While the majority of linguistic researchers both inside and outside Vietnam consider the Vietnamese language a Mon-Khmer, Austroasiatic language, some counterarguments and general confusion continue to exist in the public domain. This article looks at four hypotheses regarding the linguistic origins of Vietnamese, hypotheses that place Vietnamese variously within the Austroasiatic, Austronesian, Chinese, or Tai-Kadai language families. Based on linguistic methodology and plausible scenarios of interethnic contact, the commonly held position——Vietnamese is an Austroasiatic language——remains the most tenable.

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