Vietnamese (Tiếng Việt) is an Austroasiatic language that originated in Vietnam, where it is the national and official language. Spoken natively by an estimated 76 million people (as of 2009), it is the native language of the Vietnamese (Kinh) people, as well as a first or second language for the many ethnic minorities of Vietnam. As a result of Vietnamese emigration and cultural influence, Vietnamese speakers are found throughout the world, notably in East and Southeast Asia, North America, Australia and Western Europe. Vietnamese has also been officially recognized as a minority language in the Czech Republic.
Vietnamese is the Austroasiatic language with by far the most speakers, several times as many as the rest of the family combined. Its vocabulary has borrowings from Chinese, and it formerly used a modified set of Chinese characters called Chữ Nôm, which were given vernacular pronunciation. The Vietnamese alphabet (chữ quốc ngữ) in use today is a Latin alphabet with additional diacritics for tones and certain letters.