Can You Hear It Now?

Published June 1, 2015 in Episode 6

If you have ever heard Vietnamese people speak, you might have noticed the melodic sing-song in their voice, even if you can't clearly distinguish the distinct tones in their repertoire.

The Vietnamese language boasts six tones altogether: Five of them are represented by a diacritical mark and there is a neutral tone without marks. Each tone will give a word, spelled with the same letters, an entirely different meaning.

There is the sắc tone, the huyền tone, the nặng tone, the hỏi tone and finally the ngã tone.

Vietnamese language instructor Huỳnh Công Nhẫn likens the tone to the soul of the word, while the letters form its body. In this Vietnamism, he sounds out each tone for Loa's Giang Nguyẽn.

And we get Kourtney Kardashian’s help with one particular tone. The nặng tone sounds very much like “vocal fry"!

See if you can hear the difference!