Vietnamese is the national and official language of Vietnam. It is the mother tongue of Vietnamese people, and of about three million overseas Vietnamese. It also is spoken as a first or second language by many ethnic minorities of Vietnam. It is part of the Austro-Asiatic language family of which it has the most speakers by a significant margin (several times larger than the other Austro-Asiatic languages put together). Much of Vietnamese vocabulary has been borrowed from Chinese, and it was formerly written using the Chinese writing system, albeit in a modified format and was given vernacular pronunciation. As a byproduct of French colonial rule, the language displays some influence from French, and the Vietnamese alphabet in use today is a Latin alphabet with additional diacritics for tones and certain vowels and consonants.
Contributions by Ish ishwar, DHN, and Le Anh-Huy.