version of the popular Cambridge Dictionary.
VnDic.Net – VnDic.net is a smart Vietnamese dictionary with includes illustrations and audio pronunciation.
Vdict – This free online dictionary offers results in English, Vietnamese and French.
Tiếng Việt Vui – The title of this textbook translates to “Interesting Vietnamese” in English. The book is tailored to children and is divided into 6 sections which include lessons, audio, and illustrations. All of the content can be downloaded.
Quê Việt – The title of this textbook translates to “Homeland Vietnam” in English. The book is tailored to adults and is divided into 6 sections which include lessons, audio, and illustrations. All of the content can be downloaded.
What Are Your Favorite Free Vietnamese Language Learning Resources?
We have done a lot of research to bring you the best, free resources that the internet has to offer and we want to make sure our list is always comprehensive. Please share your favorites in the comments below.