Vietnamese Language Lessons: An Introduction

Posted on September 04, 2014 by Admin in Vietnam Travel Tips tagged Vietnamese, Language
Vietnamese Language Lessons: An Introduction

Vietnamese is not the easiest language in the world to learn. It’s completely tonal with pronunciations that vary not only between the North and South of the country, but also the cities, villages… even wards within small villages. What does this mean? If you learn something in Hanoi, it’s going to be spoken and understood differently than in Ho Chi Minh City. If you learn something in Da Nang City, it may not necessarily be said or understood the same way in Hoi An… which is only 30 minutes down the road! Such variations can make learning Vietnamese quite difficult and confusing (even more than it already is for foreigners).

Vietnam has acclimated very well to foreign tourism and most travelers through the country will have a relatively easy time getting by with just English. If you’re traveling with us, all our guides have an excellent grasp on the English language, so you’ll never have to rely on speaking broken Vietnamese or pantomiming what it is you’re looking for… don’t worry!

However, many foreign tourists find that speaking a bit of Vietnamese allows them to connect with locals and therefore helps them enjoy their time in Vietnam much more. You don’t need to study up or stress too much about knowing Vietnamese before you travel to Vietnam, but if you’d like to have some language under your belt, here are some of the best words and phrases to know!

(English word, Vietnamese Translation, How it Sounds in Vietnamese)

Hello: Xin chào/ Sing Chow

Hey: chào/ Chow

How are you (basic): Khỏe không? / Kway Kahwm?

How much is it: Bao nhiêu tiền? / Bow Nyeew Tee-uhn?

What time is it: Mấy giờ rồi? / My Yah Roy

1-10: một, hai, ba, bốn, năm, sáu, bảy, tám, chin, mười /// mote, hi, bah, bone, nahm, sow, bye, tom (like the name), ching, moo-ee

Thank you: Cảm ơn / Come On

Excuse me/I’m Sorry: Xin lỗi / Sin Loy

Help!: Giúp đỡ! / Yup Doh!!

No: Không / Kahwm

Yes: Vâng / Vong

_(any location)_ Is Where?: ________ ở đâu /// _______ Aw Dow?

Coffee: Cà phê / café

Black Coffee (Hot): Cà phê đen (nóng) / Cafe den nahm

Black Iced Coffee: Cà phê đen đá / Cafe den dah

Milk Coffee (Hot): Cà phê sữa (nóng) / Cafe soo-ah nahm

Iced Milk Coffee: Cà phê sữa đá / Cafe soo-ah da… If you want it extra tall, ask for Cà phê sữa đá Saigon!

Tea: Trà / chah

Water: Nước / Nook

Ice: đá / Dah

Glass of Ice: Ly đá / Lee Dah

Beer: Bia / Bee-uh

Bottle: chai (sounds the same)

Can: lon / Luhn

Check (Bill) Please!: tính tìen! / Tin Tee-uhn!

I Don’t Want it: Tôi không muốn / Doy Kahwm Moo-uhn

I Don’t Want to Buy It: tôi không mua / Doy Kahwm Moo-uh

Bicycle: Xe đạp / Say Dahp

Motorbike: Xe máy / Say My

Walk: đi bộ / Dee Boh (like bow and arrow)

Good: tốt / tote

Bad: Không tốt / (Kahwm tote)

Too Expensive: đắt quá / Duck-Wah!

I Like: Tôi thích / Doy Tick
Happy: Vui / Voo-ee

Sad: Buồn / Boon

Tired: mệt / Met