I've reverted or changed some of your edits at Vietnamese phrasebook, because to the best of my knowledge, they are a bit misleading. Before I go over the specific edits, I speak Vietnamese in conversation at home (never in a formal situation, therefore), and I guess that I speak a somewhat Midwestern US English. So the pronunciations I would give in the phrasebook would naturally be a bit different than yours would.
Your userpage says you at one point lived on the West Coast. For the points below, West Coast and Midwestern English aren't that different with pronunciation.
- You said that the "a" in Vietnamese is like "cat". In the Midwest, we would pronounce that /kæt/ (if you're familiar with the IPA), and I'd imagine that in Seattle you'd pronounce it the same way. The Vietnamese "a" is pronounced /a/ in IPA. Just like in "father".
- You said that the "e" in Vietnamese is like "set". In the Midwest, we would pronounce that /sɛt/. It's nothing of the sort in Vietnamese. IPA doesn't have a good way of representing it, but the Vietnamese "e" is pronounced roughly like /eə/ or /ɪə/. Just like the Midwestern way of saying "yeah". The only other way of pronouncing "yeah" that I know of is /jæ/, and that's also close to the correct pronunciation.
- You said the "i" in Vietnamese is like "sit". The American pronunciation of "i" is /ɪ/, and that's not the same as the Vietnamese pronunciation, which is /i/, like in "seed".
- You said: "uy : like 'w' in 'win', thus the common name 'Nguyen' sounds like 'nwin'." That's the typical way of explaining the last name to English-speakers, but that's pretty far off. I usually tell people that it's like "eng-oo-WEE in?", and I tell them to try not to emphasize the "e" in "eng". Also, in a tripthong like in "Nguyen", the "y" is a lot more pronounced, so the "w" analogy falls apart there. The "y" is almost like a separate syllable, the way it's emphasized.
- You said: "When giving your age, it is common to say just the digits, e.g., 'three-one' instead of 'thirty-one'." That's not always the case; example: it sounds really awkward to say "twenty-two" as "hai hai". You'd say "hai mươi hai" instead, or "hai mười hai" at the least, so that people can more quickly understand you. Now, when you're giving a phone number, you almost always just list the digits, which is a lot easier.
– Minh Nguyễn 00:16, 2 Dec 2004 (EST)
I think laugh is not the best word for illustrating the pronunciation of Vietnamese <a> - since that word would have different realisations depending on whether one's English accent is bath-broadening or not. English is quite "strange" in that many accents lack a plain [a]. It's not that uncommon among English accents to pronounce the regular a in a word like <cat> as [a]. In other accents, the u in <cut> or the a in <father> may be a closer match. 1700-talet (talk) 17:12, 10 April 2013 (UTC)