Vietnamese language is the official language of Vietnam with Kinh ethnic group speaking the language as their mother tongue, about 85 percent of the population, other minority ethnic groups using this language as their second one, and over four million oversea Vietnamese speaking it. The Vietnamese alphabet (literally national language) in use today is a Latin alphabet, with additional diacritics. In the education system from kindergarten to university, Vietnamese is the most common language, a tool of knowledge impartation, as well as communication and management of all national areas. Current Vietnamese script originated from the seventeenth century when a group of European Missionaries represented by clergy Alexandre de Rhodes to facilitate the process of French colonization. It uses Latin alphabet instead of symbol. Then Vietnamese script was gradually developed, perfected and became the official written language of Vietnam from the early twentieth century. After achieving independence, the State of Vietnam has used Vietnamese letters in all fields of social life in Vietnam.
Most nations use their native languages in everyday communication. However, due to the differences in population and geographical areas of residence and social levels each language has its own certain communication functions. Some languages are only used for communication within the community as of the Mang, the Xa Pho (in the Northwest), the Arem, the Chut (Quang Binh), the Lo Lo (Cao Bang, Ha Giang, Lai Chau), the Sila (Lai Chau).... When communicating with any other community, people must use this community’s language. On the other hand, some ethnic languages are not just used for both communication within their own communities, but also among different communities. People call them the regional common languages, including Thai, H'mong, Tay, and Nung, etc.
As being the official Vietnam language, also the common language of the ethnic minorities in the country, the Vietnamese is being used by more than one million speakers in the United States. The figure ranks 7th nationally, 3rd in Texas, 4th in Arkansas and Louisiana, and 5th in California, as well as over 100,000 people in Canada and Australia, ranking 6th nationwide. According to Ethnologue, Vietnamese language is also used in the UK, Poland, Cambodia, Laos, Norway, New Caledonia, Germany, Netherlands, Finland, France, Philippines, Czech Republic, Senegal, Thailand, China and Vanuatu. Vietnamese is also spoken by the Vietnamese who live in Taiwan and Russia, etc. In addition, Vietnamese is also recognized as an ethnic minority language in the Czech Republic because Vietnamese people who are living here are recognized as minority group of the country.
It is obvious that the most popular language in the United States after English is Portuguese. Yet, if seeking more deeply, the result is quite surprising, especially when you analyze in different states of the U.S. According to the statistics of the public poll of American Community Survey conducted by Census Bureau in 2011, there was 1.4 million people speaking Vietnamese at home in the U.S, ranking 4th. It showed that the number of people using Vietnamese in America increased 7 times from 1980 to 2010, the highest rate in comparison to other languages. Los Angeles is the place where there are people speaking Vietnamese most with over 200,000 people, followed by Houston and Dallas-Fort Worth with 89,000 and 61,000 respectively. Between 1970 and 1990, the population of Vietnamese in the United States increased significantly, mainly due to the rise in immigrants. The figure mounted 134.8% from 1980 to 1990, and 82.6% from 1990 to 2000. Since 2000, the rate started to fall. By 2010, California was recognized as the state where the number of Vietnamese people was the highest with nearly 590,000 people, followed by Texas, Washington, Florida, and Virginia with at least 54,000 people in each state.