tiếng Việt Musa for Vietnamese
Musa cho tiếng Việt

This page will teach you how to write Vietnamese in Musa. If you'd like to learn why that's a good idea, read this page first.

But which Vietnamese? Northern? Southern? Central? North Central or South Central? Nobody even agrees on how many different dialects there are. But that's OK - Musa can write all of them! If you're just learning Musa, it's easier to learn your own dialect, so choose it here.

Northern (Tonkinese) Hà Nội, Hải Phòng
North Central Thanh Hóa, Vinh, Hà Tĩnh
Central (Annamese) Quảng Bình, Quảng Trị, Huế, Thừa Thiên
South Central Đà Nẵng, Quảng Nam, Quảng Ngãi, Bình Định, Phú Yên, Nha Trang
Southern (Cochinchinese) Bà Rịa-Vũng Tàu, Hồ Chí Minh, Lâm Đồng, Mê Kông

With Quốc Ngữ, we write every dialect the same way, but pronounce them differently. That's confusing! In Musa, we write every sound the way it's pronounced: if dich is pronounced zik in the North and jit in the South, then that's how we write it. We want everyone to write their own language.

Initial Consonants

Initial Consonants in Northern Dialect
m n nh ng
p t ch tr c k q
th (no initial)
b đ
ph x s kh
v d gi r g gh
u o l i y h
Initial Consonants in North Central Dialect
m n nh ng
p t tr ch c k q
th (no initial)
b đ d
ph x s kh
v r gi g gh
u o l i y h
Initial Consonants in Central and South Central Dialects
m n nh ng
p t tr ch c k q
th (no initial)
b đ
ph x s kh
v r g gh
u o l i y d gi h
Initial Consonants in Southern Dialect
m n nh ng
p t tr ch c k q
th (no initial)
b đ
ph x s kh
v r g gh
u o qu l i y d gi h

Most of the consonants above can also be followed by a w, which Musa writes as . In some fonts, this w combines with the initial consonant to form a ligature:

 
qu su


Vietnamese has a regular system of 9 vowels, plus three centering diphthongs iê ươ uô, which we write with a suffix:

i y ư u
ê ơ ô
e a o
 ia iê yê  ưa ươ  ua uô

The two central vowels ơ a have short variants that are pronounced almost exactly alike, but shorter: â ă. In Musa, we write them using the Long mark as a prefix (a "Short" mark):

Not Short Short
ơ ə  â ə̆
a a  ă ă

Many Vietnamese vowels are shortened before the ng final, and Musa spells them with a Short mark, too.


Musa writes the final sounds of syllables with 13 different letters, including a letter to spell no sound!

Final Consonants in Northern and North Central Dialects
-p -t -ch -ic -êc -ac -c -uc -ôc -oc
-m -n -nh -ing -êng -ang -ng -ung -ông -ong
(no final) -i -u -o
Final Consonants in Central, South Central and Southern Dialects
-p -it -êt -ch -c -t -uc -ôc -oc
-m -in -ên -nh -n -ng -ung -ông -ong -un -ôn
(no final) -i -u -o

Just to show you how these finals look with vowels, here are all the -c and -ch rimes of Northern dialect, in ngang tone:

 ich  ưc  uc
 êch  ơc  âc  ôc
 ach  ac  ăc  oc
 iêch  ươc  uôc

And here are all the -nh and -ng rimes, showing shortened vowels:

 inh  ưng  ung
 ênh  êng  ơng  âng  ông
 anh  eng  ang  ăng  ong
 iêng  ương  uông

Here are the rimes ending in i y:

 ưi  uy
 ơi  ây  ôi
 ai  ăy  oi
 ươi  uôi

And here are the rimes ending in u o:

 iu  ưu
 êu  âu
 eo  ao  ău
 iêu  ươu


Vietnamese has at most six tones, depending on the dialect. They involve not just pitch changes but also register changes, and even those can vary by dialect. Here's one (Northern) speaker's tones:

And here's how they're written in Musa:




Fangzi Gait

When you type Vietnamese into a Musa keyboard, you type the letters in the order that you speak their sounds, as you might expect. But normally, we display Vietnamese in a font for Fangzi (方字)gait, in which the letters of each syllable clump together to form a character, like Chữ Nôm. But this character doesn't indicate the meaning, like Chữ Nô - it spells the sound of the syllable.

These Fangzi characters follow a simple pattern. The initial consonant appears on the left side, filling the column from top to bottom. A syllable with no initial is spelled with a Catch, and a syllable with no final is spelled with a Break. If there's a medial u, it's written attached to the initial consonant to form a ligature. The rest of the syllable - the rime - spells the vowel, the tone, and the final consonant. The exact pattern - which letter goes where - depends on the tone:

In the most complicated cases, you may see a syllable with an initial consonant, a medial u, a centering diphthong (vowel + suffix), a tone, and a final!

  Nguyễn

In Fangzi gait, we write dots between words but not between syllables within a word. That permits us to show word boundaries, much easier to read!


Cây ngay không sợ chết đứng.

Bác vẫn cùng chúng cháu hành quân.

Đừng hỏi em vì sao, tình yêu ta úa màu.
Đừng trách em vì sao, giấc mơ tàn mau.
Đừng hỏi em vì sao, ngày đôi ta bắt đầu.
Một chiếc hôn nồng sâu đã đưa ta về đâu.


The transcriber is a tool for converting Vietnamese from Quốc Ngữ to Musa. It only does 95% of the work - you'll still have to edit the output, especially combining the syllables of each word.


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