There is a simple standard formula to greet someone:
- Xin chào
However, it is much more elegant to address the person you are talking to in some way. Hence, a formula like Chào ông! is much better. In this phrase, ông is used to address respectable men, usually older than oneself. Instead of ông, the following words can be used to address persons with different status and age in relation to the speaker:
|cụ (俱)||people who are much older than oneself, or generally very old|
|bà (婆)||elderly ladies, or ladies who are older than oneself|
|ông (翁)||elderly men, or men who are older than oneself|
|chú (注)||uncle, or if they are older than you and younger than your parents|
|cô (姑)||aunt, or if they are older than you and younger than your parents|
|chị (姊)||young ladies, or ladies who are in the same age as oneself|
|anh (英)||young men, or men who are in the same age as oneself|
|em (㛪)||younger persons, children|
|thầy (偨 )||the teacher (if he is a man)|
|cô (姑)||the teacher (if she is a woman)|
When addressing more than one person, add các before the noun, e.g. Chào các anh!
The Vietnamese counterpart for How are you? is Ông có khỏe không? Again, here the ông has to be replaced by the necessary noun from the table, depending on the person addressed. Possible answers are:
- Cám ơn, tôi khỏe.
- Thanks, I am fine.
- Cám ơn, tôi bình thường.
- Thanks, I am normal.
- Tôi vẫn khỏe.
- I am still fine.
- Tôi cũng khỏe.
- I am also fine.
The Vietnamese equivalent to Good bye! is either Tạm biệt! or simply Chào ông!