How to type Vietnamese letters by keyboard

Introduction to Vietnamese typing

Learning how to type Vietnamese letters is learning to type its alphabet and its 5 accent marks (or more accurately diacritics). The complete Vietnamese Alphabet and the 5 accent marks are given below:

Vietnamese alphabet

a, ă, â, b, c, d, đ, e, ê, g, h, i, k, l, m, n, o, ô, ơ, p, q, r, s, t, u, ư, v, x, y.

The 5 accent marks

acute accent (“´”), grave(“`”), hook (” ̉ “), tilde (“~”) and dot (“.”)

Way to type: ăâêôơư & the 5 diacritics

To type those “foreign” symbols using the standard English keyboard, there are many different typing conventions, or formally “input methods”. Nowadays, the most widely used conventions are the Telex and the Vni. The main difference between these two conventions is that Telex uses letters (a-z) while Vni uses numbers (0-9) are used to express the accent marks and the marks on top of the vowels (i.e., to type ăâêôơư). Telex is being used popular with 99% correct. Anyway, you can make decision on your favorite convention.

 

Installing Vietnamese keyboard

In the Telex Convention, for instance, you’ll type the sequence “aa” (two a’s) to get â. Please try typing aa on your favorite text editor to see what you get. What did you get?

 

This is because by default, your computer has yet to support Vietnamese typing, which means that you need to either install a software or enable Vietnamese typing if it’s already shipped with your Operating System (for example, on Mac and Gnu/Linux). Once that piece of software has been properly installed and the mode to type Vietnamese is selected, you’ll get â whenever you type the sequence “aa”. Please refer to the Notes (*) below for more details on the various Vietnamese typing software.

 

Way 1: How to type Vietnamese letters by using Telex

Typing âêô

As you can observe, these 3 letters all have the circumflex. The rule to type them is hence the same:

  • Telex: Type the underlying letter twice. For example, to get â, your typing sequence is “aa”. Similarly, “oo” for ô and “ee” for ê.
  • Type: aa and Result: â
  • Type: oo and Result: ô
  • Type: ee and Result: ê

Typing ươ and ă

These first 2 letters share the “horn”; the last one is not quite the same but is close enough, at least according to the Telex way of typing.

  • Telex: type the underlying letter + w. For example, to get ư, your typing sequence is “uw”. Similarly, “ow” for ơand “aw” for ă.
  • Type: uw and Result: ư
  • Type: ow and Result: ơ
  • Type: aw and Result: ă

 

Typing the 5 diacritics

The Telex and Vni conventions for typing the 5 diacritics are summarized in the following table:

Type diacritics (or accent marks):

Diacritics acute accent(“´”) grave(“`”) hook(” ̉ “) tilde(“~”) dot(“.”)
Telex s f r x j
Example with a á = as à = af ả = ar ã = ax ạ = aj

 

Way 2: Type Vietnamese using Vni

Typing âêô

As you can observe, these 3 letters all have the circumflex. The rule to type them is hence the same:

  • Vni: type the underlying letter + number 6. For example, to get â, your typing sequence is “a6”. Similarly, “o6” for ô and “e6” for ê.

 

Typing ươ and ă

These first 2 letters share the “horn”; the last one is not quite the same but is close enough, at least according to the Telex way of typing.

  • Vni: This convention considers the first 2 as one group and the last letter a different group:
    • ươ: type the underlying letter + number 7. That is, “u7” for ưand “o7” for ơ.
    • ă: type “a8”

Typing the 5 diacritics

The Telex and Vni conventions for typing the 5 diacritics are summarized in the following table:

Type diacritics (or accent marks):

Diacritics acute accent(“´”) grave(“`”) hook(” ̉ “) tilde(“~”) dot(“.”)
Vni 1 2 3 4 5
Example with a á = a1 à = a2 ả = a3 ã = a4 ạ = a5

 

 

On each System?

1.Type Vietnamese on Mac

Mac has built-in support for Vietnamese Language. In order to enable Vietnamese typing support, you go to System Preferences and open International. Then select the tab Input Menu.

For Operating System before Leopard, you would see only the Vietnamese option. For OS X Leopard onwards, you have the Vietnamese Unikey option where you can select the Telex or Vni  input method as learned above!

Now, for folks with an old Mac OS, the table below shows how to type the special alphabet letters and diacritics in Vietnamese.

 

Type Vietnamese On Mac before Leopard:

ă â ê ô grave

(“`”)

hook

(” ̉ “)

tilde

(“~”)

acute accent

(“´”)

dot

(“.”)

đ ư ơ
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 0 [ ]

So to type the word thuyền, the sequence would be “thuy3n5”.

 

2. How to type Vietnamese letters on Gnu/Linux

As for Mac, Gnu/Linux Operating systems such as Ubuntu has built-in support for Vietnamese.

To activate Vietnamese typing support in Ubuntu, for example, go to: System->Administration->Language Support: Click Install/Remove Language and then select Vietnamese to install.

 

3. How to type Vietnamese letters on Windows

On Windows, to type Vietnamese, you would need to install a software. It’s very easy to install it. So, do not worry.

You can use a couple of Vietnamese typing software as follows:

If you don’t know what to use, prefer to you: Unikey. Go to Unikey’s download page, and select the latest version 4.0 RC2 to download. After downloading, everything else would be a series of clicking ‘Next’, typical of installing Windows software.

 

4. Insert Vietnamese Accent Marks automatically

Congratulations for having gone through this lesson on how to type Vietnamese using the Telex or Vni convention. You should now be comfortably typing Vietnamese, with some practice of course.

 

Exercise for you to practice:

The song: Một con vịt

Một con vịt xòe ra hai cái cánh

Nó kêu rằng quác quác quác quạc quạc quạc

Đập hồ nước nó bì bà bì bõm

Lúc lên bờ vẫy cái cánh cho khô.

 

New words:

  • Một: number 1
  • Hai: number 2
  • Con vịt: a duck
  • Cái cánh: Swing
  • Hồ nước: lake

 

Above you studies how to type Vietnamese letter. Do not forget type a letter to me or leave a message here.

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