Vietnamese (tiếng Việt) is the national, official language of Vietnam. It is the native language of Vietnamese people (Kinh), and of about three million Vietnamese residing elsewhere. It also is spoken as a first or second language by many ethnic minorities of Vietnam.
It is part of the Austroasiatic language family of which it has, by far, the most speakers (several times that of the other Austroasiatic languages combined). Much of Vietnamese vocabulary has been borrowed from Chinese, and it formerly used a modified set of Chinese characters called chữ nôm given vernacular pronunciation. As a byproduct of French colonial rule, Vietnamese was influenced by the French language; the Vietnamese alphabet (quốc ngữ) in use today is a Latin alphabet with additional diacritics for tones, and certain letters.