Lan, tell us about your cultural experiences! April 2022 Issue
Similarity between the Vietnamese and Japanese languages
In one of my previous articles, I talked about the difficulty of the Japanese language but surprisingly, there are some similarities between Vietnamese and Japanese. This is because many Vietnamese words have Chinese origins. Before romanization became popular in the latter half of the 19th century, Chinese characters were the main writing system in Vietnam. Even now, its influence still remains, as 60~70% of Vietnamese vocabulary is Sino-Vietnamese. In addition, many Sino-Vietnamese words are similar in pronunciation and meaning to those in Japanese, so you can’t help but feel the familiarity when learning Japanese. For example, “chú ý” (caution), “liên lạc” (contact), “lịch sử” (history) are words that have similar pronunciation and meaning as in Japanese. Vietnamese and Japanese look completely different, but they feel very familiar due to the influence of Chinese characters on both.