If you’re getting ready to learn Vietnamese, this is the list you need. Whether you’re planning a trip or need to converse with colleagues, learning everything from basic vocabulary to how to read and write will be crucial.
Here, we’re breaking down which Vietnamese courses are excellent resources—and which ones we don’t exactly recommend.
We’ll start with our top-tier picks—the best of the best—that are our go-to resources for anyone learning Vietnamese. Then, we’ll cover the second-tier options, the courses that are still strong resources but don’t offer the full package.
And finally, we’ll take a look at the third tier, which are the courses you’ll likely want to avoid.
Let’s get started with the top-tier options for learning Vietnamese.
These are our favorite online courses for learning Vietnamese.
Price: Subscriptions range from $14.95 to $19.95/month. Unfortunately, Vietnamese isn’t available on the app yet (hopefully they’ll add it soon). Purchasing the Level 1 course costs $119.95.
Pimsleur is a strong resource for many languages, and although you can’t use the subscription option for Vietnamese (yet), we think it could be worth purchasing the Level 1 course. The audio-focused lessons feature a range of speakers so you can start working on vocabulary and pronunciation right away.
Since listening and speaking are the focus, you’ll find yourself able to communicate in Vietnamese quicker than with most other options. However, you may need a supplement for working on your reading and writing skills.
- You start using spoken Vietnamese right away.
- The emphasis is on cultural elements and getting the pronunciation right.
- Audio-based lessons are easy to follow and complete at your own pace.
- Grammar, reading, and writing are mostly ignored.
Price: Varies depending on tutor, but many are under $10 per hour.
No matter what level you’re at with learning Vietnamese, italki can offer the expert instruction you need. We like recommending the tutoring platform for all language learners because you can match up with a professional teacher or tutor for help in specific areas.
Tutors are usually native speakers, and their lessons often cost less than professional teachers (who often have a degree and teaching experience). You guide the session, so you can learn what you want—when you want it.
- Scheduling lessons is easy and convenient.
- You can try out lessons for a lower trial price with most instructors.
- The community features are helpful and free.
- Paying with italki credits is a slight inconvenience.
- It can take some time to find a teacher that you really click with.
Price: Premium plans are $10 per month, while Premium PLUS is $23/month.
VietnamesePod101 uses a podcast format to teach beginners on up. The cultural details are helpful for learning the nuances of the language, and you can start and stop your lessons when it’s convenient.
The hosts talk about a variety of topics as they teach the language in their audio lessons. Although, the course isn’t linearly structured, so it’s better used as a supplementary tool for a better-structured course.
- A wide variety of lesson topics.
- The casual podcast format lets you get a lot of exposure to the language.
- An emphasis on audio means you’ll need some written supplements.
- Lots of English used, especially at lower levels.
- They send far too many promotional emails.
Price: $11.99/month, $29.99 for 3 months, $55.99 for a year. There’s also a lifetime option for $119.99.
Since Lingodeer is newer, it doesn’t get as much attention as resources like Duolingo or Busuu. But in our opinion, Lingodeer is better for learning Asian languages, especially, because that’s where the app started.
Overall, Lingodeer’s courses are really well done, which puts it at the top of our list. It also offers a range of lesson types, so you get plenty of practice with grammar and vocabulary.
- The course design is intuitive with a good variety of lessons.
- There’s some free content available.
- Excellent grammar content and audio recordings.
- There’s not as much emphasis on developing your verbal skills.
Price: $6.99/month, but you can try sample lessons for free and new subscribers get their first month for $2.99
Learning Vietnamese with Annie involves podcast lessons (new ones come out weekly), with a focus on the Southern Vietnamese accent. You also get a discussion of the audio, plus a vocabulary review audio file, PDF scripts and translations, and online exercises to practice with.
Self-contained lessons make it easy to study what you want—but it also means there’s not a natural progression with what you’re learning. You can, however, sign-up for tutoring as well.
- Dialogue-based lessons focus on getting you speaking, fast.
- You can take lessons over Skype if you benefit from one-on-one instruction.
- All the additional materials help you with listening, reading, and writing Vietnamese.
- The lessons jump around, so there’s no clear learning path.
These are decent sources for learning Vietnamese, with a few more drawbacks than our top-tier choices.
Duolingo’s game-like interface and accessible lessons (hey, it’s free) earn it a spot in our second tier. For students just starting out with Vietnamese, the engaging format and quick introduction to vocabulary can be helpful.
That said, relying on Duolingo alone won’t be enough. The vocabulary is a bit haphazardly introduced, and only Northern accents are included in the instruction.
- Game-style activities are engaging for learning any language.
- It’s free!
- The lessons are organized in a natural progression.
- The pronunciation uses Northern Vietnamese accents, so you won’t hear Southern accents at all.
- There are more errors than we’d like in the lessons.
Price: $13 per hour for one-on-one lessons via Skype, $35 for 3 months of courses or $50 for 6 months
While we don’t have any personal experience with 123Vietnamese, the Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City based language school has a decent reputation. Their courses are available in an online format, but you can also hire one-on-one lessons through Skype.
The beginner course includes 44 videos and exercises, and you’ll start with the absolute basics, like consonants and vowels. Each lesson’s format involves an instructor literally presenting the lesson on a digital whiteboard, which may not be everyone’s preference.
- You work through the materials at your own pace, and there’s an order to things.
- Getting help via Skype is affordable and convenient.
- The traditional whiteboard teaching style might not be for everyone.
FSI materials are notoriously outdated, but if you can get past the fact that the text and audio are circa 1967, you can buckle down and start studying right away. You’ll find a downloadable PDF text plus 35 audio “tapes” spread across 15 lessons.
The audio-focused instruction is a format that’s still used—and effective—today, so this resource is worth it for that alone.
- It’s completely free.
- Everything is downloadable—you could even print the PDF text if you wanted.
- Accessible for beginners.
- The materials are severely outdated.
- There’s not much advanced content—more targeted to beginners.
Price: $30/month, $299.88 per year
Glossika is a useful resource for many languages (especially if you’re learning multiple at a time), but it’s got a few drawbacks, too. One of which is the price, at $30/month, we tend to expect a bit more.
Although it’s not ideal for beginners, lower-intermediate learners can practice Vietnamese with listening, speaking, and comprehension drills. Repetition is also the name of the game, which might get dull for some learners.
- You can access all the languages with a single subscription.
- Lessons focus on speaking and listening.
- The price is comparatively high.
- The repetition can get boring, so you’ll need to stay motivated.
Price: A range of price points, but frequent sales bring courses down to an average of $10 each
Udemy is a platform with online courses in every subject, and there’s a fair amount of Vietnamese content available. You can choose an instructor who speaks the dialect you want to learn (Southern, Northern, or otherwise), study specific vocabulary for work or school, and go beyond the beginner level.
Courses range from around an hour to over six hours of content, and many instructors offer downloadable homework, worksheets, and other resources.
- You have lifetime access after you purchase a course (including later updates).
- If you want to study something specific, you may be able to find it here.
- Instructors are all different, so you take a gamble when signing up for a new course.
- Courses on Udemy are often lower quality than you might find elsewhere (though also cheaper).
Price: $7.99/month for one language, $17.99/month for all languages
Mango is comparable to Duolingo in many ways, with its beginner-focused courses and not overly serious interface. Still, the courses aren’t necessarily any better than other courses out there.
You can study multiple languages with a subscription, which is a perk if you’re learning two or more concurrently. And, many libraries offer free access—so it may be possible to use for free.
- You may be able to access Mango Languages for free.
- Each subscription includes all the languages (70+).
- Content is aimed at beginners without much for higher levels.
- Not enough grammar practice
These third-tier selections didn’t impress us for learning Vietnamese—but they can serve as helpful supplements, depending on your speaking ability (and budget).
Price: Free, but the accompanying book is £50.99
Colloquial Vietnamese is actually the title of the book, and the website hosts the free audio files that go with the text. Without the book, it’s tough to get the most out of the brief lessons (they only last a couple of minutes at most).
The book—Colloquial Vietnamese: The Complete Course for Beginners—promises to introduce students to modern, spoken Vietnamese. If you’re willing to shell out for the book (the eBook is cheaper at £24.50), this could be an all-around decent resource for learning Vietnamese.
- The audio lessons are free and help reinforce vocabulary.
- You can check out the audio to see if the book’s content will meet your needs.
- Each audio lesson is super short—only a minute or two.
- You really need the book to get the most out of the audio lessons.
- You’ll need more than the short audio blurbs to really hone your speaking and listening skills.
Price: $36 for 3 months, $179 for 12 months or $199 one time for a lifetime subscription
While modern language courses use dynamic interfaces and game-like structures to engage students, Rosetta Stone falls a bit flat. There’s some good information here—if you’re willing to sift through the picture-matching activities to find the actual instruction.
For ultimate beginners, Rosetta Stone can help introduce you to pronunciation and basic vocabulary. The lack of English explanations can make it overly difficult to understand simple concepts. At this price point, you can see why this resource was bumped into our third tier.
- Beginners can start learning without any knowledge of written Vietnamese.
- You get a lot of pronunciation practice with the speech recognition feature.
- It gets repetitive and boring pretty fast.
- Other courses offer better instruction for cheaper.
- It feels a bit juvenile with all the picture-matching.
Price: $9.99/month to $47.99/year for one language
We like Mondly because it covers the basics of Vietnamese (and many other languages). But their courses are structured relatively poorly, with each language being taught in the same manner.
The format isn’t very engaging, so you’ll need to really buckle down if you choose Mondly to study with. It’s not a terrible course by any means, but it’s not particularly unique and other courses teach more effectively.
- Vocabulary is pretty extensive.
- You might find some of the quizzes and challenges to be fun.
- It’s repetitive and can become boring.
- The content doesn’t take the uniqueness of Vietnamese into account.
Price: $24.95/month or $149.95/year for one language. $49.99/month or $249.95/year for all languages.
Transparent Language covers a lot of languages, but the tradeoff is that the quality isn’t there. When it comes to studying a language, the mode of instruction is important, and it’s a major weakness of Transparent Language.
They rely to heavily on rote memorization of individual words and fail to teach the language holistically. There’s a cool recording tool to practice your pronunciation, and you can study just about any language out there. But overall, we’re not huge fans of Transparent Language.
- The recording tool is helpful for listening to your speech and correcting pronunciation.
- You can study multiple languages at once.
- It’s repetitive and instruction style is ineffective.
- Pricing is super high for what’s offered.
- Quality is lower than other resources at more affordable price points.
Learning to speak Vietnamese is within reach with high-quality online courses for every ability level—and every budget. With our top-tier choices, you don’t have to shell out a ton of money to learn to speak Vietnamese fluently. Want to share a recommendation with us? Comment below!