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vietnamese minimal pair training

2 minute read

A little after my 1000 hours update, I became impatient with a few sound pairs, such as between a and ă, that I still couldn’t distinguish in new words.

After reading about minimal pair training, a technique Japanese-speaking learners of English use to distinguish L and R, I wanted to try it myself. In the training, the learner sees a pair of words like “rock” and “lock” and tries to guess which one they just heard a native speaker say. Then they get immediate feedback about whether they were right. Apparently their accuracy after three 20 minute sessions jumped from random to 80%.

I tried something similar in the beginning of my Vietnamese learning, using the infamous FSI tapes, but found them evil. For a beginner, I still wouldn’t recommend them. But today I can watch tv dramas and have some conversation in Vietnamese, so I find it much less painful to target specific weak areas.

In case any other learners might benefit, I’ve uploaded the anki decks I created for my own training (southern vietnamese, azure tts):

Plus more added by request:

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