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Vietnamese and Thai

Vietnamese, the official and national language of Vietnam, is an Austroasiatic language and analytic language with phonemic tone. The use of tones with different diacritics or accent marks is to distinguish words with identical consonant and vowel sequences. For example, the word “ma” means ghosts while the word “má” means mother. The use of word order is to express the syntactic relations of words to each other. Moreover, the use of modifiers rather than affixes is to express the tense and voice of verb forms. Vietnamese was historically written using “Chữ Nôm”, which is based largely on Chinese characters and locally invented characters. Now, it adopts a Romanized writing system called “Chữ Quốc Ngữ”.

Thai is the official language of Thailand. Spoken Thai varies according to user groups and standard sociolinguistic factors such as age, gender, class and the urban or rural division. Among the Thai dialects, Central Thai is particularly important. It is the language taught in all schools, used for most television broadcasts and widely understood in all regions. Similar to the Vietnamese, Thai is also a tonal language, which means changing in pitch can alter the meaning of words. Thai is also a diversified language, combining vocabularies from Sanskrit, Pali, and Chinese, and gradually evolved into today's Thai.

Interested users could go to the Language Learning Centre of the Hong Kong Central Library to find out more about Vietnamese and Thai.


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