Vietnamese/Lesson 1

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Đối thoại (對話) - Conversations[edit]

Chào hỏi (嘲𠳨) - Greetings[edit]

When Vietnamese greet each other, they will use Chào and the relevant personal pronoun, or the title, or name. Unlike English, they do not distinguish between the times of the day (morning, afternoon, evening).

  • A: Chào ông! (嘲翁!)
  • B: Chào bà! (嘲婆!)

Chào is a term that can be used to greet someone at any time. Ông is the term to address elderly men (aged around 50). is the term to address elderly ladies (aged around 45).

  • A: Chào anh! (嘲英!)
  • B: Chào chị! (嘲姊!)

Anh is a term to address older men, while chị is to address older women.

  • A: Chào cụ ạ! (嘲俱𠶚!)
  • B: Chào em! (嘲俺!)

Cụ is a term to call a very old person. em is a term to call a child, or a younger person. at the end of a sentence indicates respect.

  • A: Chào William! (嘲 William!)
  • B: Vâng, chào Nam! (𠳐,嘲南!)

vâng means yes.

  • A: Xin chào. (吀嘲)
  • B: Chào. (嘲)

This is a simple, yet not very elegant, greeting formula.

  • A: Chào ông Tomita! (嘲翁 Tomita!)
  • B: Chào bà Lee! (嘲婆 Lee!)

Hỏi thăm sức khoẻ (𠳨𠽄劸飾) - Inquiring about health[edit]

  • A: Ông có khoẻ không? (翁𣎏劸空?)
  • B: Cám ơn bà, tôi khoẻ. (感恩婆,碎劸。)

khoẻ stands for good or fine, không for not. Adding không at the end of an affirmative sentence is one of the many ways to form a question. Please refer to the grammar part for more details. Cám ơn means thank you.

  • A: Anh có khoẻ không? (英𣎏劸空?)
  • B: Cám ơn ông, tôi rất khoẻ. Còn ông? (感恩翁,碎慄劸。 群翁?)
  • A: Tôi cũng rất khoẻ. (碎共慄劸。)

rất means very. còn, at this place, means and. cũng stands for also.

  • A: Bạn có khoẻ không? (伴𣎏劸空?)
  • B: Khoẻ, cám ơn. Còn bạn? (劸,感恩。 群伴?)
  • A: Mình khoẻ, cám ơn bạn. (𨉟劸,感恩伴。)

bạn means friend and takes the place of a personal pronoun here. mình is, next to tôi, a personal pronoun meaning I, it also stands for body.

  • A: Chị có khoẻ không? (姊𣎏劸空?)
  • B: Cám ơn anh, tôi bình thường. Còn anh? (感恩英,碎平常。 群英?)
  • A: Tôi vẫn khoẻ. (碎刎劸。)

bình thường means normal. vẫn means still.

Giới thiệu (介紹) - Introduction[edit]

  • A: Chào ông! Tôi là Hoà. (嘲翁!碎羅和。)
  • B: Chào chị! Tôi là Jack. Rất vui được gặp chị. (嘲姊!碎羅 Jack。 慄𢝙得﨤姊。)

means to be. vui means glad, gặp stands for meet and được for can, may.

  • A: Nam, đây là Jack, bạn tôi. (南,低羅 Jack,伴碎。)
  • B: Chào anh Jack. Rất vui được gặp anh. (嘲英 Jack。 慄𢝙得﨤英。)

đây means this, here. bạn tôi means my friend.

  • A: Chào, mình tên A. Bạn tên gì? (嘲,𨉟𠸛A。伴𠸛咦?) <Hi, my name is A. What's your name?>

  • B: Mình tên là B. (𨉟𠸛羅 B。) <My name is B.>
  • A: Rất vui được gặp bạn. (慄𢝙得﨤伴。) <Nice to meet you.>

  • B: Mình cũng vậy. (𨉟共丕。) <Nice to meet you, too>.

Tạm biệt (暫別) - Saying good bye[edit]

  • A: Tạm biệt ông. (暫別翁!)
  • B: Tạm biệt bà. (暫別婆!)

Tạm biệt is the most common formula for saying good-bye in Vietnamese.

  • A: Tạm biệt anh. (暫別英!)
  • B: Chào Jack! (嘲Jack!)

Also chào can have this meaning.

Expressions[edit]

  • Hello (he lấu) / Hi (hái) -
Chào (嘲)
  • Good Morning (gụt mó-nình) -
Chào buổi sáng (嘲𣇜𤏬)
  • Good afternoon (gụt ạp-tơ-nún) -
Chào buổi chiều (嘲𣇜𣊿)
  • Good evening (gụt i-vờ-ninh) -
Chào buổi tối (嘲𣇜𣋁)
  • Good night (gụt náy-thờ) -
Chào tạm biệt buổi tối (嘲暫別𣇜𣋁)
  • How are you? (hao á dù) -
Anh mạnh giỏi? (英猛𡤟?)
  • How do you do? (háo đu du đú) -
Anh mạnh giỏi? (英猛𡤟?)
  • I'm Fine (ai-im phái-nờ) / I'm OK (ai mấu cấy) -
Vẫn mạnh (刎猛)
  • Good bye (gụt bái) / bye bye (bai bái) / bye (bái) -
Tạm biệt (暫別)
  • So long (xấu lóong) -
Tạm biệt (暫別)
  • See you later (sí dú lấy-đờ) -
Hẹn gặp lại (𠻷﨤吏)
  • See you again (sí dú ơ-gén) -
Hẹn gặp lại (𠻷﨤吏)
  • Take care (thếch ké-ờ) -
Bảo trọng (保重) / Cẩn thận nhé !

Vocabulary[edit]

  • - a particle at the end of the sentence to express respect
  • anh - you, Mr. (to address a young man)
  • - Madam, you, Mrs. (used to address an elderly woman)
  • bạn - friend, you
  • bình thường - normal
  • cám ơn - thank you
  • chào - Hello (most common greeting formula)
  • chị - you, Mrs., Miss (used to address a young woman)
  • còn - and
  • cụ - you, Sir, Madam, Mr., Mrs. (used to address very old persons)
  • cũng - also
  • đây - this, here
  • được - can, may
  • gặp - meet
  • khoẻ - good
  • không - not
  • - to be
  • mình - body, I
  • ông - Sir, you, Mr. (to address an elderly man)
  • rất - very
  • vẫn - still
  • vui - glad
  • xin chào - Hello (simple greeting formula)

Grammar[edit]

Personal pronouns[edit]

In this lesson, we have learned a number of personal pronouns. In Vietnamese, personal pronouns can be used as subjects or objects but, unlike English, they never change their forms.

Usage, however, is fundamentally different. There is not simply a word meaning you, but Vietnamese actually use different pronouns depending on the relation between the speaker and his/her audience. This relation takes gender, age, and status into account. Basically, Vietnamese refer to everyone as a family member.

Here are the personal pronouns we have encountered so far:

  • tôi and mình: I
  • ông: literally grandfather, old man, a formal way to address a male who is older than the speaker
  • : literally grandmother, old lady, a formal way to address a female who is older than the speaker
  • anh: literally brother, a formal way to address a male who is older than the speaker
  • chị: literally sister, a formal way to address a female who is older than the speaker
  • em: literally younger sister or younger brother to address a female/male who is younger than the speaker (such as a child)
  • bạn: literally friend, an informal, but not casual way to address familiar people.

For more, go to the grammar section directly: Personal pronouns.

Sentence structure[edit]

The basic Vietnamese sentence structure consists of a subject and a predicate.

Subject Predicate
Nam gặp Jack.
Tôi cũng khoẻ.
Tôi là Hoà.

Yes-no-question[edit]

There are several ways to form a question in Vietnamese. The most simple form is to add không at the end of an affirmative sentence to turn it into a yes-no-question. In some cases, it is better to add phải không instead of không. Both are still the same in some context.

Examples:

  • Statement: Ông khoẻ. You are well.
  • Question: Ông khoẻ không? Are you well? Or How are you?
  • Statement: Anh là Jack. You are Jack.
  • Question: Anh là Jack phải không? Are you Jack?

Practice[edit]

Exercises[edit]