About the Vietnamese
Some 80 million people in Vietnam and approximately two million Vietnamese overseas speak Vietnamese. Vietnam is also home to 60 or so smaller ethnic groups who speak indigenous languages. Some Vietnamese speak Russian and/or English, and some older Vietnamese speak French. However, the majority of social, political, and cultural communication in Vietnam is conducted in Vietnamese.
The Vietnamese language has three main dialects: northern, central, and southern. The differences between the dialects lie in both the vocabulary and the phonetic system. However, Vietnamese understand each other despite these differences.
The Pimsleur course introduces the contemporary Hanoi (“northern”) dialect, the widely-accepted “standard” Vietnamese. The Hanoi dialect is the one most often used in news broadcasts on national Vietnamese radio and television and in Vietnamese books, newspapers, and magazines.