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Vietnamese Transcription VIQR

This information in this page was originally part of CJKV Numerals from this site.

Vietnamese sounds and tones are written in the VIetnamese Quotable Readable (VIQR) form using ASCII keyboard characters (some information about this standard used here, can be found at

Vietnamese Alphabet

There are 40 basic characters in Vietnamese,

a a( a^ b c ch d dd e e^ g gh gi h i k kh l m n ng ngh nh o o^ o+ p q ph qu r s t th tr u u+ v x y

Of these, some have diacritics [a( a^ e^ o^ o+ u+] and others are digraphs [ch gh gi kh ng ngh nh ph qu th] and one special characters [dd].

The following letters are not found on the QWERTY keyboard so under ASCII, existing characters are modified to represent them. This modification is given in blue.

Other Vietnamese Symbols
a^e^o^a, e, and o with a circumflex ^ on top
o+u+o and u with a spout
a(a with a croissant on top, horns pointing up
ddonly one letter d with a horizontal bar across the stem

The order of the characters above also indicates the order they appear in the Vietnamese romanised dictionaries.


There are six tones in Standard Vietnamese based on the southern dialect. They are coloured in red in the table below.

Vietnamese Tones
MarkingNguyen's V. DictionaryV. termRough Guide to VietnameseYHCD
Mid Level Tone/55/
a'High Risingsa('cHigh Rising Tone/35/
a`Low Fallinghuye^`nLow Falling Tone/11/
a?Low Risingho?iLow Rising Tone/214/
a~High Rising Brokennga~High Broken Tone/135/
a.Low Constrictedna(.ngLow Broken Tone/11/

The diagram below shows the approximate way the tone varies. N.B. they are not in the order shown in the table above. The descriptions in the diagram should be matched with those under the heading "Rough Guide to Vietnamese".

Image 1. Vietnamese Tones, from A Rough Guide To Vietnamese


More recently, I've found some other sites on the internet, the first two of which have audio files for you to get an idea of the tones. I've listed the tones as I think they are for those audio files below, though Net4 which is James Campbell's site has his own tone contours. The ? question mark represents a glottal stricture which is found in Vietnames tones. Book 1 and Book 2 are those used in this page.

Marking Tone Net1 Net2 Net3 Net4 Book 1 Book 2
audio audio text JC RG VH
a ngang 33 55 33 33 ml 33 55
a' sac 35 35 35 35 hr 45 35
a` huyen 31 31 21 42 lf 21 11
a? hoi 21?5 214 212 / 313 243? lr 13 214
a~ nga 35?5 21?45 21?4 2?5 hb *?45 135
a. nang 21 21 32 13? lb *1? 11


  • Net1
  • Net2
  • Net3
  • Net4
  • Book 1 Rough Guide Phrasebook : Vietnamese
  • Book 2 YueHan CiDian

    This page was created on Sunday 15th October 2000 and last modified on Friday 8th November 2002
    © Dylan W.H.S. 1996-onwards