The Vietnamese authorities have rejected a request by a grapefruit wholesaler to register the website, www.buoi.com.vn , as without the proper Vietnamese tone and vowel markings the word "buoi" (grapefruit) might be confused with "buoi" (penis). Currently, Vietnam's Internet firewall blocks more than 2,000 websites with pornography and political content.
"In written Vietnamese, the two words are distinct, with the citrus fruit using a rising-falling tone, while the part of the male anatomy has different "u" and "o" and a falling tone." However, in the Western alphabet most commonly used for Vietnamese web sites, the two words are indistinguishable. With its 12 vowels, six tones and more than three dozen vowel-combination dipthongs, Vietnamese language is devilishly difficult for foreigners to learn - and also ripe for puns.
This is yet another problem that may become more common in cyberspace as more non-English speakers choose to make their mark in the cyber-world that is largely English dominated.