Sing to learn

If you want to learn a language, learn a song.

People in white coats and English teachers have confirmed this to be the case.

VN flag

With this in mind I determined a while ago that I needed to learn a Vietnamese song. The one I kept hearing everywhere was Nối Vòng Tay Lớn, a catchy wee song about the reunification of the north and south. A song, as I understand it, that stresses the interconnections of the Vietnamese people and the links of the mountainous north with the coast. The words are poetic but maybe not the easiest for a learner.

So after downloading the song I went to work to come up with the phonetic lyrics. And here is the draft 5 outcome:

Nối Vòng Tay Lớn

Zung nooie dang tie noy lie be-end za
Ta dee vong tie loon my day noy sern ha
Mat dat bao la eng em ta ve gap nhau
Mung nheow bao cat qui kung choi zow-ng
Ban tie ta nam noi chon moat vong Viet Nam

Ker noy zaw dem vooie noy nigh
Zong mao noy con team dong loy
Zung ting noy chowng noy moy
Thang fa’ noy thon za voi voy
Noi chet noy lien whang vow doi
Va noo coy noy chen moy

Tu Back voe Nam noi lien numb tie
Ta dee too dong whang voo voe-ut het noy doi
Voe-ut thack cheow leow tie ta voe-ut dee-ow
Tu kwe ngeow len pho learn am tie noy lien
Be-end sang song gum noi lien mot vom tu sing

Be-in sang song gum noi lien mot vom tu sing
Be-in sang song gum noi lien mot vom tu sing
Be-in sang song gum noi lien mot vom tu sing

This works for me. Most of it is phonetic, though some words are Vietnamese where it was easier to render them as is. That said, I would imagine there is still a few tweaks required here and there. I would be interested to hear. Feel free to adapt for your own use.

If you have been in Vietnam any length of time you will have heard this song. It is difficult to escape, and it always goes down well if you can belt out some of the lyrics.

Here it is with the Vietnamese lyrics.

I learnt using Quang Dung’s rendition downloaded from iTunes. My phonetic lyrics had input from a native Vietnamese speaker.

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