How To Say the Word "PHO"

Vietnamese food is the new trend in America.  People everywhere are learning just how enjoyable and fun Vietnamese food is.  And they’re learning that Vietnamese food has so many benefits…it’s healthy, it’s an easy takeout item, the flavor goes way beyond Chinese or Japanese food, and it’s fun

With so much to offer, people are flocking to restaurants like Bep-pa to explore this fun, delicious food for themselves.

But there is one thing that stumps everyone.

How to pronounce the word “Pho”.

Is it Phô, pha, pa, pô?


Or something else?

Let's Break It Down So You Know

In Vietnamese, pho is properly written as:  Phở

Now, you will notice those special marks on the letter “o”.

They’re not just they’re to be fancy–they have an important impact on the way the word is said.

You see, Vietnamese is a tonal language–which means that words with the same sound but different tone carry different meanings.

For example:  and are two completely different words.  One means “mom” the other means “however“.

OK...but what does that have to do with Pho?

Here’s what those special little symbols on the word Phở mean:

The (apostrophe) symbol on on the o makes the o —-> ơ

and this is pronounced as an “uh” sound.

Then, the question mark symbol over the o makes the tone one that rises and curls …

(listen, you’re gonna have to watch the video to really get this part of it…)

Now, in English we have anuh” sound but we don’t really use the tone in the way that Vietnamese does.

If you want to use the tone, watch the video and copy me saying it.  

But you don’t have to.

The Best Way to Say Pho "in English"

To say pho in English we can forego using the question mark tone–but we still want to hit the right vowel.

That means we’re going to take the word Pho and say it as if it were written “Fuh” or “Phuh” where the uh is pronounced the same way you would say it if you were confused…

And, with this crazy language lesson thrown at you, there’s a pretty good chance you might be right now!  So maybe the easiest thing to do is just to watch this short video explaining it: