Vietnamese/K vs. kh

K vs. kh

‘K’ & ‘kh’ are two of the 28 consonant symbols in the Vietnamese language. ‘K’ is produced fortis and unaspirated. It is similar to the ‘c’ in cat. In Vietnamese language it is similar to ‘c’ and ‘q’ (In Vietnamese language there are only 21 consonant phonemes). Perhaps one of the most common words beginning with ‘k’ is kem which means ice cream and kẹo which means candy. ‘Kh’ is produced lenis voiceless dorsovelar spirant. The most common ‘kh’ word is không which means no or not though there are less common meanings as well. ‘Khỏe’ which means strong and healthy is another common word. To place ‘khỏe không’ after a personal referent is to enquire as to another’s health - literally: ‘you well no?’ as in ’em khỏe không?’ Also in these times of fast food, the ubiquitous french fry is known as ‘khoai tây chiên’ meaning ‘potato fry’.