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The Vietnamese language is the communicative language of Vietnamese people

and also the mother-tongue of Viet people (also named as Kinh, the major ethnic
group in Vietnam). The formation of a common language used by the entire people
is a hard task due to the diversity of dialects and accents. Vietnamese is based on
melodious syllables and stressed accent. Accent has an important role to play in
helping distinguish and identify the meaning of the sayings. There also exist
numerous accents in the Vietnamese language, among which the most common
and favorite is the Southern one. This accent seems to be different form the
standard one as its pronunciation is based heavily on the main sound disregard of
the standard accent and even grammar. Vietnamese is a monosyllabic language
with each articulated sound carrying a certain meaning. Also, it offers innumerable
pairs of compound words, which are comprised of 2, 3 or even for constituent
single sounds.

The Vietnamese language has been formed and developed for many centuries now.
Documents of early feudal dynasties used Chinese and not until the birth of Nom
(Demotic script) language in 14th century was it employed in both speaking and
writing, especially in composing literature. In 17th century, Vietnamese or namely
national language came to existing. Its origin is closely related to Portuguese,
Spanish, Italian and French propagators working in South East Asia countries.

Those invented a new writing script as the mean to express the Vietnamese
language. The most noticeable contributors to the formation and studying
Vietnamese at that time was a French vicar named Alexandre de Rhode with his
publication of one of the first Vietnamese dictionary and grammar called
Vietnamese Portuguese Latin Dictionary. Initially, Vietnamese was used
merely for the purpose of propagation but was soon popularised officially when
French people imposed their colonial regime on Vietnam. To some extents,
Vietnamese was originally the tools for ruling of colonists, but then, thanks to its
convenience, Vietnamese became popular. Moreover, its easy-to-pronounce
alphabet system and combination enabled it to overcome any criticism.

1. Vietnamese alphabet system

There are 29 letters in the Vietnamese alphabet system which consists of 12 vowels and 17
consonants. See the list below:

A a B b C c Dd E e G g
H h I i K k L l M m Nn O o P p
QqRrSs Tt Uu VvXxYy

2. Vowels
As mentioned above, there are 12 vowels in the Vietnamese alphabet system. They are including:

ae i

How to pronoun these vowels is to follow the below

Front Central Back

High i, y [i] [] u [u]
Upper mid [e] [] / [] [o]
Lower mid e [] o []
Low [a] / a [a]

Front, central, and low vowels (i, , e, , , , , a) are unrounded, whereas the back vowels (u,
, o) are rounded. The vowels [] and [a] are pronounced very short, much shorter than the
other vowels. Thus, and are basically pronounced the same except that [] is long while
[] is short the same applies to the low vowels long a [a] and short [a].

* Diphthongs and Tripthongs

In addition to single vowels (or monophthongs), Vietnamese has diphthongs and triphthongs.

The diphthongs consist of a main vowel component followed by a shorter semivowel offglide to
either a high front position [], a high back position [], or a central position []. See the table

Vowel Diphthong with Diphthong Diphthong with Tripthong with Tripthong

nucleus front offglide with back centering offglide front offglide with back
offglide offglide
i - iu~yu [i] ia~i~y~ya [i] - iu [i]
~ ~~~
- u [e] - - -
e - eo [] - - -
i [] u [] a~ [] i [] u []
y [] u [] - - -
i [] - - - -
ay [a] au [a] - -
a ai [a] ao [a] - - -
u ui [u] - ua~u [u] ui [u] -
i [o] - - - -
o oi [] - - - -

The centering diphthongs are formed with only the three high vowels (i, , u) as the main vowel.
They are generally spelled as ia, a, ua when they end a word and are spelled i, , u,
respectively, when they are followed by a consonant. There are also restrictions on the high
offglides: the high front offglide cannot occur after a front vowel (i, , e) nucleus and the high
back offglide cannot occur after a back vowel (u, , o) nucleus.

The correspondence between the orthography and pronunciation is complicated. For example,
the offglide [] is usually written as i however, it may also be represented with y. In addition, in
the diphthongs [a] and [a ] the letters y and i also indicate the pronunciation of the main vowel:
ay = + [], ai = a + []. Thus, tay hand is [ta] while tai ear is [ta ]. Similarly, u and o
indicate different pronunciations of the main vowel: au = + [], ao = a + [].

The four triphthongs are formed by adding front and back offglides to the centering diphthongs.
Similarly to the restrictions involving diphthongs, a triphthong with front nucleus cannot have a
front offglide (after the centering glide) and a triphthong with a back nucleus cannot have a back

With regards to the front and back offglides [, ], many phonological descriptions analyze these
as consonant glides /j, w/. Thus, a word such as u where [] would be /w/.

It is difficult to pronoun these sounds:

Liu xiu m khuya ma lao xao mi hai

chai ru tay tai lu bu hiu hiu

3. Consonant
The consonants that occur in Vietnamese are listed below in the Vietnamese orthography with
the phonetic pronunciation to the right.

Labial Alveolar Retroflex palatal Velar Glottal

Stop voiceless p[p] t [t] tr [~] ch [c~t] c/k [k]
aspirated th [t]
voiced b [] [] d []
Fricative voiceless ph [f] x [s] s [] kh [x] h [h]
voiced v [v] gi [z] r [~] g/gh []
Nasal m [m] n [n] nh [] ng/ngh []
Approximant u/o [w] l [l] y/i [j]

Some consonant sounds are written with only one letter (like p), other consonant sounds are
written with a two-letter disgrah (like ph), and others are written with more than one letter or
digraph (the velar stop is written variously as c, k, or q).
The tables below show detail and it may help you easier to understand
* There are 17 single consonants as listed below:

Consonants Sound Phoneme English equivalent sounds

b /b/ but, bike
c /k/ car, clean
d /z/ zoo,
/d/ do, does
g /g/ go, get
h /h/ hat, house
k /k/ keep,

l /l/ leaf, lose
m /m/ meet, mouse
n /n/ not, no
p /p/ pipe, people
q /k/ queen
r /r/ run, road
s /sh/ show, shower
t /t/ tea, top
v /v/ video, vowel
x /s/ see, sea

* There are 11 consonants clusters:

Consonants Sound Phoneme English equivalent sounds

ch /ts/ cheap
gh /g/ ghost
gi /j/ yes
kh /x/ loch
nh // canyon
ng // sing
ngh // single
ph /f/ fine
th // thin, theory
tr // try
qu /kw/ queen

* There are 8 final consonants:

Consonants Sound Phoneme English equivalent sounds

c /k/ car
ch /ts/ lunch
m /m/ them
n /n/ then
nh // canyon

ng // sing
p /p/ stop
t /t/ top

It is necessray to make a difference between these two sounds:

+) K vs. Kh

K & kh are two of the consonant symbols in the Vietnamese language. K is produced
fortis and unaspirated. It is similar to the c in cat. In Vietnamese language it is similar to c
and q. Perhaps one of the most common words beginning with k is kem which means ice
cream and ko which means candy. Kh is produced lenis voiceless dorsorelar spirant. The
most common kh word is khng which means no or not though there are less common
meanings as well. Khe which means strong and healthy is another common word. To
place khe khng after a personal referent is to enquire as to anothers health literally: you
well no? as in bn khe khng? Also in these times of fast food, the ubiquitous french fry is
known as khoai ty chin meaning potato fry.

+ ) Ng and Ngh

The sound that ng and ngh make in Vietnamese is by far the hardest sound for Westerners to
make. Ng and ngh simply make the last sound in king or running (as long as you dont make
the hard /g/ sound at the end). The problem arises when ng or ngh come at the beginning of a
word, as the common family name Nguyn clearly demonstrates. Here, the speaker has to isolate
the // sound, which even many Western dictionaries dont recognize in their pronunciation
guides. (Those that do tend to represent it as /ng/.) This lesson will help you to at least pronounce
the // sound well enough for a native listener.

One thing you have to take a notice of is the combination of these above consonants Ng/ ngh
with vowels. See below for detail:

ae i o u y
Ngh nghe ngh nghi
Ng nga ngo ng ng ngu ng

1. Ngh can only combine with the vowels which are started with i, e, .
2. Ng can combine with vowels started with a, o, , , u, .

Besides, Vietnamese has another pair of sound (g/ gh) which are all pronouned as /g/, for these
consonants, there is also rule in combining with vowels.

a e i o u y
g ga gi* go g g gu g
gh ghe gh ghi

- gh can only combine with vowel started with e, , i.

-g can go with vowel started with a, o, , , u, .
* g can also go with i but in this case it will be pronoun as /j/, e.g. ci g.

3. Tones

Vietnamese is a tonal language, It means that different voice inflections on any word will change
the meaning of that word. For example, if you say ban with a rising tone, it means sell, but if
you say it with a falling tone, it means table. Tone is the central part of a word.

There are five tones in Vietnamese, plus a mid-level non-tone. Press each symbol button below
to hear what each tone sounds like, and the name of the tone. Then press the word buttons to hear
how one word can be pronounced with all six tones. Underneath is the English translation of
each word.

Description Name of Symbol Sample word &

tones meaning
Midrange voice goes flat and Ngang three
High rising Sc b to hug
Low falling Huyn grandmother
Start in a low tone, go down Hi bane
and gently back up
Start high, bring voice down, Ng residue
cut off, and go back up
Bring voice down and cut off Nng haphazardly

It is time to practice.

1 Ba B B B B B
2 Ma M M M M M

3 Be b b b b b
4 Me m m m m m
5 Le l l l l l

1. Dialogue

David is a student he has just attended a Vietnamese class, he has not known somebody in the
class. Nam is also a member of that class and when he saw David he actively makes Davids
Nam: Xin cho!
David: Xin cho!
Nam: Mnh l Nam. Bn tn l g?
David: Tn mnh l David.
Nam: Rt hn hnh c lm quen vi bn
David: Rt vui c gp bn.

Nam: Hello!
David: Hello!
Nam: I am Nam. What is your name?
David: My name is David.
Nam: Nice to meet you.
David: Glad to see you.

2. New words:

Vietnamese English equivalent

xin cho hello
cho hello
mnh I
tn Name
l to be
g what
ci g what
Rt hn hnh c lm quen vi bn Nice to meet you
Rt vui c gp bn Glad to see you


Rt vui c gp bn and Rt hn hnh c lm quen vi bn have the same meaning. We

use these phrases for the first time.

3. Grammar:

3.1 Personal Pronouns.

Vietnamese use terms denoting family relationships (kinship terms) when addressing each other
(even when talking to whom they are not related). In fact, they are used as personal pronouns.
The system is rather complicated and the choice of the correct expression depends on many
factors such as sex, age, social status, the family relationship, the relationship between the
speaker and the person he or she is addressing or the overall degree of intimacy between them.
You may find it difficult to make sure which term should be used; thus, you need a little bit
experience to get it right. The below list will help you understand more.

3.1.1. The first person

The first person pronoun in Vietnamese is ti which means I in English. It is the only
personal pronoun that can be used in polite speech. Beside it, the first person can be ta, tao
but they are only used in informal case, e.g. when talking with close friends.

3.1.2. The second person

The below table shows you some personal addresses and their usage

Personal pronoun How to use

Em Use for person who are younger than you as your younger
sisters or brothers
Bn Use for person who is as the same age as you or your friends
Anh a young male who is a little older than you or your elder
Ch a young female who is a little older than you or your elder
C in formal case; to a young female (Miss )
B Formal, an old female (Mrs., lady); informal, as your
ng/ ngi / Formal, an old male (Mr., gentleman); informal, as your
my informal; people are younger than you

3.1.3. The third person

It is simple that when adressing the third person, Vietnamese adds the word y after the
personal pronoun.

Anh y, ng y / -> He
Ch y, c y, b y / / -> She
N * -> It
N* often refers to the things, animals but sometimes, n can denote for a little child in
informal case.

*Plural personal pronoun:

- For the first person, the word chng is added before the personal address.
Ti -> Chng ti
Ta -> chng ta
T -> chng t
- For the second person, we use the word cc before the personal address.
Anh -> cc anh
ch -> cc ch
Bc -> cc bc

- When addressing plural pronoun for the third person, the word h is used. It refers to a group
of people in general both male and female.
- The second way to form the plural personal pronoun for the third person is to add the word
y after the second person pronoun.
Anh -> cc anh y
ch -> cc ch y
bc -> cc bc y

The below table will show you general information.

* Singular pronoun
Pronoun Sound English equivalence How to use it
First Ti I - Refer to yourself (formal)
Tao - Refer to yourself with close
friends (informal)
Second Em You - Miss, girl or boy (younger
person than you, informal)
Anh - Mr. (older than you)
Ch - Miss or Mrs. in formal address
ng - Mr., Sir., gentleman (formal)
B - Mrs., Madam, lady (formal)
My - Address between close friends
(to use with tao first person)
Third Em y He - Boy (younger than you)
Anh y - Mr. (Older than you or slightly
younger than you in formal
ng y - Mr., sir, gentleman (person is
older than you or higher status)

Em y She - Girl (younger than
C y - Miss.
Ch y - Miss or Mrs.
B y - Lady, Mrs, Madam (person is
older than you or higher status)
N It - Thing in general

In addition, there are different pronouns for each kind of relative. For a listing of those pronouns,
see family terms:
Pronoun Usage
c your grandgrand parents
b Your grand mother
ng your grandfather
ch your uncle who is your fathers younger brother
bc Your uncle who are your parentss older siblings
c your aunt, who is your fathers younger sister
d your aunt, who is your mothers younger sister
ch your elder sister or siblings
anh your elder brother or siblings
em your younger sister or brother or siblings
thy the teacher (if he is a man)
c the teacher (if she is a woman)

3.2. Greeting:

Cho/ xin cho: Hello

The Vietnamese greet others by using the word cho or xin cho. This is followed by either
a name or a kinship term (or both).
Cho Lan! Hello Lan!
Xin cho c Lin! Hello Ms. Lin!
Cho ng! Hello Sir!

However, you can use cho only in formal cases for example with close friends.
In Vietnam, cho means both hello and goodbye; therefore the above examples also mean
Goodbye Lan, Good bye Ms. Lien, Goodbye sir.
There is no Vietnamese equivalent for Good morning, Good afternoon, Good evening, etc.
thats why cho can be used at any time of the day.

3.3. L: To be
* L in Vietnamese has function as to be in English. It forms a simple sentence with the
logical word order of Subject-Verb.
S + L

Ti l Nam
I to be Nam I am Nam
Tn ti l David
My name to be David My name is David

* Ngha ph nh Negative form: khng phi l -> to be not

To express the negation, Vietnamese put the word khng ph i before l to make the form.
See the below form and example for detail.

Mu cu-(form):
S + khng phi + l + danh t

* Note: The noun can be a personal name, name of job, country.

V d- Example:
- Tn ti khng phi l David -> My name is not David.
- David khng phi l ngi Anh -> David is not an American
- y khng phi l David -> This is not David.

Introducing someone
1. Hi thoi ( Dialogue):

On the way to class, David and Nam meet Lan, after greeting Nam introduce David to Lan.
Nam: Cho Lan!
Lan: Cho Nam!
Nam: Bn th no? c khe khng?
Lan: Cm n! mnh khe. Cn bn?
Nam: Cm n!mnh cng vy.
! mnh gii thiu nh, y l David, thnh vin mi ca lp mnh.
Lan: Cho bn! mnh l Lan
David: Cho bn! tn mnh l David.
Lan: Bn n t nc Anh, phi khng?
David: Khng phi! Mnh n t nc M.
Nam: n gi ri, chng ta vo hc thi.

Nam: Hi!
Lan: Hi!
Nam: How are you?
Lan: Im fine. Thanks! And you?
Nam: Thank you! Me too!
Ah! Let me introduce, this is David, a new member of our class.
Lan: Hello! I am Lan.
David: Hello! My name is David.
Lan: You come from England. Arent you?
David: No! I come from America.
Nam: Its time for the lesson. Lets go to class.

2. T mi (New words)

Vietnamese English equivalent

cm n Thanks
khe fine/ healthy
mnh cng vy me too
gii thiu introduce
y this
thnh vin member
mi new
ca of
lp/ lp hc class
n t come from
nc/ t nc country
nc Anh England
nc M America
gi time
vo/ i vo go to
chng ta we

3. Ng php (Grammar):

t nc v quc tch (Country and nationality)

In Vietnamese, stating country and nationality is very simple.

For stating country, the word nc is used followed by the countrys name and for stating
nationality as well, we state the word ngi before the countrys name. See the below for the

t nc ( Country) Quc tch (Nationality)

Nc + Tn nc (name of country) Ngi + Tn nc (Name of country)

Tn mt s t nc v quc tch ( List of country and nationality)

Country Nationality
Vietnamese English Vietnamese English
Nc Anh England Ngi Anh English
Nc Vit Nam Vietnam Ngi Vit Nam Vietnamese
Nc php France Ngi Php French
Nc M America Ngi M American
Nc c Germany Ngi c German
Nc Nht Japan Ngi Nht Japanese
Nc Thi Lan Thailand Ngi Thi Lan Thai
Nc Canada Canada Ngi Canada Canadian
Nc Nga Russia Ngi Nga Russian
Nc Trung Quc China Ngi Trung Quc / Chinese
Ngi Tu

Note: Sometimes, Vietnamese use ngi Tu replacing for ngi Trung


3.1.1. When asking for country, Vietnamese often use:

Mu cu 1 - (form 1)- Tag question
S + n t + tn nc (1), (c) phi khng?
+) Vng/ phi, S + n t + tn nc (1)
-) Khng (phi), S + n t + tn nc (2)

- Bn n t nc M, phi khng? -> You come from America, arent you?
- Vng, ti n t nc M. -> Yes, I come from America.
- Khng, ti n t nc Anh. -> No, I come from England.
Besides, there is another way to ask for someone which country he/she is from. You can follow
the below form:

Mu cu 2 (Form 2)
S + n t + nc + no?
+) S + n t + tn nc

- Anh n t nc no? -> Which country are you from?/ Where are you from?
- Ti n t nc Anh. -> I am from England.

3.1.2. Asking for nationality.

There are several ways to ask for someones nationality. Here, we would like to mention two
common ways.

Mu cu 1 (form 1):
S + l + ngi + nc + no?
+) S + l + ngi + nc + tn nc

- Ch l ngi nc no? -> What is your nationality?
- Ti l ngi (nc) Anh. -> I am an English
Mu cu 2 (form 2)- Tag question
S + l + ngi + tn nc (1), (c) phi khng?
+) Vng/phi, S + l + ngi + tn nc (1).
-) Khng phi, S + l + ngi + tn nc (2).

- Anh y l ngi Php, c phi khng? -> He is a French, isnt he?
- Vng/ phi, anh y l ngi Php. -> Yes, He is a French
Hoc Or
- Khng phi, anh y l ngi Anh -> No, he is an English
* Note:
In Vietnamese, the difference between the way to ask for country and for nationality is not so
clear. You can use these above to ask for others country or nationality.

: Let

Vietnamese use when request someone to do something or offer to do somethi ng. It is used
as an imperative (order clause or offer clause).
+ S + ng t (verb)

- ti gii thiu -> Let me introduce.
- anh y lm -> Let him does it.
- ti n -> Let me eat.

Demonstratives: y l (this is)

y l is used as a demonstrative pronoun. Besides, there are several demonstratives which are
listed below:
Vietnamese English Usage
y This Refers to something or somebody near the speaker and far from the person
being spoken to.
Ny This Also refers to something or somebody near and infront of the speaker.
That Refers to something or somebody near the person being spoken to but far from

the speaker.
Kia That over there Refers to something or somebody located far from both the speaker and the
person being spoken to.
Ka That over there Refers to something located very far from both the speaker and the person
being spoken to.
y That refers to something that is far from the speaker but near to the person being
spoken to.
y That Also refers to something that is far from the speaker but near to the person
being spoken to.

For example:
Khch sn ny -> This hotel
Khch sn kia -> That hotel over there
Khch sn y -> That hotel

These demonstratives can follow two word orders depend on which are used as demonstrative
pronoun or not.

* When introducing something or someone to others.

i t ch nh + l + tn ngi / vt
(Demonstrative) + (to be) + (Noun)

y l Nam -> This is Nam
l nh ti -> That is my house
* When describing something or someone look like, we use:
Tn ngi / vt + i t ch nh + tnh t
(Noun) + (Demonstrative) + (Adjective)

Ngi nh ny p -> This house is beautiful
Chic xe y t -> That car is expensive

Introducing yourself
1. Hi thoi (Dialogue):

In short break time, David and Lan are talking to each other, they are talking about themselves.

Lan: Nm nay David bao nhiu tui ri?

David: Mnh 22 tui.
Lan: Th th bng tui mnh. Mnh cng 22 tui. David n Vit Nam lu cha?
David: Mnh n Vit Nam c 2 tun ri.
Lan: By gi bn ang sng u?
David: Mnh sng s nh 109, ng Nguyn Tri, qun Thanh Xun, H Ni.
Lan: Bn sng mt mnh ?
David: , mnh c mt mnh thi. y l ln u tin mnh xa nh, li sng mt mnh na
nn thy nh nh lm.
Lan: Th nh bn c my ngi?
David: Nh mnh c 6 ngi. Bn c mun xem nh khng?
Lan: ! c ch.
David: y l nh gia nh mnh. y l b m mnh, ngi ng b n cnh l anh trai mnh, cn
2 ngi ngi trc l ng b mnh.
Lan: l ng b ni ca bn ?
David: ng b ni ngha l g?
Lan: ! ng b ni l ngi sinh ra b, cn ng b ngoi l ngi sinh ra m.
David: ! ra th, mnh hiu ri. Cn nh bn ?
Lan: Nh mnh t ngi hn nh David. Khi no rnh David n nh mnh chi nh, b m mnh
mn khch lm, chc chn bn s thy thch.
David: Th nh bn u?
Lan: Nh mnh gn y thi, ng Xun Thy, qun Cu Giy, H Ni.
David: Nht nh mnh s n.
Lan: Nht nh nh!
(see the translation)

Lan: How old are you, David?
David: I am 22 years old.
Lan: The same to me. I am also 22 years old.
How long have you been here?
David: I have been here for 2 weeks.
Lan: Where are you living now?
David:I am living at No.109, Nguyen Trai street, Thanh Xuan district, Hanoi.
Lan: you live there alone, arent you?
David: Yes, I live alone.It is the first time I live alone and also the first time I live far from my
home so I miss my family very much.
Lan: How many people are there in your family?
David: There are six people in my family. Do you want to see my family photo?
Lan: Yes, of course.
David: Here are my parents, the person stands next to me is my older brother. Sitting in front of
us are my grandparents.
Lan: They are your ng b ni?
David: What is ng b ni?
Lan: Ah! ng b ni are the people who born your father, and ng b ngoi are the people
who born your mother.
David: Ah! I see. How about your family?
Lan: My family has less people than yours. When you have free time, please come to my house,
my parents are so hospitable, you will like them.
David: Where is your house?
Lan: My house is quite near here. It is on Xuan Thuy Street, Cau Giay district, Hanoi.
David:I will come to visit your house.
Lan: You are sure!

* Note:
- ng b ni means paternal grandparents
- ng b ngoi means maternal grandparents.

2. T mi (New words)

Vietnamese Sound English equivalent

bao nhiu how many
tui year old
bng Equal / the same
cng also
lu long
bao lu how long
tun week
by gi now
ang be + Ving
sng live
u where
s number
ng street
qun / huyn district
mt mnh alone
ln u tin the first time
xa nh far from home
nn so, therefore
nh (nh nh) Miss (homesick)
my how many
ngi people
mun want
xem see/ look
nh photo
gia nh family
bn cnh next to
ngi to sit
trc/ (ng trc) in front of
ng b ni paternal grandparents
ng b ngoi maternal grandparents
sinh ( sinh ra) to bear
t hn less than
khi no when
rnh (rnh ri) free

mn khch hospitable
chc chn to be sure
s will
thch like
gn near

3. Ng php (Grammar):
3.1. S m (Cardinal number):
Number Vietnamese English
0 Khng Zero
1 Mt One
2 Hai Two
3 Ba Three
4 Bn Four
5 Nm Five
6 Su Six
7 By Seven
8 Tm Eight
9 Chn Nine
10 Mi Ten
11 Mi mt Eleven
12 Mi hai Twelve
13 Mi ba Thirteen
14 Mi bn Fourteen
15 Mi lm Fifteen
16 Mi su Sixteen
17 Mi by Seventeen
18 Mi tm Eighteen
19 Mi chn Nineteen
20 Hai mi Twenty
21 Hai (mi) mt Twenty-one
30 Ba mi Thirty
31 Ba (mi) mt Thirty- one
40 Bn mi Forty
50 Nm mi Fifty
60 Su mi Sixty
70 By mi Seventy

80 Tm mi Eighty
90 Chn mi Ninety
100 Mt trm One hundred
101 Mt trm linh mt One hundred and one
1000 Mt nghn/ mt ngn One thousand
1001 Mt nghn khng trm linh One thousand and one
2000 Hai nghn/ hai ngn Two thousand

3.2. Cu so snh (comparative clause):

* So snh ngang bng: bng= to be equal
To express that something or somebody is equal to something or somebody else, the Vietnamese
use the word bng = to be equal:
Mu cu (form):

S1 + (Tnh t) + bng + S2

V d (example):
- Lan bng tui David means Lan has the same age with David so we can say:
Lan tr bng Daivid -> Lan is as young as David.
- M ti gi bng b ti. -> My mother is as old as my father.
- Nam cao bng David -> Nam is as tall as David.

* So snh hn: (comparative: more than)

Vietnamese use hn to form the comparative clause, it follows the word order as below:
Mu cu (form):

S1 + (Tnh t) + hn + S2

V d (example):
Nam tr hn Peter -> Nam is younger than Peter
David cao hn Peter -> David is taller than Peter
Nh Lan t ngi hn nh David -> Lans family has less people than Davids family
* So snh bc nht (Superlative):
To form the superlative clause, the word nht is used and it also places after the adjective.

Mu cu (form):
S + (l) + (danh t) + tnh t + nht + phm vi so snh
(noun) (adjective) (place, org, group)

V d: (example)
H Ch Minh l thnh ph ln nht Vit Nam.
(S) (l) (Noun) (adj) (nht) (country)
Ho Chi Minh is the largest city in Vietnam.
Lan tr nht trong lp hc.
(S) (adj) (nht) (class)
Lan is the youngest in the class.

3.3. Cu hi (Question): c . khng?

The most common way to form a question in Vietnamese is to follow the below construction:
Mu cu (form):
S + c + ng t + khng?

V d: (example)
David c hc ting Vit khng? -> Does David study Vietnamese?
Lan c sng H Ni khng? -> Does Lan live in Hanoi?
And the answer can be possitive or nagative. For example:
For the first question the answer can be:
- Vng, David hc ting Vit. -> Yes, David studies Vietnamese.
Hoc Or
- Khng, David khng hc ting Vit. -> No, David does not study Vietnamese.
Sometimes, we can use the word l in the question. Let see some examples:
David c phi l sinh vin khng? -> Is David a student?
Bn c phi l nh bo khng? -> Are you a journalist?

After these questions, we can have the form as:

S + c phi l + danh t + khng?

The way to answer these questions is also as the way we mentioned above. For example:
David c phi l sinh vin khng? -> Is David a student?
+ Vng, David l sinh vin -> + Yes, David is a student
Hoc Or
- Khng, David khng phi l sinh vin. -> No, David is not a student.

Asking the time
1. Hi thoi (Dialogue)

To day is Wednesday, David and Nam are going to visit Quoc Tu Giam with Vietnamese class,
they gather at the main gate of Quoc Tu Giam at 7:30, but it is 7:20 am, Nam is so anxious
waiting for David.
Nam: A David! Sao n mun th? bn mt ?
David: Cho Nam! mnh khng sao. Th by gi l my gi ri?
Nam: By gi l 7 gi 20 ri, nhanh ln khng mnh mun mt.
David: 7 gi 30 mi vo lp hc m.
Nam: Bn khng nh sao? hm nay l th t, lp mnh c bui i thm quan Quc T Gim
David: ! xin li mnh qun mt, mnh c ngh hm nay mi l th ba thi.
Nam: Ti th 7 tun ny bn c ri khng?
David: mnh xem , nhng m c vic g khng?
Nam: Mnh c 2 v i xem phim, mnh mun mi David i cng.
David: ! hay qu nh, nhng m sng th 7 mnh phi i hc thm ting Vit, bui chiu cn
phi ln th vin na.
Nam: Th cn bui ti?
David: Bui ti th mnh ri.
Nam: Th th tt ri, 7 gi ti th 7 tun ny bn mnh gp nhau rp chiu phim Quc Gia nh.
David: !Th nh.
(see the translation)
Nam: Ah! David! Why did you come late? Are you tired?
David: Hi Nam! I am ok. What time is it now?
Nam: It is 7:20 am, be quick we will be late.
David: The lesson starts at 7:30 am.
Nam: Do you remember? Today is Wednesday, and our class are going to visit Quoc Tu Giam.
David: Ah! Sorry, I forgot, I still think today is Tuesday.
Nam: Are you free on this Saturday?
David: Let me see, but is there any thing?

Nam: I have two cinema tickets, I would like to invite you to go with me.
David: Oh! thats great. But, on Saturday morning I have an extra-Vietnamese lesson and on the
afternoon I need to go to library.
Nam: How about Saturday night?
David: I am free on Saturday night?
Nam: Thats ok, so at 7:00 this Saturday night we gather at Quoc Gia cinema
David: Thats ok.

2. T mi (New words)

Vietnamese Sound English equivalent

mun to be late
mt to be tired
my how many (use for question)
gi time
nhanh quick
nh remember
hm nay today
th t Wednesday
i thm quan go to visit
xin li sorry
qun to forget
ngh think
th ba Tuesday
ti (bui ti) night
th by Saturday
tun ny this week
ri (rnh ri) to be free
mnh xem let me see!
nhng but
v ticket
phim film
v i xem phim cinema ticket
mi to invite
i cng to go with
hay qu thats great
sng (bui sng) morning

phi have to
hc thm extra-class
chiu (bui chiu) afternoon
th vin library
gp to meet (in this lesson: to
rp chiu phim cinema

1. Ng php (Grammar):

3.1. To tell the time

Vietnamese uses three units to express the time, which are shown below:
Gi -> hour
Pht -> minute
Giy -> second
* How to state the time: (need a clock)
Depending on the exact time, we have several ways to state the time.
+ ) Even hour: the word gi is added after the number referring the time.
11:00 -> 11 gi -> 11 oclock
8:00 -> 8 gi -> 8 oclock
+ ) Other cases:
Vietnamese often use the word qua, km to express the time.

8: 15 -> 8 gi (qua) 15 (pht)
10: 20 -> 10 gi (qua) 20 (pht)

- The word qu and pht can be omit, but in this case

7: 45 -> 7 gi 45 (pht) or we can say 8 gi km 15 (pht), and Vietnamese prefer the later to the
former and only the word pht can be omit. When the time past over 30 minutes, Vietnamese
often use the word km to express time.
8:50 -> 9 gi km 10 -> ten to nine
11:35 -> 12 gi km 25 -> twenty five to twelve

Besides, Vietnamese often use the word ri to stand for the time which past 30 minutes.

9:30 -> 9 ri -> half past nine
10: 30 -> 10 ri -> half past ten

To express the time in which period of day, Vietnamese use the below words, which refer to the
period of day, to add after the time.

Period of time Vietnamese English equivalent

1:00am~11:00am sng morning
11:00am~1:00pm tra at noon
1:00pm~7:00pm chiu afternoon
7:00pm~11:00pm ti evening
11:00pm~1:00am m night
2: 15 pm -> 2 gi 15 chiu
9:20 am -> 9 gi 20 sng
12:00 pm -> 12 gi tra
1:00 am -> 2 gi m
* Asking and answering about time.
When asking for the time, Vietnamese use the question:
By gi l my gi ri?
(Now) (to be) (how many) (time) (interjection)
To answer this question, we replace the word my by the exact time as below:
By gi + l + thi gian + gi + (ri)
(Now) (to be) (time) (hour)
A: By gi l my gi?
B: By gi l 8 gi (ri).
* To ask someone what time he/she does something we use:
CN + T + lc/ vo lc my gi?
S+ V
Nam i hc vo lc my gi? -> What time does Nam go to school?
And the answer is
Nam i hc vo lc 7 gi. -> Nam goes to school at 7 oclock

3.2. Parts of a day

The main distinction between the day time and night-time is expressed by the word ban, so we
have ban ngy (daytime) and ban m (night-time). To express the part of the day, the word
bui is made use of. See the list for more detail.

Vietnamese Sound English equivalent
bui sng (sng) morning
bui tra (tra) at noon
bui chiu (chiu) Afternoon
bui ti (ti) evening
ban m (m) Night

3.3. Days in a week

* S th t (Ordinal number)
Ordinal number is formed from cardinal number by adding the ordinal designator th. This
element precedes the cardinal number.
Vietnamese Sound English -Th nh is sometime used instead of
Th nht The first th hai
- Th t is sometime replaced by th
Th hai* The second bn, but Vietnamese prefer the former to
Th ba The third the later.
Th t* The fourth
Th nm The fifth * Days in a week:
Th su The sixth
In Vietnamese the terms denoting the
Th by The seventh
Th tm The eightth days of the week are ordinal numbers
Th chn The nineth except Sunday. The week starts from
Th mi The tenth Sunday, therefore Monday is the second
Th mi mt The eleventh
day in the week, Tuesday is the third day,
Th mi hai The twelveth
Wednesday is the fourth day, etc.
Th mi ba The thirteenth
Th mi bn The forteenth Vietnamese Sound English
Th mi lm The fifteenth Ch nht Sunday
Th mi su The sixteenth Th hai Monday
Th ba Tuesday
Th t Wednesday
Th nm Thursday
Th su Friday
Th by Saturday

* Asking and answering for the day in a week.

When asking for what the day today is, Vietnamese often use the below question:

Hm nay l th my?
(today) (to be) (ordinal designator)(how many)
The answer is to replace my by the day in the week.
A: Hm nay l th my? What day is it today?
B: Hm nay l th t. Today is Wednesday.
If we want to ask the day of tomorrow, replacing hm nay by ngy mai in the question and
the answer is also follow the above form.
A: Ngy mai l th my? What day is it tomorrow?
B: Ngy mai l Ch nht. Tomorrow is Sunday
Accordingly, using that form we can ask for other days base on the below suggestion:
Vietnamese English
hm nay today
ngy mai tomorrow
ngy kia the day after tomorrow
hm qua yesterday
hm kia the day before yesterday

A: Hm kia l th my? What day is it the day before yesterday?
B: Hm kia l th hai. The day before yesterday is Monday

Vietnamese calendar
Vietnamese use a solar calendar (dng lch) for official purposes but religious activities and
celebrations are governed by the lunar calendar (m lch) formed by a sixty-year cycle divided
into five twelve-year groups. Each year is associated with an animal. (The names of the animals
are traditionally referred to using, a Sino-Vietnamese expression.) The following table lists one
twelve-year cycle and the Sino-Vietnamese terms together with their Vietnamese and English
Sino-Vietnamese Vietnamese English
T Chut Mouse/ rat
Su Tru Buffalo

Dn H Tiger
Mo Mo Cat
Thn Rng Dragon
T Rn Snake
Ng Nga Horse
Mi D Goat
Thn Kh Monkey
Du G Rooster/hen
Tut Ch Dog
Hi Ln Pig

The New Year festival

The Vietnamese have many festivals and celebrations but without doubt the biggest one is the
new year festival (Tt Nguyn n). The Vietnames e celebrate the New Year according to the
lunar calendar. Tt Nguyn n is an opportunity for the whole family to meet together. It is a
festival which marks the beginning of the spring and it is filled with hopes and expectations that
the New Year will be happier and better than the previous one. Tt Nguyn n is rich in
customs and traditions and many special dishes are prepared. Traditionally, firecrackers (Pho)
are set off to welcome the New Year.
Vietnamese folk prints are used to decorate houses on the occasion of Tt. These are ng H
prints made in a village of the same name.

Asking for and Giving Directions

1. Hi thoi (Dialogue)

This Friday, Mary wants to go to British Embassy to completel procedure, but she is not sure
how to get there, she is asking Lan for the way to get there.
Mary: Cho Lan!
Lan: Cho Mary!
Mary: Xin li cho mnh hi mt cht.
Lan: C g Mary c ni
Mary: Chiu nay mnh cn n i S Qun Anh hon tt mt s th tc, nhng m mnh li
khng r ng i ti lm , Lan ch gip mnh vi.
Lan: Bn c a ch ch cha?
Mary: Mnh c ri, s 31 ph Hai B Trng.
Lan: Th th tt ri, bn nhn ln bn ny nh. By gi bn ang trn ng Xun Thy, c
i thng vo ng Kim M, n cui ng r phi vo n g Nguyn Thi Hc, n ng t
n xanh n bn r tri, l ng Hai B Trng, i theo ng bn s nhn thy i
S Qun bn phi ng.
Mary: ! Xa nh, t y n khong bao xa?
Lan: ! Cng kh xa, chc khong 12 km . Th bn nh i n bng g?
Mary: Mnh cng cha bit na, theo bn mnh nn n bng phng tin g th tin nht?
Lan: Hnh nh bn cng cha r ng ph H Ni lm, mnh ngh bn nn bt taxi i l hay
Mary: ! C l mnh s i taxi, cm n Lan nhiu nh.
Lan: Khng c g.
(see the translation)
Mary: Hi Lan!
Lan: Hi Mary!
Mary: Excuse me! Could I ask you a question?
Lan: please!
Mary: This afternoon I need to go to British Embassy for completing procedure, but I am not

sure about the way, could you tell me how to get there?
Lan: Do you have address?
Mary: Yes, I have, it is at 31 Hai Ba Trung Street.
Lan: Thats good. Look at the map, now you are on Xuan Thuy street, to the end of this road you
turn left to Kim Ma street, keep straight to the end of Kim Ma road then turn right to Nguyen
Thai Hoc street, at the end of the road you will see the red-blue light you turn right to Le Duan
street, when you see the first cross road turn right that is Hai Ba Trung street, follow this road
until you see the British Embassy on your right hand side.
Mary: Oh! That is so far; how far is it from here?
Lan: Yes, it is about 12 km. How do you intend to get there?
Mary: I also dont know, do you think what transportation should I use to get there?
Lan: You seem to be not so clear about Hanoi street arent you? So I just think Taxi is the best
choice for you.
Mary: Yes, maybe I will take a taxi to get there, thank you very much.
Lan: Youre welcome.
i s qun Anh nm ti im c du sao .

i s qun Anh, Tng 4-5, To nh Trung tm, 31 Hai B

Trng, H Ni. T: ++ (84) (4) 936 0500 Fax: ++ (84) (4)
936 0561 / 9360562 Email:

2. T mi (New words)

Vietnamese English equivalent

hi to ask
hi ng to ask for the way
ni to tell/ say/ speak
cn need
i s qun Embassy
hon tt to complete
mt s some
th tc procedure
r clear
ng way
ch (ng) to draw a map/ to show the way

gip to help
a ch address
tt good
nhn to look
bn map
trn on
cui the end
r tri to turn left
i thng to keep straight
r phi to turn right
n xanh n red-blue light (traffic light)
ng t cross-road
i theo to follow
pha bn phi at the right hand side
khong about
bao xa how far
nh / nh to intend
bng by
cng also
nn should
phng tin transportation
hnh nh seem to be
ng ph street
bt (xe) to take
hay nht / tt nht the best
c l maybe
s will
cm n bn nhiu thank you very much

3. Ng php (Grammar)

3.1. Talking about distance:

* T n:
The preposition .t n means from (place). to(place).
Form 1
t + a im 1 + n + a im 2
from + place 1 + to + place 2

This form is to express the movement from one place to another place.
- t nh ti n trng -> from my house to school
- t sn bay n khch sn -> from the airport to the hotel
These prepositions also express a period of time
Form 2
t + thi gian + n + thi gian
from + time + to/ until + time

- t 8 gi sng n 5 gi chiu -> From 8 oclock in the morning
to 5 oclock in the afternoon
- t sng n ti -> from dawn till dusk
* Cch* v Bao xa
+) In order to state the distance between two places, the word cch is made use of. See the
Form 3
a im 1 + cch + a im 2 + s km
place 1 + distance + place 2 + No. of km

- Sn bay cch khch sn 5 km -> The airport is five km from the hotel.
- Nh ti cch trng hc 8 km -> My house is eight km from school.
- H ni cch Hu kh xa -> Hanoi is quite far away from Hue.
+ ) when asking for the distance, Vietnamese often use the question:
Form 4
a im 1 + cch + a im 2 + bao xa?
place 1 + cch + place 2 + (how far)?

- H Ni cch Hu bao xa? -> How far is it from Hanoi to Hue?
- Sn bay cch nh ga bao xa? -> How far is it from the airport to the station?
Besides, we can use the question which is combined with the prepositon t n.
Let take an example to see how it is formed
- T H Ni n Hu khong* bao xa?
(Place 1) (place 2) (about) (how far)?
This question can be translated as: How far is it from Hanoi to Hue?
and the answer can be:
- T H Ni n Hu khong 500 km. -> It is about 500km from Hanoi to Hue.
Or we can answer by using the form 3 above as below:

- H Ni cch Hu khong 500 km. -> Hanoi is about 500km from Hue.
* Note:
- The word khong can be replace by the word l and cch.
T H Ni n Hu l 500 km -> It is 500km from Hanoi to Hue.
T H Ni n Hu cch 500 km -> It is 500km from Hanoi to Hue.
- cch can also be used to state the period of time. It is to describe how long ago something
Ti n Vit Nam cch y hai tun
-> I arrived Vietnam two week ago.
Ti bt u hc ting Vit cch y mt thng.
-> I started to learn Vietnamese a month ago.
3.2. Hnh nh : seem to be
In Vietnamese, when talking about something that is not so clear or may cause a doubt, the word
hnh nh is used and it often state at the beginning of the sentence.
- Hnh nh bn ch a quen ng ph H Ni lm.
-> You seem to be not so familiar to Hanoi Street.
- Hnh nh ti cha tng n ni ny.
-> It seems to be that I have ever been here.
3.3. Nn: should
Vietnamese use the word nn to give suggestion or advice to someone. It often stands after the
Subject. See below form for detail.
Form 5

CN + nn + T + VN
S + should + V + O

- Bn nn n bng taxi -> You should get there by taxi.
- Bn nn th gin mt cht -> You should relax.

How to Take a Taxi
1. Hi thoi (Dialogue)

On the afternoon Mary is going to British Embassy, now she is calling to Hanoi taxi agency to
reserve a taxi.
Agency: D! H Ni taxi xin nghe!
Mary: Al! cho anh ! anh c th gi cho em mt xe taxi bn ch ti a ch s 27 ng Xun
Thy, Cu Giy c khng ?
Agency: D vng ! ch vui lng ch mt lt, taxi s n ngay
Mary: Cm n anh nhiu, cho anh!
Agency: D khng c g , cho ch!
Some minutes later, Mary sees a four-seat taxi is coming; she waves her hand as a sign.
Taxi driver: Xin li, c phi ch gi taxi khng ?
Mary: Vng! ng ri , anh c phi t bn H Ni taxi khng ?
Taxi driver: Vng! Tha ch, mi ch ln xe .
Mary: Cm n anh!
Taxi driver: By gi ch mun i n a im no ?
Mary: Anh a ti n i s qun Anh s 31 Hai B Trng.
Taxi driver: Vng! Phin ch tht dy an ton chng ta c th khi hnh .
Mary: Vng! ti sn sng, anh c th cho ti hi mt cht c khng ?
Taxi driver: Vng ch c ni .
Mary: T y n i s qun mt bao lu ?
Taxi driver: By gi ng khng ng lm nn khong 30 pht na chng ta s n i s
Mary: Vng! vy l ti yn tm ri. Cm n anh!
Taxi driver: D! khng c g .
Thirty minutes later, Mary gets to British Embassy; she gets off the taxi and makes the payment.
Taxi driver: Tha ch! i s qun y ri
Mary: Vng! cm n anh nh, xin hi ht bao nhiu tin ?
Taxi driver: D! ht 90.000 ng chn .
Mary: y tha anh, cm n anh nhiu .

Taxi driver: D! khng c g , ch c mun ti i khng ?
Mary: Khng cn u, cho anh!
Taxi driver: Cm n ch! Cho ch!
(See the translation)
Dialogue 1:
Agency: Hello! Thank you for calling to Hanoi taxi, can I help you?
Mary: Hello! Could you arrange one four-seat taxi to pick me up at No.27 Xuan Thuy Street,
Cau Giay Dist.?
Agency: Yes, Madam. Could you please wait for some minutes, our taxi will come now.
Mary: Thank you very much and goodbye!
Agency: Youre welcome, goodbye!
Dialogue 2:
Taxi driver: Excuse me! Did you call for a taxi?
Mary: yes, I did. You are from Hanoi taxi, arent you?
Taxi driver: Yes, I am. Please get in the car.
Mary: Thanks you!
Taxi driver: Where would you go to now?
Mary: Please take me to British Embassy at No.31 Hai Ba Trung Street.
Taxi driver: yes, could you please wear seatbelt and we can departure.
Mary: Yes, I am ready, may I have a question?
Taxi driver: yes, please!
Mary: How long does it take from here to British Embassy?
Taxi driver: At the moment, the street is not so crowded, so it may take about 30 minutes.
Mary: Yes, Its good, thank you!
Taxi driver: Not at all!
Dialogue 3:
Taxi driver: Here is British Embassy.
Mary: Yes, thank you! How much is it?
Taxi driver: It is 90.000 VND.
Mary: Here you are!
Taxi driver: Thank you! Do you need me to wait for you?

Mary: No, thanks! Goodbye!
Taxi driver: Thank you and goodbye!

2. T mi (New words)

Vietnamese Sound English equivalent

Ch (ch ngi) seat
vui lng please
ch to wait
mt lt a little (in this lesson: some minutes)
gi to call
ln xe to get in
a im place
a/ a n to take, to pick up
tht to tie
dy an ton seatbelt
c th can, could, might, may
sn sng ready
ng crowed
nn so
bao nhiu tin how much

- The word vui lng is used when offering someone to do something politely.
Bn vui lng m ca gip mnh c khng?
-> Could you open the door please?
- In the dialogue you see so many word , but we can not translate it into English because there
is no equivalent meaning in English. It is used to show the politeness and respect of the speaker
to the person being spoken. For example, before going to class children have to say goodbye to
their parents Tha b m! Con i hc as well as when they come back home they have to say
hello to their parents tha b m con v . It does not only convey the meaning of
informing but also expressing the respect to the olders.

3.Ng php (Grammar)

3.1. Bao lu: How long.

When asking for how long something done, Vietnamese use the question which is formed by the
word bao lu.
Form 1

CN + T + VN + (mt) bao lu?
S + V + O + how long?
Let analyse the example for futher detail:
- (S) i t y n i s qun mt bao lu?
- S (Verb) (Object) how long?
The subject is not appeared here but we still can understand that there is someone moves to
Embassy; therefore this sentence can be translated into English as below:
-> How long does it take from here to Embassy?
See more examples:
- Bn i t nh n trng mt bao lu?
-> How long does it take you from your house to your school?
- i t H Ni vo Hu mt bao lu?
- > How long does it take from Hanoi to Hue?
* Note:
- The word mt can be replaced by trong or khong. Mt refers to the exact time,
trong refers to the approximate time but not over the time given, and khong also refers to
the approximate time and it can be less or more than the time given. Therefore, Vietnamese
applied this meaning of these words to give clear answer. See the answer for these above
Question 1
Q: i t y n i s qun mt bao lu?
A: i t y n i s qun mt 30 pht. (Exactly it takes 30 minutes)
Question 2:
Q: Bn i t nh n trng mt bao lu?
A: Mnh i t nh n trng trong 15 pht. (It takes less than 15 minutes)
Question 3:
Q: i t H N i vo Hu mt bao lu?
A: i t H Ni vo Hu khong 4 ting. (It may take less than or more than 4 hour)
- In the question, the word bao lu can be replaced by the word bao nhiu thi gian. The
question and answer form as well as the meaning is the same with the word bao lu.
Vietnamese prefers using bao lu to using bao nhiu thi gian.
3.2. Conjunction: nn means so
The conjunction nn is used to combine two clauses that have cause and effect relationship.
The first clause often shows the meaning of cause and the second one has the meaning of effect.
To make you easy to remember we provide the form as below:

Cause clause + nn + effect clause

See the example for detail:
- By gi ng khng ng lm// nn // khong 30 pht na chng ta s n i s qun.
(Cause clause) nn (Effect clause)
-> Now the street is not so crowed so we can get to Embassy about 30 minutes later.
In order to emphasize the reason we add the word vat the very beginning of the cause clause.
- V // tri ma // nn // chng ti khng i chi.
v (cause) nn (effect)
-> Because it rains so we do not go out.
- V // Lan b m // nn // c y khng n lp.
-> Because Lan is ill so she does not come to class.
Similiar with English, the position of these two clauses can be exchanged, and in this case the
word nn can be omittied, and replaced by v.
See example:
- Chng ti khng i chi // v // tri ma.
(Effect) v (cause)
-> We do not go out because it rains.
- Lan khng n lp // v // c y b m
-> Lan does not come to class because she is ill.
* Note:
- If the subject in two clauses is the same, it can be omitted in one of these two clauses.
- (V) b m nn Lan khng n lp
(v) (S) V nn S V
-> Because of being ill so Lan does not come to class.
- Lan b m nn khng n lp.
S V nn (S) V
This sentence can be translated into English as:
-> Lan is ill so not come to class.

1. Hi thoi (Dialogue)
At the weekend, Mary goes shopping; she wants to buy a shirt, a Vietnamese dictionary and then
some fruit.

Hi thoi 1: Mary is at a clothes shop

Saller: Cho em! Ch c th gip g cho em?

Mary: Cho ch! Em c th xem chic o mu hng kia khng ?
Saller: y! Em xem th i.
Mary: Ch i! Em c th mc th c khng ?
Saller: Em mc th i.
Mary: Trng c v hi cht mt cht, ch c c no rng hn khng?
Saller: Em ang mc th c S phi khng?
Mary: em xem , vng ng ri ch .
Saller: Th th em mc c M l va y, em th li o ny i.
Mary: Vng!
Saller: Em thy th no? C va khng?
Mary: Va ch . Bao nhiu tin chic o ny?
Saller: Chic o 110.000 em .
Mary: i! Hnh nh hi t, ch c th bt cho em mt cht c khng?
Saller: Thi c! Ch bn m hng, bt cho em 10.000.
Mary: Cm n ch!
Saller: Em c mua thm g na khng?
Mary: D khng , cho ch nh!

Hi thoi2: Mary is in the book shop

Seller: Em ang tm sch g th?

Mary: Ch i y c bn t in ting Vit khng ?
Seller: C, pha bn ny c, ch ly cho.
Mary: Em mi bt u hc ting Vit th nn dng quyn no ch nh?
Seller: Th th em nn dng quyn ny, ton nhng t thng dng thi.
Mary: Vng! Cm n ch nhiu nh. Quyn ny gi bao nhiu th ch?
Seller: Quyn ny gi 45.000 thi em .
Mary: Cm n ch . Cho ch!
Seller: Cho em!

Hi thoi 3: Mary is at the market.

Seller: Chu i! Vo y mua hoa qu cho c.

Mary: C i! Bao nhiu tin mt cn nho ?
Seller: Nho 25.000 mt cn chu . Chu mua i nho ti v ngt lm.
Mary: C bn gim cho chu nh, 20.000 mt cn thi .
Seller: Thi c bn 22.000 chu mua gip c nh?
Mary: Vng! Th c cn gip chu .
Seller: Chu mua g na khng?
Mary: D! khng . Chu cho c.
Seller: cho chu! Ln sau li vo mua hoa qu cho c nh.

Dialogue 1:
Saller: Hello! Can I help you?
Mary: Hello! Can I see that pink shirt?
Saller: Here you are.
Mary: Can I try it on?
Saller: Yes, you can.
Mary: It looks a little bit small. Do you have a bigger size?
Saller: You are trying on S size, arent you?
Mary: Let me see, yes it is.
Saller: So the M size is fit to you, can you try on this one?
Mary: Yes,
Saller: How about it? Is it fit to you?
Mary: Yes, it is. How does it cost?
Saller: It cost 110.000 VND.
Mary: Oh! It is expensive. Could you cut the price down?
Saller: Alright! It is the first purchase of day for you; I reduce 10.000 VND for you.
Mary: Thank you!
Saller: Would you like to buy more?
Mary: No, thanks and goodbye!

Dialogue 2:
Saller: Which book are you looking for?
Mary: Is there any Vietnamese dictionary here?
Saller: Yes, it is over there; let me take it for you.

Mary: I just started to learn Vietnamse, so which Dictionary should I use?
Saller: Oh! You should use this book; it is contain almost common words.
Mary: Yes, thank you very much. How much is it?
Saller: It is only 45.000 VND.
Mary: Thank you and goodbye!
Saller: Goodbye!

Dialogue 3:
Saller: Hey girl! Come to buy my fruit!
Mary: How much does a kilo of grapefruit cost?
Saller: One kilo grapefruit costs 25.000 VND. It is very fresh and sweet, you should buy it.
Mary: Could you reduce the price? 20.000 a kilo?
Saller: Alright! I wil sell it with the price of 22.000 VND, let buy it.
Mary: Yes, could you give me a kilo.
Saller: Do you need anything else?
Mary: No, thanks and goodbye!
Saller: Goodbye! Shall you come to my shop next time?

2. T mi (New words)

Vietnamese English equivalent

gip to help
xem to look, to see
chic a classifier
o (o s mi) Shirt
o phng T-Shirt
o vt Jacket
mu hng pink
mc th to try it on
hi a little bit
cht small
c size
rng Big/ large
va fit
tin money
t expensive
bt = gim gi sale off / ct the price off
bn to sale
mua to buy
bn/ mua m hng to make the first purchase
tm to search, to look for
sch ( quyn sch) book
t in dictionary
ly to take
bt u to begin
hc to learn
dng = s dng to use
quyn a classifier
Ton (ton b) all
thng dng common
gi price
qu fruit
cn Kilo
qu nho (nho) grapefruit
ti fresh
ngt sweet
ln sau next time

* Note:
- Shopping
In Vietnam, the most popular place for doing shopping is the market. There are many things
available here and you can buy anything you need from food to electrical goods. The market is
not only the place for doing shopping but also the place for meeting to exchange information,
and especially, it is a place for young people who want to find the other part of their life, the
popular market like this are Sapa love market, Khau vai love market. It is popular that
Vietnameses largest markets are ng Xun in Hanoi, ng Ba in Hue and Bn Thnh in Sai
Gon. Market is the most useful place for foreigners who want to learn Vietnamese language and
to practice.
- Vietnamese currency
The currency of Vietnam is named as ng, in the past there existed smaller monetary units

called xu and ho, but they are no longer used. At the present, the smallest banknote
denomination is 100 ng, and the biggest one is 500.000 ng. Beside that, there are some coins
in Vietnamese circulation including 200 ng, 500 ng, 1000 ng, 2000 ng and 5000 ng.
See the below system (range from the smallest to the biggest)
Paper money Coin
100 ng
200 ng 200 ng
500 ng 500 ng
1000 ng 1000 ng
2000 ng 2000 ng
5000 ng 5000 ng
10 000 ng
20 000 ng
50 000 ng
100 000 ng
200 000 ng
500 000 ng

3. Ng php (Grammar)


Vietnamese uses a system of classifiers to indicate word classes of nouns. It sounds slightly
complecated at first but the below examples show that it is not too difficult.
* Usage of classifiers:
- Use to specify an object, a person, an animal, etc. in specific case.
Specific reference General reference
Con ch ca ti rt p Ch l loi ng vt thng minh
-> My dog is very beautiful -> Dog is an intelligent animal
This statement refers to a specific dog, i.e. This statement there is no specific dog is refered to,
my dog; therefore the classifier con is dog here is refered as a species; therefore no
used. classifier is used.

3.2.Classifiers stand before the noun they classify classifier + noun

Con mo -> a cat
Ci bn -> a table
i giy -> a pair of shoes

3.3.When the statement refers to the certain number of object, animal, etc. the classifiers
is used normally and placed after the number.

Ba con mo -> three cats
Nm ci bn -> five tables
Hai i giy -> two pair of shoes
Sometimes, classifiers can stand without nouns, but it occurs in clear context in which they refer
- Quyn sch ny rt hay, cho t mn quyn ny nh.
Classifier noun classifier
-> This book is very interesting, may I borrow it?
The below are the most common classifiers:
Classifiers Usage Examples
Ci Used for most ainanimate objects ci (umbrella), ci ba (hammer), ci inh
(srew), etc
Con Usually for animals, but can be used con dao (knife), con ng (street), con mo
to describe some inanimate object (cat), etc.
Bi Used for copositions like songs, bi ht (song), bi th (poem), etc.
drawings, poems, essays, etc.
Cy Used for stick like objects cy tre ( bamboo), cay ma (cane), cy sng
(gun), etc
Chic Object that are worn or moved by chic gh (chair), chic xe (car), chic o
people (shirt), etc.
Ta Building of authority ta n (court), ta nh (hall), ta thp (tower)
Qu/ tri Used for globular objects (Earth, qu/ tri t (the Earth), qu xoi
fruit) (mango)(fruits)
quy n/ Used for book-like object quyn sch (book), quyn v (notebook),
cun quyn nht k (diary), etc.
T Used for sheets and other thin objects t bo (newspaper), t giy (paper), t lch
made of paper (calendar), etc.
Vic an event or an ongoing process vic ci xin (wedding ceremony)
Cuc Used for process, activity like sport, cuc chin tranh (war), cuc thi hoa hu
contests, meetings, parties, (beauty contest), cuc cch mng (revolution),
struggles... etc.
i Used for objects always come in set i giy ( pair of shoes) i a ( pair of
of two chopstick), etc.

B Used for a set of group objects b bn gh (set of table and chair), b m
chn (tea-set)
Tm Rectangular flat piece of material, tm vi (cloth), tm g (wood), etc.
with cloth, boards, etc.
Bc Flat and rectangular objects Bc th (letter), bc tranh (picture), etc.

- Besides, the classifier ci has a special role in that it can extend all other classifiers e.g. ci
con mo ny (this cat), ci chic o ny (this shirt), etc.
- Many other words can fulfil the role of a classifier:
~ Containers: hp (box), chai (bottle), bt (bowl), m (kettle), cc (glass)
~ Unit of language: t (word), cu (sentence), ting (sound).
~ Spartial unit: ch (place), lp (class), phng (room), nc (country).
~ Time unit: ba (meal), ln (time), gi (hour), pht (minute), ngy (day), ma (season), thng
(month), nm (year).

3.4. Bao nhiu tin? How much?

To ask for price of thing, Vietnamese often uses the question which forms of the word bao
nhiu tin. See the form below:
CN + (gi) + bao nhiu (tin)?
S + (cost) + how much?

- Chic o ny bao nhiu tin? -> How much is this shirt?
- Quyn sch ny bao nhiu tin? -> How much is this book?
- Bao nhiu tin mt cn nho? -> How much is a kilo of grapefruit?
It can be placed at the beginning or at the very end of the question, but do not change the
meaning of question.
See below examples:
- Chic o ny bao nhiu tin? -> How much is this shirt?
- Bao nhiu tin chic o ny? -> How much is this shirt?
Sometimes, the word gi is added before bao nhiu tin, or the word tin can be omitted.
- Chic o ny gi bao nhiu (tin)? -> How much does this shirt cost?
- Quyn sch ny gi bao nhiu (tin)? -> How much does this book cost?
Have you relize how to answer this question, look again the dialogue and you will see the way to
answer. It is very simple if follow these below order:
CN + gi + s tin
S + cost + money

Example: See the answer of these above questions.

- Chic o ny gi 110.000 ng. -> This shirt costs 110.000 VND.
- Quyn sch ny gi 45.000 ng -> this book costs 45.000 VND.
- Mt cn nho gi 25.000 ng -> One kilo grapefruit costs 25.000 VND.
* Note:

In some case, the word gi can be omitted, e.g. Chic o 110.000 ng.
It is not necessary that the answer has to follow the above order, it can be changed or shortened
as shown in the below examples:
- 25.000 ng mt cn nho. -> 25.000 VND for one kilo grapefruit.
- 110.000 chic o . -> 110.000 VND for that shirt.
- 45.000 quyn sch . -> 45.000 VND for that book.
Short answer like:
A: Nho bao nhiu tin mt cn?
B: 25.000 ng.
A: How much is one kilo grapefruit?
B: 25.000 VND.
In this case the both seller and buyer all know exactly thing, but it occurs in spoken language.

3.5.Quantifier: mt cht, mt t (a) few, (a) little.

The using of quantifier in Vietnamese is not so different from that in English, there are two types
of quantifiers, one is used for count noun and the other is used for non-count noun.
The most common quantifiers are:
Used with count noun Used with non-count noun
Mt vi Mt lt (used for time only)
Mt lc (used for time only)
Mt cht
Mt t
Mt t

The position of the quantifiers is before the nouns

- Mt vi ci bnh -> A few cakes
- Vi ci ko -> some sweets
- Mt cht ng -> a little sugar
- Mt t mui -> a little salt
- Mt t kem -> a little cream
Exceptionally, mt lt, mt lc are the quantifiers for time only therefore they are no longer
need the existence of the noun time,
- i ti mt lt -> wait me for some minutes.
- Ti i bn c mt lc ri -> I am waiting for you for some minutes.
In the clear context when the conversation attendants all know the thing they refer to, the
quantifiers can stand alone without the noun

- Mary points to a pack of sweet and says to Lan: cho t vi ci nh Can I have some?. In this
case, Mary does not need to refer to sweet, but Lan can understand Mary wants some sweet


Vietnamese for foreigners, viewed 15 September 2012,