Vietnamese is the official and national language of Vietnam, however, its rich tradition has resulted in the country becoming home to 110 officially recognized languages and dialects spoken all over the country. Vietnamese is spoken by 75 million people as their native language. It is a language that belongs to the Austro-Asiatic family which is further divided into three dialects: northern (spoken in and around Hanoi), central (Hue) and southern (Ho Chi Minh City). Vietnamese borrows heavily from Chinese and English, and is written using the Latin alphabet.

Aside from Vietnamese, minority languages spoken in Vietnam include Tay, Muong, Cham, Khmer, Nung and Hmong.

Tay is a minority language spoken by 1.7 million Vietnamese people, most of which hail from northeastern Vietnam. The Tay ethnic group from the northeastern Vietnam  is mainly comprised of farmers who cultivate rice and create handicraft items. Tay is divided into several regional dialects, all of which slightly vary from one another.

Muong is a mountainous language which comes from the Austroasiatic group of languages. It is spoken by the Muong ethnic group of Vietnam and largely concentrated in the tribal households in Vietnam’s mountainous regions. It is very similar to Vietnamese, with the only difference being the lack of Chinese influence on the Muong language as opposed to Vietnamese.

Cham is a historic language of Vietnamese royalty which was spoken in the Kingdom of Champa in central Vietnam. It belongs to the Malayo-Polynesian branch of the Austronesian family of languages and is recognized as the oldest-attested Austronesian language. Cham is spoken by nearly 80,000 people in Vietnam and is divided into two primary dialects: Western and Eastern.

Khmer is the official language of Cambodia but is also spoken in the Mekong Delta and Saigon regions of Vietnam.

Nung is a Tai-Kadai language spoken in the north of the country, especially in the provinces of Lang Son and Cao Bang. It is spoken by 969,000 people, primarily by the Nung ethnic group. Nung has a number of varieties, with Nuang Phan Slinh being the most popular variant.

Hmong is a member of the Hmong-Mien family of languages, which is mainly spoken in northern parts of Vietnam. Hmong is grouped into the Laotian varieties, which include Hmong Daw and Mong Njua, Sinicized Miao, which includes Hmong Shua, and the Vietnamese varieties Hmong Do and Hmong Don. The various dialects are generally mutually intelligible, but they differ in pronunciation and the extent of Chinese influence.


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