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Attention.png Status: this is a controversial proposal born out of, do not use it until the discussion has settled!

This page outlines the capitalization rules for the Vietnamese language. It forms part of the MusicBrainz CapitalizationStandard.

Bằng tiếng Việt

Xin bạn viết bài này bằng tiếng Việt.

In English

These rules apply to album and track titles:

  • Do not capitalize any word except for:
    • the first letter of the text
    • the first letter of a sentence after . ! ? / :
    • the first letter of proper and geographical names (persons, cities, nations, etc.)

Punctuation (no space)

Like English, Vietnamese does not use any space before punctuation, including but not limited to ? ! ; : . , ...

Punctuation (with space)

In Vietnamese there is a no-break space (" " U+00A0) — preferably narrow no-break space ("" U+202F) — before the following punctuation:

  • The exclamation mark ("!" U+0021)
  • The colon (":" U+003A)
  • The semicolon (";" U+003B)
  • The question mark ("?" U+003F)

In Musicbrainz, as there are few chances to have word-warp problems with song and album titles, the narrow no-break space as well as the no-break space could seem overkill. Thus the use of the standard space character.

There is, however, no space before:

  • The comma ("," U+002C)
  • The dot ("." U+002E)
  • The ellipsis ("" U+2026 or 3×dot "..." 3×U+002E)

Examples (no space)

  • Em còn nhớ hay em đã quên?
  • Nhớ về Hà Nội
  • Hà Nội café ơi!
  • Liên khúc: Đêm cuối / Giận hờn

Examples (with space)

  • Em còn nhớ hay em đã quên ?
  • Nhớ về Hà Nội
  • Hà Nội café ơi !
  • Liên khúc : Đêm cuối / Giận hờn

Reference (with space)

Vietnamese language teaching book for 7 year old pupils

Bộ giáo dục và đào tạo — Lớp một (1), Tiếng Việt, Tập một : Chữ cái và vần

Ministry of education and training — First class (1), Vietnamese language, first volume : Letters and syllabs

[[[Image:img0780qp9.jpg]] [1](A](A]) [[[Image:img0782yw7.jpg]] [2](B](B]) [[[Image:img0783gx1.jpg]] [3](C](C]) [[[Image:img0784nc9.jpg]] [4](D](D]) [[[Image:img0785ol4.jpg]] [5](E](E])

  • A: This is the cover. Bộ giáo dục và đào tạo stands for Ministry of education and training
  • B: Nhớ lời Bác dạy : Chăm học, chăm làm ; Bố mẹ đều khen ; Thầy cô vui vẻ. (Remember uncle Hồ Chí Minh's words: Serious in studies and work ; Parents will praise ; Teachers will rejoice. (^_^)
  • C: Bay đi đâu cả tối ngày sếu ơi ?
  • D: Em đi máy bay !
  • E: Here you can see the other books for the same class (math, nature, etc.). I have number 1. and 2. This is number 1. You also can see some info like printed in 150000 copies in 1999, etc.

Tranlated manga

Đôrêmon (ドラえもん)

[[[Image:img0786wd7.jpg]] img0786wd7th]

Here you can see the use of narrow no-break space.

Translated literature book

Trang Tử (莊子) : Nam Hoa kinh (南華經)

[[[Image:img0793qw5.jpg]] [6](A](A]) [[[Image:img0794fe9.jpg]] [7](B](B]) [[[Image:img0798ih2.jpg]] [8](C](C])

  • A: Cover. Vietnamese adaptation / translation by Nguyễn Hiến Lê. Nhà xuất bản Văn hóa stands for ~ published by (Vh) Văn hóa (=culture).
  • B: Here you can see the use of no-break space before exclamation mark, semicolon and question mark
  • C: Here you can see the use of no-break space before exclamation mark, colon, semicolon and question mark

Reference (no space)

Writing Rules

Quoting Một số quy tắc soạn thảo văn bản cơ bản:

  • Các dấu ngắt câu như chấm (.), phẩy (,), hai chấm (:), chấm phảy (;), chấm than Idea.png, hỏi chấm (?) phải được gõ sát vào từ đứng trước nó, tiếp theo là một dấu trắng nếu sau đó vẫn còn nội dung.

In brief, this says that punctuation .,:;!? should be written togther with the preceding word (i.e. no space).

Searching for the above text reveals that it is replicated on many educational websites and the like.

Vietnamese Online

In the top million site rankings (fetched 2009-02-09) there are 208 websites under the .vn domain, which should be a good sample of how Vietnamese is typically written in digital form. Using a python script I downloaded the front page from all of those 208 sites, extracted the text (not including HTML markup, scripts or style sheets) and counted the occurences where exclamation and question mark was preceded by whitespace or not. I have gone over the results to see that the matches are for actual text so the results are not skewed by misencoding errors, etc. Sites which were either unavailable or did not contain any such punctuation are not included.

Site "!?" " !?"
[http:bla http:bla] 0 0
[http:bla http:bla] 0 0


Hi Foolip, I took the liberty of changing your draft to conform with my official children school book that comes from the ministry of education and training of Việt Nam.

Actually I browsed 4 random books of my library to find out that there were inconsistencies between publishers. Even if that may not be statistically correct, out of 4 random books, I got 3 books to support the space-before-punctuation style versus 1 book supporting no-space-before-punctuation. The 3 books include a (actually because it is vol.1 + vol.2 but hey) very official book because it is the vietnamese teaching book for first class of first school (7 years old, lớp một của trường tiểu học / cấp một).

In Reference, you can find those quick pictures I took yesterday evening.


  • I think you were a bit too liberal in your changes, putting both versions in for comparison. --foolip