Get 40% Off With The Epic Sale. Ends Soon!
Get 40% Off With The Epic Sale. Ends Soon!
VietnamesePod101.com Blog
Learn Vietnamese with Free Daily
Audio and Video Lessons!
Start Your Free Trial 6 FREE Features

Archive for the 'Learn Vietnamese' Category

How to Improve Your Conversation Skills in Vietnamese

Thumbnail

Opportunities are typically provided to individuals who are nice and confident. That’s why improving conversation skills allows you to comfortably engage anyone. Conversations should be enjoyable. They entail one-on-one conversations between two or more people regarding a topic of mutual interest.

However, many people are afraid of conducting dialogues. They’re worried that they won’t be able to keep the discussion going or that they just simply don’t know a lot of Vietnamese words and phrases. Wondering how to improve your conversational skills in Vietnamese even when you learn Vietnamese online? These skills can not only be learned and developed but are also surprisingly simple to do so, and we Vietnamese native speakers use them a lot.

Log in to Download Your Free Cheat Sheet - Beginner Vocabulary in Vietnamese Table of Contents
  1. Tone-The Soul of the Vietnamese Language
  2. Be Friendly and Polite
  3. Making Yes/No questions
  4. Create Emotional Connections

1. Tone-The Soul of the Vietnamese Language

A Woman Is Confused about What the Man Next to Her Is Saying.

In Vietnamese language learning, you’ll notice that Vietnamese is a tonal language. That’s why pronouncing tones correctly is critical because they decide the meaning of Vietnamese words and phrases. Even Vietnamese native speakers have different ways of pronouncing the tones depending on the location. There are six tones in Vietnamese, with five tone marks.

  • Thanh Ngang (Mid-Level Tone): no tone mark
  • Thanh Huyền (Low Falling Tone):
  • Thanh Sắc (High Rising Tone): /
  • Thanh Hỏi (Low Rising Tone): ? a question mark without a dot 
  • Thanh Ngã (High Broken Tone): ~
  • Thanh Nặng (Heavy Tone):  .

This is an example of a single word with different meanings if it goes with different tones.

  • Mai : Tomorrow

Ví dụ : 
Mai tôi sẽ nói chuyện kỹ hơn với anh
(I’ll speak to you more clearly tomorrow.)

  • Mài : to sharpen

Ví dụ : 
Tôi đang mài dao
(I’m sharpening the knife)

  • Mái : roof

Ví dụ : 
Có một lỗ thủng trên mái
(There’s a hole on the roof)

  • Mải : focusing

Ví dụ : 
Thằng bé mải chơi game quên cả học bài
(The boy was so focused on playing video games that he forgot to study.)

  • Mãi : forever

Ví dụ : 
Mong hai bạn mãi hạnh phúc bên nhau
(I hope you two are happy together forever.)

  • Khuyến mại : Promotion/sale off

Ví dụ : 
Sản phẩm này đang được khuyến mại 20%
(This product is 20% off)

2. Be Friendly and Polite

Don’t you enjoy talking to someone who wholeheartedly shows hospitality and politeness? In addition, it’s very common to see Asian people or Vietnamese native speakers speaking English fluently, but it’s very rare to see a foreigner speaking Vietnamese correctly. That’s why we’re often extremely excited and impressed that someone is learning our language, even if they’re learning Vietnamese online, and it’s absolutely normal to enrich their journey by supporting them. Being friendly and polite to locals is therefore definitely helpful when learning Vietnamese.

There are several ways to say “Hello” and “How are you?” in spoken Vietnamese, and they always work to improve your Vietnamese speaking skills.

A Young Girl Waving a Hand
  • Chào em, chào anh/chị, chào cô/chú/bác, chào ông/bà : Hello
  • Ê : Yo/hey (for close friends)
  • Lâu rồi không gặp : Long time no see (for someone you haven’t seen for a while)
  • Bạn có khỏe không : How are you (for anyone)?
  • Khỏe không? : You’re good? (for friends)
  • Có gì mới không : What’s up (for friends)?
  • Dạo này thế nào rồi? : How have you been? (for friends)
  • Ngày hôm nay của bạn thế nào? : How has your day been? (for anyone)
  • Rất vui được gặp lại bạn : It’s nice to see you again (for anyone).

  Now you can stop saying Xin chào and use any of the Vietnamese words and phrases above to impress Vietnamese native speakers.

3. Making Yes/No questions

Yes/No questions in Vietnamese are super easy to make. Preparing some questions before meeting any Vietnamese native speakers in your mind is a life changer. There was a time when I was hanging out with some foreign friends, and my English wasn’t really good at the moment because I was learning Vietnamese online. I still remember that, besides actively listening to what they were saying, I would focus on the topic to formulate some questions to clarify or ask for more information. The conversations always went well.

What Yes/No looks like in Vietnamese : 

  • Có, ừ, vâng, dạ, rồi (Yes) “Vâng/ dạ” is used when talking to older people, whereas “Có/ ừ/  rồi” is for friends.
  • Không, chưa (No)

In your Vietnamese language learning journey, remember that if you want to show respect to older Vietnamese native speakers, always add “ạ” at the end of the sentence when speaking. Writing, on the other hand, doesn’t require “ạ” all the time as it’s considered redundant.

Question Marks on Paper Crafts

Now let’s see how many types of Yes/No questions there are in the Vietnamese language. The tip is to remember a few key Vietnamese words and phrases below.

– Tag questions : questions that end with “à/phải không/đúng không”

Ví dụ: 

  • Bạn là học sinh mới  à? (Are you a new student?)
    (Yes): For friends
    Không (No)
  • Em là học sinh à? (Are you a new student?)
    Vâng ạ (Yes): For older people
    Không ạ (No)
  • Bạn học tiếng Việt ở trên mạng đúng không? (Did you learn Vietnamese on the internet?)
    (Yes): For friends
    Không (No)

– Questions that have + động từ (verb) + không? (Do you …)

Ví dụ: 

  • Bạn laptop không? (Do you have a laptop?)
    (Yes)
    Không (No)
  • Bạn thích đi du lịch không? (Do you like travelling?)
    (Yes)
    Không (No)
  • Bạn lái xe không? (Do you drive?)
    (Yes)
    Không (No)

– Questions that end with “chưa”: questions in the Present perfect tense. 

In this case, instead of saying “Không” for “No,” remember that we always use “Chưa” instead, unless you don’t plan to do it at all.

  • Bạn đã ăn cơm chưa? (Have you eaten)
    Rồi (Yes): meaning you have eaten.
    Chưa (No): meaning you haven’t eaten.
    Không ăn (No): meaning you plan to skip.

4. Create Emotional Connections

Telling stories or putting away distractions are some of the most effective ways to show respect to Vietnamese native speakers, create deeper connections, and improve conversation skills. Let’s practice this technique in your Vietnamese language learning journey by breaking it down into small techniques as below:

Khen ngợi: Giving compliments

A thoughtful and kind compliment can make someone’s day. Here are some examples that you can immediately use with any native Vietnamese speaker in your Vietnamese language learning journey. 

  • Em làm tốt lắm: You did a good job (For younger people)
  • Anh/chị nhiệt tình quá: You’re very enthusiastic.
  • Cảm ơn anh/chị đã mời em ăn tối: Thank you for dinner.
  • Màu này hợp với anh/em lắm : This color suits you a lot. 
  • Hôm nay em rất đẹp: You look beautiful today (for women)
  • Anh/chị dùng nước hoa gì thế? What perfume are you wearing?
  • Đợt này nhìn da chị thích thế? Your skin looks really nice lately.
  • Con bé nhà anh/chị học giỏi thật đấy : Your child is doing really well in school.

If you want to practice pronunciation too when you learn Vietnamese online, follow my instructions by clicking here for more details.

A Woman Reading a Greeting Card

Sử dụng thán từ : Using Exclamations

Thán từ” are Vietnamese words and phrases used to emphasize your feelings and develop your Vietnamese conversation skills, which are not often mentioned when you learn Vietnamese online. Although it’s a little bit challenging for learners to naturally apply them in conversations in Vietnamese at first, it’s always fun to experiment and see how native speakers react to your efforts, isn’t it?

  • Thật á (Really): To show surprise/fear

Ví dụ : 

    Tao bị giật điện thoại rồi (My phone was stolen)
    Thật á? (Really?)
  • Ôi giời ơi (Oh my god): To show surprise/fear

Ví dụ : 

    Ôi giời ơi, mày làm tao giật cả mình (Oh my God, you scared me)

  • Cái gì (What): To ask for repetition

Ví dụ : 

    Đi ăn không? (Wanna go grab something to eat?)
    Cái gì? (What?)
  • Làm sao (What?): To tease someone or to ask for clarification

Ví dụ : 

    Bật nhỏ tivi thôi! (Turn down the TV)
    Làm sao? (What?)
  • Vãi (What the): To show surprise/fear

Ví dụ : 

    Con nhỏ đó cặp với ông kia lớn tuổi lắm (That girl is dating a very old man).
    Vãi… (What the …)
  • Ôi/Uầy (Oh my): To show surprise/fear 

Ví dụ : 

    Macbook Pro bây giờ hơn 40 triệu mày ạ (MacBook Pro now is over 40 million)
    Uầy, chát nhờ… (Oh my, it cost an arm and a leg…)
  • Thôi xong (Crap): To show surprise/fear

Ví dụ : 

    Mai kiểm tra một tiết nhé (There’s a 45-minute test tomorrow).
    Thôi xong! (Crap!)
  • Ôi mẹ ơi : Oh mama : To show surprise/fear

Ví dụ : 

    Sẽ hơi đau một chút đó (It’s going to be a little painful)
    Ôi mẹ ơi (Oh mama)
  • Không!!! (Oh no): To show surprise

Ví dụ : 

    Sáng mai dậy sớm nhé (Let’s wake up early tomorrow)
    Không!!! (Oh no!!!)
  • Điên à (Are you crazy?): To show surprise

Ví dụ : 

    Cho tao vay 100 triệu đi sửa mũi  (Lend me 100 million to get my nose job)
    Điên à? (Are you crazy?)
  • Hoan hô (Bravo): To celebrate something

Ví dụ : 

    Em tao đỗ đại học rồi (My sister got into college)
    Hoan hô!!! (Bravo!!!)
  • Thông minh (Brilliant): To recognize someone’s great idea 

Ví dụ : 

    Cách này nhanh hơn đấy (This way is faster)
    Thông minh! (Brilliant!)

A Men Pointing up to Light Bulbs on the Wall

Sử dụng các từ đệm : Using Filler words

Filler words can sometimes be frustrating for listeners if they’re overused. However, it can be a great tool to buy time or think of what to say next, especially when learning Vietnamese, which is not mentioned much when you learn Vietnamese online. Using filler words can be easy if you remember these tips.  

First, don’t try to add filler Vietnamese words and phrases to every sentence. It can be an overwhelming conversation in Vietnamese. Instead, speaking slowly and smoothly will help improve your fluency while giving you some time to catch up with the tones. 

Second, use your facial expressions or adjust your tone to emphasize the main idea of your speech, not the filler Vietnamese words and phrases. It will distract people from focusing on your hesitance instead.

Lastly, repeat the questions or the sentences once you don’t completely understand the meaning. Vietnamese people are very friendly, and we’re always willing to support you if you need it. 

By the way, here are some filler words [youtube video] that are commonly used with examples:

  • Kiểu như là, hay là, hoặc là : it’s like/or

Ví dụ:

    Hôm qua anh ấy nói chuyện với tôi kiểu như là có gì đó khó nói lắm.
    (He talked to me yesterday as if it was like there was something difficult to tell.)
  • Hiểu không? : got it?

Ví dụ:

    Ý tôi là chúng ta cần phải bàn kỹ hơn việc này, hiểu không?
    (What I mean is we need to discuss it more carefully, get it?)
  • Đúng không? : right?

Ví dụ: 

    Em đang làm việc. Anh cứ nhắn tin làm sao em tập trung được, đúng không?
    (I’m working. How can I focus if you keep texting me, right?)
  • Nói chung là : basically

Ví dụ : 

    Anh phải xem lại bản kế hoạch đã rồi mới trả lời em được. Nói chung đợt này anh bận lắm. 
    (I have to double-check the plan, then I can answer you. Basically, I’ve been busy lately)
  • Là, thì : so, then

Ví dụ :

    Tóm lại (là), chúng ta cần phải thanh toán hết cho họ. 
    To sum up, we need to pay them off.
  • Xong rồi : and then

Ví dụ :

    Em ăn đã, xong rồi em sẽ gọi lại cho anh
    I’m eating, then I’ll call you later.

No matter how many Vietnamese words and phrases you know, it doesn’t make any sense if you don’t have conversations in Vietnamese every day and really own them. Vietnamese is, interestingly, a highly customizable language. What I mean is, that even pronouns or verbs can be reduced sometimes, and it’s still understandable. Are you curious how so? Keep in touch, and I’ll tell you in future blogs. 

Don’t forget to visit VietnamesePod101.com often for a better experience and to improve your conversation in Vietnamese. We provide plenty of audio lessons and vocabulary lists to enrich your lexicon. 

Enjoy learning!

Log in to Download Your Free Cheat Sheet - Beginner Vocabulary in Vietnamese

Vietnamese Conversation Starters for Deeper Connections

Thumbnail

Why keep saying “Xin chào” to Vietnamese native speakers when there are countless ways to start a conversation? Strangers are everywhere no matter if you’re at a party, on the first day at work, or on a first date. Starting a conversation can be scary sometimes, especially with introverts and Vietnamese people. It sounds weird but true. Vietnamese native speakers tend to be shy and less active when talking to new people. 

However, no need to bother whether you’re an absolute beginner or an intermediate, in the Vietnamese language learning framework, Vietnamese conversation starters can be easier to apply than you thought.

Needless to say that choosing the right personal pronoun to address people is a must in Vietnamese language learning. Interestingly, Vietnamese native speakers start talking by guessing how old the other person is so that they can call them properly. This shows the diversity of the Vietnamese language compared to others. More importantly, using the right tone is useful in this case to help you avoid awkwardness. Don’t panic! We have the list of conversation starters in Vietnamese language learning broken down by the 4 most common situations where you can comfortably start a conversation without hesitance. Ready? Keep reading!

Log in to Download Your Free Cheat Sheet - Beginner Vocabulary in Vietnamese Table of Contents
  1. You’re Single and Ready to Mingle!
  2. Conversation Starters for Socializing
  3. Conversation Starters for First Day at Work
  4. Conversation Starters to Reconnect with a Friend through Text or Email
  5. Conclusion

1. You’re Single and Ready to Mingle!

A Woman and a Man Having Coffee

The truth is, talking about yourself too much on the first date is considered impolite in Vietnam sometimes. Instead, Vietnamese native speakers preferred to be listened to and received compliments. Then what to ask on the first date without being rude when learning Vietnamese? Here are some examples for your Vietnamese speaking exercises:

  • Công việc của em/anh thế nào? (How’s your job?/What’s your job like?)

Asking about someone’s work is one of the safest Vietnamese conversation topics when starting a conversation in Vietnam. We all spend 8 hours per day working. Thus, no need to worry at all when asking “Công việc của em/anh thế nào?” because it’s quite comfortable to share some typical things at the office that we do every day. 

Another version for it when learning Vietnamese can be : 

  • Bình thường ở công ty công việc chính của em/anh là gì? (Normally what are your main duties at the company?)

Once the person is willing to share about their job, he/she will probably want to talk about more personal Vietnamese conversation topics such as family. The next opening questions could be: 

  • Gia đình em/anh như thế nào? (How is your family?/What is your family like?)
  • Em/Anh kể về gia đình anh/em đi (Tell me about your family)
  • Em/anh có anh chị em gì không? (Do you have any siblings?)
  • Anh/chị em/anh làm gì? (What does your brother/sister do?)

The technique here is to ask questions that end with “thế nào” (how) or “gì”(what) so that the person has a chance to talk more than just saying Yes or No. Forget about “Em tên là gì” (What’s your name?) or “Em bao nhiêu tuổi” (How old are you?). They’re boring. Instead, get to the point, and you’ll be surprised that it works better than traditional ways of Vietnamese language learning. Cooking can also be a nice Vietnamese conversation topic to talk to Vietnamese women about, who doesn’t enjoy eating and cooking?

A Couple Sharing Drinks on a Date at a Restaurant

Now, bear in mind that compliments always work. But how do you make your compliments sound sincere and less fake? Take a look at this one when learning Vietnamese:

  • Em dùng nước hoa gì vậy, anh thích mùi này (What perfume are you wearing? I like this scent)

Vietnamese native speakers would love to hear that someone likes their scent, no matter if they’re wearing cologne or not. Please note that a nice scent can come from clothes, hair, or oil also. Showing that you care about little things is a great way to show affection towards the person, especially for women. No matter where you are or who you’re talking to, starting a conversation with a compliment is always the best. Don’t forget to practice your Vietnamese speaking exercises with this kind of sentence. 

Men, on the other hand, are slightly different. Things like watches, shirts, or shoes are ways for them to show their style. Therefore, a simple compliment can make their day:

  • Anh đeo đồng hồ hợp lắm (You look good wearing a watch)

Once a Vietnamese man wears a watch, he loves watches, and nothing sounds better than knowing his style is appreciated. Your conversation can start smoother than ever. Note that when learning Vietnamese!

Other examples that will also work:

  • Em mặc váy trông rất hợp (Dresses suit you a lot)
  • Em có đôi mắt rất đẹp (You have very beautiful eyes)
  • Công việc của anh thú vị ghê (Your job sounds very interesting)

What not to say on the first date

We’re not done yet. You don’t want to sound rude on the first date by talking about Vietnamese conversation-sensitive topics. Here are a few things that you may want to avoid when learning Vietnamese. In case the date is already a disaster, this happens to be helpful for you to get out of it. 

  • Lương của em một tháng được bao nhiêu? (How much is your salary?)

A guy asked me on our first date how much I made per month when we were at the cinema. Apparently, I’ve never seen him ever since. It’s not about the question, it’s about the intention of wanting to know how much a woman makes on the first meeting. It would make more sense if it was the tenth date. Nevertheless, asking about someone’s financial status is not a good idea at all if you don’t want to ruin your conversation. 

  • Em có biết tại sao Việt Nam lại có cả thủ tướng và chủ tịch nước không? (Do you know why Vietnam has both a prime minister and a president?)

Talking about politics is not that bad if the person is familiar with it. In case he or she is not a big fan of politics, your conversation can be boring, and it will come to an end. Furthermore, changing the topic can be tricky at this point. Therefore, try to avoid politics unless you clearly know your partner is interested. 

  • Em yêu mấy người rồi? (How many guys were you in a relationship with?) 

This is a disaster. Personal relationship status is a big deal in Vietnam. Even if someone is comfortable sharing it, it’s a terrible idea to ask such a question on the first date. There is a rumor that Vietnamese girls usually say three when being asked this question. Wondering why? Two is a bit too little, and four is a little too many. Three, therefore, is a suitable number. God knows how many they actually dated.

  • Không trang điểm trông em xin hơn đấy (You look better without makeup)

When you’re dating already, this means a lot to Vietnamese women because not everyone knows how to do makeup. Saying she looks better without makeup is highly appreciated because you’re saying she’s naturally beautiful. HOWEVER, saying that someone looks better without makeup on the first date in Vietnam indicates that she looks terrible with her makeup on, which is very rude to say to be honest. Now you know why! Again, remember not to use this type of sentence in your Vietnamese speaking exercises.

Relax! Let’s move on to the second situation, where I’ll show you detailed steps from the beginning to the end of a conversation in Vietnamese language learning. 

2. Conversation Starters for Socializing

3 Friends Socializing Over Lunch

When learning Vietnamese, these 5 steps are typical techniques to connect with someone for the first time, whether you’re at a party, a social event, or even at a club. Remember that follow-up questions are highly recommended to extend the conversation and have more ideas for the next Vietnamese conversation topics. The good news is that slang terms can be used in this case to impress people. Now, let’s start with the very first step of Vietnamese language learning – Greetings, the basic one. 

Step 1: Greetings 

  • Chào em/Chào anh (Hi)
  • Anh tên là/Em tên là (I’m [name])

Instead of saying Xin chào (Hello), Chào anh/em sounds closer and friendlier. In addition, using Anh – Em is a great way to start a conversation because it’s common to address each other Anh – Em in a relationship. You have just shortened the distance by using 2 simple words. 

Also, greeting does not mean you have to say “Hi” all the time. Remember the “get to the point” technique above? Here are some examples: 

  • Hôm nay nhạc chơi hay nhỉ (The music today is nice, isn’t it?) – At a club or a party
  • Đồ uống ở đây pha ngon (Drinks are made well here)
  • Em đi với bạn hay đi một mình (Do you come with friends or you’re here alone?)

Step 2: Asking for more information

  • Em/anh đến đây lâu chưa?(How long have you been here?)
  • Em/anh học/làm ở đâu? (Where do you study/work?)
  • Em/anh có hay đến đây chơi không? (Do you often hang out here?)

Step 3: Asking about common hobbies

  • Lúc rảnh anh/em thích làm gì? (What do you like to do in your free time?)
  • Em/anh thích ăn gì? (What do you like to eat/what’s your favorite food?)
  • Em/anh có thích … không? (Do you like + examples?)

Step 4: Making an appointment using Let’s structure in Vietnamese.

  • Tuần sau em/anh có rảnh không? (Are you free next week?), đi xem phim đi (let’s go watch movies)
  • Hôm nào em/anh rảnh? (When are you available?)
  • Anh có thể mời em đi uống cà phê được không? (May I invite you out for coffee sometime?)

Step 5: Asking for contact

  • Em/anh có dùng Zalo không? (Do you use Zalo?)
  • Em có dùng + [mạng xã hội] không? (Do you use any + [social network])?

Besides, knowing basic etiquette in Vietnam will also get you on the way to becoming more familiar with anyone you talk to for the first time when learning Vietnamese. It shows how much you care about the cultures as well as the people and this is an exact approach. Don’t forget to practice your Vietnamese speaking exercises with this kind of sentence.

3. Conversation Starters for First Day at Work

A Supervisor Helping an Employee with Something on Their Computer

On the other hand, talking at work requires higher techniques in some other situations when learning Vietnamese. Asking too many questions on the first day at work might be considered bad manners or a sign of inexperience in Vietnam. Instead, making smart questions and spending time to self-study before asking is a good way to remember things and get to know the job. Instead of asking only, people can make requests, and use How or multiple-choice questions when learning Vietnamese. Details are as follows:

Example 1: Asking where something is by making requests

  • Anh chỉ giúp em phòng Marketing với ạ (Please show me the Marketing Department)
  • Chị đi cùng em lên phòng điều hành nhé (Please go with me to the Operations Department)
  • Phòng Kế toán ở tầng 3 hay tầng 4 ý nhỉ (Is the Accounting Department on the 3rd or 4th floor?)
  • Anh share giúp em thư mục … nhé (Please share with me the … folder)

Example 2: Making How questions

  • Bình thường anh lưu trữ tài liệu thế nào ạ? (How do you often store documents?)
  • Quy trình xin hoá đơn bên công ty mình như thế nào ạ? (What is the process of applying for invoicing in our company like?)
  • Chị lên lịch dự án như thế nào ạ? (How do you schedule projects?)

Example 3: Using multiple choice questions by asking for specific cultures

  • Mọi người hay mang cơm hay là ra ngoài ăn trưa? (Do you usually bring food or go out for lunch?)
  • Ngày nghỉ mọi người thường hay đi ăn hay tối hay là đi cà phê? (Do you usually go out for dinner or drink coffee on your days off?)
  • Phòng mình có hay uống trà sữa không? (Do you often drink milk tea?)

Another technique that might help when starting conversations when learning Vietnamese is to show interest by using exclamations. Remember that the little things matter, especially for conversation starters in Vietnamese. 

Besides, do you know that Vietnamese native speakers are religious sometimes? Knowing someone’s age and the 12 Zodiac animals is an interesting tool. We’ll have a bunch of things to talk about the 12 Zodiac animals in another blog. 

4. Conversation Starters to Reconnect with a Friend through Text or Email 

Starting a conversation after a long time with someone can be awkward. Vietnamese native speakers sometimes call very old friends to invite them to their wedding or even… borrow money. How to start a conversation in this case without reluctance for both? These are some common questions in Vietnamese language learning to reconnect with someone you haven’t seen for a while.

A Woman Texting Someone and Smiling

Common questions : 

  • Khoẻ không? (Are you doing well?)
  • Dạo này thế nào rồi (How have you been doing lately?)
  • Có gì mới không (Anything new?)
  • Công việc dạo này thế nào rồi? (How has your work been?)
  • Sắp tới có dự định gì không? (Do you have any plans in the near future?)

Here are some extra questions if you want to be more specific

  • Em bé dạo này ngoan không? (Is the baby good these days?)
  • Công việc của ông xã thế nào rồi? (How is your husband’s work) 
  • Ba mẹ bạn khoẻ không? (Are your parents doing okay?)

5. Conclusion

Once you both could feel the vibe, it is easier to move on to another Vietnamese conversation topic. Think of all the common things you’ve had together and naturally share your thoughts or reasons for why you haven’t connected for a while. Most people you have a good relationship with will also quickly get involved in the conversations.

Mindful conversation starters are best for deepening relationships and encouraging meaningful talks, whether with newcomers, family members, or friends. What are some of your favorite questions to ask or answer? Share them in the comment below and visit VietnamesePod101.com for more learning materials.

Log in to Download Your Free Cheat Sheet - Beginner Vocabulary in Vietnamese

Vietnamese Keyboard: How to Install and Type in Vietnamese

Thumbnail

You asked, so we provided—easy-to-follow instructions on how to set up your electronic devices to write in Vietnamese! We’ll also give you a few excellent tips on how to use this keyboard, as well as some online and app alternatives if you prefer not to set up a Vietnamese keyboard.

Log in to Download Your Free Vietnamese Alphabet Worksheet Table of Contents
  1. Why it’s Important to Learn to Type in Vietnamese
  2. Setting up Your Computer and Mobile Devices for Vietnamese
  3. How to Activate an Onscreen Keyboard on Your Computer
  4. How to Change the Language Settings to Vietnamese on Your Computer
  5. Activating the Vietnamese Keyboard on Your Mobile Phone and Tablet
  6. Vietnamese Keyboard Typing Tips
  7. How to Practice Typing Vietnamese

1. Why it’s Important to Learn to Type in Vietnamese

A keyboard

Learning a new language is made so much easier when you’re able to read and write/type it. This way, you will:

  • Get the most out of any dictionary and Vietnamese language apps on your devices
  • Expand your ability to find Vietnamese websites and use the various search engines
  • Be able to communicate much better online with your Vietnamese teachers and friends, and look super cool in the process! 

2. Setting up Your Computer and Mobile Devices for Vietnamese

A phone charging on a dock

It takes only a few steps to set up any of your devices to read and type in Vietnamese. It’s super-easy on your mobile phone and tablet, and a simple process on your computer.

On your computer, you’ll first activate the onscreen keyboard to work with. You’ll only be using your mouse or touchpad/pointer for this keyboard. Then, you’ll need to change the language setting to Vietnamese, so all text will appear in Vietnamese. You could also opt to use online keyboards instead. Read on for the links!

On your mobile devices, it’s even easier—you only have to change the keyboard. We also provide a few alternatives in the form of online keyboards and downloadable apps.

3. How to Activate an Onscreen Keyboard on Your Computer

1- Mac

1. Go to System Preferences > Keyboard.

2. Check the option “Show Keyboard & Character Viewers in Menu Bar.”

3. You’ll see a new icon on the right side of the main bar; click on it and select “Show Keyboard Viewer.”

A screenshot of the keyboard viewer screen

2- Windows

1. Go to Start > Settings > Easy Access > Keyboard.

2. Turn on the option for “Onscreen Keyboard.”

3- Online Keyboards

If you don’t want to activate your computer’s onscreen keyboard, you also have the option to use online keyboards. Here are some good options:

4- Add-ons of Extensions for Browsers

Instead of an online keyboard, you could also choose to download a Google extension to your browser for a language input tool. The Google Input Tools extension allows users to use input tools in Chrome web pages, for example.

4. How to Change the Language Settings to Vietnamese on Your Computer

Man looking at his computer

Now that you’re all set to work with an onscreen keyboard on your computer, it’s time to download the Vietnamese language pack for your operating system of choice:

  • Windows 8 (and higher)
  • Windows 7
  • Mac (OS X and higher)

1- Windows 8 (and higher)

  1. Go to “Settings” > “Change PC Settings” > “Time & Language” > “Region & Language.”
  2. Click on “Add a Language” and select “Vietnamese.” This will add it to your list of languages. It will appear as Tiếng Việt with the note “language pack available.”
  3. Click on “Tiếng Việt” > “Options” > “Download.” It’ll take a few minutes to download and install the language pack.
  4. As a keyboard layout, you’ll only need the one marked as “Vietnamese – Tiếng Việt.” You can ignore other keyboard layouts.

2- Windows 7

  1. Go to “Start” > “Control Panel” > “Clock, Language, and Region.”
  2. On the “Region and Language” option, click on “Change Keyboards or Other Input Methods.”
  3. On the “Keyboards and Languages” tab, click on “Change Keyboards” > “Add” > “Vietnamese.”
  4. Expand the option of “Vietnamese” and then expand the option “Keyboard.” Select the keyboard layout marked as “Vietnamese.” You can ignore other keyboard layouts. Click “OK” and then “Apply.”

3- Mac (OS X and higher)

If you can’t see the language listed, please make sure to select the right option from System Preferences > Language and Region

1. From the Apple Menu (top left corner of the screen) go to System Preferences > Keyboard.

2. Click the Input Sources tab and a list of available keyboards and input methods will appear.

3. Click on the plus button, select “Vietnamese,” and add the “Vietnamese” keyboard.

Adding a system language

5. Activating the Vietnamese Keyboard on Your Mobile Phone and Tablet

Texting and searching in Vietnamese will greatly help you master the language! Adding a Vietnamese keyboard on your mobile phone and/or tablet is super-easy.

You could also opt to download an app instead of adding a keyboard. Read on for our suggestions.

Below are the instructions for both iOS and Android mobile phones and tablets.

1- iOS

1. Go to Settings > General > Keyboard.

2. Tap “Keyboards” and then “Add New Keyboard.”

3. Select “Vietnamese” from the list.

4. When typing, you can switch between languages by tapping and holding on the icon to reveal the keyboard language menu.

2- Android

1. Go to Settings > General Management > Language and Input > On-screen Keyboard (or “Virtual Keyboard” on some devices) > Samsung Keyboard.

2. Tap “Language and Types” or “ + Select Input Languages” depending on the device and then “MANAGE INPUT LANGUAGES” if available.

3. Select “Tiếng Việt” from the list.

4. When typing, you can switch between languages by swiping the space bar.

3- Applications for Mobile Phones

If you don’t want to add a keyboard on your mobile phone or tablet, these are a few good apps to consider:

6. Vietnamese Keyboard Typing Tips

Typing in Vietnamese can be very challenging at first! Therefore, we added here a few useful tips to make it easier to use your Vietnamese keyboard.

A man typing on a computer

1- Computer

In Windows Keyboard

1. To add an accent mark over a vowel (â, ă, ê, ô, ơ, ư), type the following: a + w = ă; a + a = â; e + e = ê; o + o = ô; o + w = ơ; u + w = ư.
2. To add diaeresis over a vowel (à, á, ả, ã, ạ) type the following: : a + f = à; a + s = á; a + r = ả; a + x = ã; a + j = ạ.

In IOS Keyboard

1. To add an accent mark over a vowel (â, ă, ê, ô, ơ, ư), type the following: a + 8 = ă; a + 6 = â; e + 6 = ê; o + 6 = ô; o + 7 = ơ; u + 7 = ư.
2. To add diaeresis over a vowel (à, á, ả, ã, ạ) type the following: a + 1 = á; a + 2 = à; a + 3 = ả; a + 4 = ã; a + 5 = ạ.

2- Mobile Phones

1. On iOS mobile devices, hold the vowel key and select the type of accentuation from the menu that pops up.
2. In the Android Keyboard system, characters are selected from the base character dropdown (or double clicking) and diacritics have their own key.

7. How to Practice Typing Vietnamese

As you probably know by now, learning Vietnamese is all about practice, practice, and more practice! Strengthen your Vietnamese typing skills by writing comments on any of our lesson pages, and our teacher will answer. If you’re a VietnamesePod101 Premium PLUS member, you can directly text our teacher via the My Teacher app—use your Vietnamese keyboard to do this!

Log in to Download Your Free Vietnamese Alphabet Worksheet

Premium PLUS: The Golden Ticket for Language-Learning

Thumbnail

Do you remember the moment you fell in love with languages?

Do you desire to learn or advance in Vietnamese quickly and effectively?

Then you need a Vietnamese tutor.

A common question that first-time language-learners ask is “Where do I begin?” The answer? Guidance.

For native English-speakers who want to learn Asian languages, for example, timelines provided by the U.S. Foreign Service Institute can appear discouraging. However, defeating these odds is not unheard of. If you want to beat the odds yourself, one of the best learning options is a subscription to Premium PLUS from Innovative Language.

As an active Premium PLUS member of JapanesePod101.com and KoreanClass101.com myself, I have an enjoyable experience learning at an accelerated pace with at least thirty minutes of study daily. The following Premium PLUS features contribute to my success:

  • Access to thousands of lessons
  • A voice recorder 
  • Spaced-repetition system (SRS) flashcards
  • Weekly homework assignments
  • A personal language instructor

As someone who decided to make Japanese her second language one year ago, I am extremely grateful for Premium PLUS.

Allow me to emphasize on how these Premium PLUS features strengthen my language studies.

Gain Unlimited Access to Audio and Video Lessons!

Woman learning a language with Premium PLUS on a tablet

As a Premium PLUS member, I have full access to the lesson library and other Premium features. Best of all, I’m not limited to one level; I can learn to my heart’s content with upper-level courses.

There are lessons on various topics that tackle crucial language-learning elements, such as:

  • Reading
  • Writing
  • Listening
  • Speaking
  • Conversation

Specifically, there are pathways. Pathways are collections of lessons that center on a specific topic. Some Innovative Language sites, like JapanesePod101.com, even have pathways geared toward proficiency tests. For example, the JLPT N3 Master Course pathway.

Because of the abundance of lessons, I’ve found pathways in the lesson library to help me prepare for certain events. Thanks to the “Speaking Perfect Japanese at a Restaurant” pathway, I spoke fully in Japanese while dining in Japan. Additionally, I participated in conversations at language exchange meetups in South Korea after completing the “Top 25 Korean Questions You Need to Know” pathway.

Each lesson has lesson notes, which I read while simultaneously listening to the audio lesson. This strategy enables me to follow along on key points. Lesson notes generally contain the following:

  • Dialogue
  • Vocabulary
  • Grammar points
  • Cultural insights

As someone who’s constantly on-the-go, I heavily benefit from mobile access to lessons. Podcasts and lesson notes are available on the Innovative Language app and/or Podcasts app for iOS.

All lessons and their contents are downloadable. Prior to my flights to Japan and South Korea, I downloaded lessons on my iPhone. The apps make learning more convenient for me during my commutes.

Practice Speaking with the Voice Recording Tool!

a young man practicing his pronunciation with a microphone headset

Pronunciation is an essential ingredient in language-learning. Proper pronunciation prompts clear understanding during conversations with native speakers.

Prior to learning full Korean sentences, my online Korean language tutor assigned the “Hana Hana Hangul” pathway to me. It demonstrated the writing and pronunciation of Hangul, the Korean alphabet. Throughout this pathway, I submitted recordings of my Hangul character pronunciations to my language teacher for review.

I was given a similar task on JapanesePod101.com with the “Ultimate Japanese Pronunciation Guide” pathway. My Japanese language teacher tested my pronunciation of the Japanese characters kana. My completion of the two pathways boosted my confidence in speaking.

Speaking is one of the more challenging components of learning a language. The voice recording tool in particular was a great way for me to improve my speaking skills. Further, because the lesson dialogues are spoken by native speakers, I’m able to practice speaking naturally.

This feature is also available for vocabulary words and sample sentences. Being able to hear these recordings improves my pronunciation skills for languages like Japanese, where intonation can change the meaning of a word entirely. The voice recorder examines my speed and tone. I also follow up by sending a recording to my online language tutor for feedback.

A great way to boost one’s speaking confidence is to shadow native speakers. During the vocabulary reviews, it’s helpful for me to hear the breakdown of each word; doing so makes a word that was originally difficult to even read a breeze to say!

Some lessons create opportunities to speak your own sentences. For example, the “Top 25 Korean Questions You Need to Know” pathway presents opportunities to answer questions personally. This helps you gain the ability to give answers as the unique individual you are.

Example Scenario:

The host asks the following question:

어디에 살고 있습니까?

eodieseo salgo isseumnikka

“Where do you live?”

If you live in Tokyo, you would readily say the following:

도쿄에 살고 있습니다.

Tokyo-e salgo isseumnida.

“I live in Tokyo.”

Increase Your Vocab with Spaced-Repetition Flashcards and More!

A child learning words with flashcards

Imagine having a conversation with a native speaker and hesitating because you lack a solid vocabulary base.

Premium PLUS offers various features to expand learners’ vocabulary, including Free Gifts of the Month. VietnamesePod101’s free gifts for April 2020 included an e-book with “400 Everyday Phrases for Beginners,” and the content is updated every month. When I download free resources like this, I find opportunities to use them with co-teachers, friends, or my language tutors.

An effective way to learn vocabulary is with SRS flashcards. SRS is a system designed for learning a new word and reviewing it in varying time intervals.

You can create and study flashcard decks, whether it’s your Word Bank or a certain vocabulary list. For example, if you need to visit a post office, the “Post Office” vocabulary list for your target language would be beneficial to study prior to your visit.

In addition to the SRS flashcards, each lesson has a vocabulary slideshow and quiz to review the lesson’s vocabulary.

There’s also the 2000 Core Word List, which includes the most commonly used words in your target language. Starting from the 100 Core Word List, you’ll gradually build up your knowledge of useful vocabulary. These lists can be studied with SRS flashcards, too.

With the SRS flashcards, you can change the settings to your liking. The settings range from different card types to number of new cards per deck. Personally, I give myself vocabulary tests by changing the settings.

After studying a number of flashcards, I change the card types to listening comprehension and/or production. Then I test myself by writing the translation of the word or the spoken word or phrase.

The change in settings allow me to remember vocabulary and learn how to identify the words. This is especially helpful with Japanese kanji!

Complete Homework Assignments!

A woman studying at home

Homework assignments are advantageous to my language studies. There are homework assignments auto-generated weekly. They range from multiple-choice quizzes to writing assignments.

Language tutors are readily available for homework help. Some writing assignments, for instance, require use of unfamiliar vocabulary. In such cases, my language teachers assist me by forwarding related lessons or vocabulary lists.

In addition to these auto-generated homework tasks, language tutors customize daily assignments. My daily homework assignments include submitting three written sentences that apply the target grammar point of that lesson, and then blindly audio-recording those sentences. My personal language tutor follows up with feedback and corrections, if needed.

Your language tutors also provide assignments upon requests. When I wanted to review grammar, my Korean teacher sent related quizzes and assignments. Thus, you are not only limited to the auto-generated assignments.

Every weekend, I review by re-reading those written sentences. It helps me remember sentence structures, grammar points, and vocabulary to apply in real-world contexts.

Furthermore, I can track my progress with language portfolios every trimester. It’s like a midterm exam that tests my listening, speaking, reading, and writing skills.

Get Your Own Personal Language Teacher!

A woman teaching pronunciation in a classroom

My language teachers cater to my goals with personalized and achievable learning programs. The tangible support of my online language teachers makes it evident that we share common goals.

Once I share a short-term or long-term goal with my teacher, we establish a plan or pathway that will ultimately result in success. I coordinate with my teachers regularly to ensure the personalized learning programs are prosperous. For example, during my JLPT studies, my Japanese language tutor assigned me practice tests.

Your language tutor is available for outside help as well. When I bought drama CDs in Japan, I had difficulty transliterating the dialogue. My Japanese teacher forwarded me the script to read along as I listened.

Additionally, I often practice Korean and Japanese with music. I memorize one line of the lyrics daily. Every time, I learn a new grammar point and new vocabulary. I add the vocabulary to my SRS flashcards, locate the grammar in the Grammar Bank, and study the associated lessons online.

I send my teachers the name of the songs, making them aware of my new goal. One time, my song for Korean was “If You Do” by GOT7. My Korean teacher revealed that she was a huge fan of GOT7 like me! For Japanese, it was “CHA-LA HEAD-CHA-LA,” also known as the Dragonball Z theme song. My Japanese teacher excitedly told me that she sang the song a lot as a kid!

A remarkable thing happened to me in South Korea. I was stressed about opening a bank account with limited Korean. I sought help from my Korean teacher. She forwarded me a script of a bank conversation.

After two days, I visited the local bank. It all started with my opening sentence:

은행 계좌를 만들고 싶어요

eunhaeng gyejwaleul mandeulgo sip-eoyo.

I want to open a bank account.

Everything went smoothly, and I exited the bank with a new account!

The MyTeacher Messenger allows me to share visuals with my teachers for regular interaction, including videos to critique my pronunciation mechanisms. I improve my listening and speaking skills by exchanging audio with my teachers. In addition to my written homework assignments, I exchange messages with my language teachers in my target language. This connection with my teachers enables me to experience the culture as well as the language.

Why You Should Subscribe to Premium PLUS

It’s impossible for me to imagine my continuous progress with Japanese and Korean without Premium PLUS. Everything—from the SRS flashcards to my language teachers—makes learning languages enjoyable and clear-cut.

You’re assured to undergo the same experience with Premium PLUS. You’ll gain access to the aforementioned features as well as all of the Premium features.

Complete lessons and assignments to advance in your target language. Increase your vocabulary with the “2000 Core Word List” for that language and SRS flashcards. Learn on-the-go with the Innovative Language app and/or Podcasts app for iOS users.

Learning a new language takes dedication and commitment. The Premium PLUS features make learning irresistibly exciting. You’ll look forward to learning daily with your language tutor.

As of right now, your challenge is to subscribe to Premium PLUS! Complete your assessment, and meet your new Vietnamese teacher.

Have fun learning your target language in the fastest and easiest way!

Subscribe to Posted by VietnamesePod101.com in Feature Spotlight, Learn Vietnamese, Site Features, Team VietnamesePod101, Vietnamese Language, Vietnamese Online

Telling Time in Vietnamese – Everything You Need to Know

Thumbnail

What’s your relationship with the clock like? Does it run your day from a morning alarm to a cut-off chime for bed, or are you more of a go-with-the-flow type, letting your mood and emotions decide how much you fall in line with time?

Understanding time in Vietnamese is an important part of your studies. As humans, our lives are filled with habits and schedules. From waking up and going to work or gym, to missing rush hour traffic on our way home, we’re always aware of time. We have routines around coffee breaks, meetings, soccer games and vacations. In fact, time can seem rather capricious – going slowly, going fast, sometimes against us, other times on our side – like a force that has a life of its own.

In science, time is often referred to as a fourth dimension and many physicists and philosophers think that if we understood the physics of the universe, we would see that time is an illusion. We sense an ‘arrow’ or direction of time because we have memories, but really time is just a construct that humans have created to help make sense of the world. 

On the other hand, poets through the ages have written impassioned thoughts about time, depicting it as both a relentless thief and an immensely precious resource, not to be wasted at any cost.

Well, poets and scientists may have their views, but in our everyday lives there’s the question of practicality, isn’t there? I mean, if you have plans and want things to happen your way, there’s a certain amount of conforming to the human rules of time that you can’t avoid. 

In ‘The Little Prince’ by Antoine de Saint-Exupéry, the prince has a rose that he falls in love with, and he tenderly protects it with a windscreen and places it under a glass dome on his tiny planet.  I love this quote from the book:  “It is the time you have wasted for your rose that makes your rose so important.”  If we truly love something, we spend time with it and not a second of that time could ever be seen as wasted. I feel that way about horses, my children, travel and learning languages

With that in mind, I’d like to take you on a journey into ‘time’ from a Vietnamese perspective. It’s fun, it’s informative and it’s a basic necessity if you’re learning the language – especially if you plan to travel. VietnamesePod101 has all the vocab you need to fall in love with telling time in Vietnamese, and not a minute will be wasted.

Log in to Download Your Free Cheat Sheet - Time Phrases in Vietnamese Table of Contents
  1. Talking about Time in Vietnamese
  2. How to Tell the Time in Vietnamese
  3. Conclusion

1. Talking about Time in Vietnamese

As a traveler, your primary need for knowing how to read the hour in Vietnamese will be for transportation schedules: the bus, train, airplane, ferry, taxi… whatever you plan to use to get from A to B, it won’t wait for you! Fortunately, it’s really not complicated. You already have a firm grasp of time in English and you know you’ll need to reset your watch and phone to the local time. Great – that means you’ll have the correct time on your person. 

We’re so used to just looking at our phones for the time, that it’s easy to take this convenience for granted and forget some travel basics: in a foreign country, times won’t always be written digitally. If you see the time written in words, it’ll be the same challenge to you as hearing it spoken: you’ll need to be familiar with the language. 

You may be surprised at how often ‘time’ comes into conversation. Learning the Vietnamese terms for time will help you when you have to call a taxi, ask about opening and closing times of events and tourist attractions, restaurants and bars and even late-night food cafes.

My biggest annoyance when traveling is not being able to get coffee and amazingly, even at nice hotels this has happened more times than I care to think about. I’ll be up late planning something, writing my blog or chatting and when I go looking for coffee downstairs, I’m told the kitchen is closed or the ‘coffee lady’ has gone to sleep. Frustrating!

If you’re doing a homestay or at a youth hostel or backpackers, there will probably also be a limited timeframe for when you can grab dinner. Do you know how to ask when it’s time to eat in Vietnamese? I’ve learned that it’s vital to know how to make my queries clearly understood to accommodation staff and for me to clearly understand their answers. Perfect your ‘time in Vietnamese’ translations early on – you’ll thank me. 

At VietnamesePod101, we’ve put together a comprehensive list of Vietnamese time words and phrases to get you going. 

Pedestrians in a city

1- Morning – buổi sáng

Morning is the time when we wake up from our dreamworld, hopefully fully rested and restored; we brew the first delicious cup of coffee for the day and watch the sunrise as we prepare for another glorious twelve hours of life. No matter what happened the day before, a new morning is a chance to make everything right. 

I like these quiet hours for language practice, as my mind is clear and receptive to learning new things. I start by writing the Vietnamese time, date and word of the day on my whiteboard, then get back under the covers for an engrossing lesson.

Time in the morning is written as AM or A.M., which stands for ante meridiem – meaning ‘before midday’ in Latin.

Person typing with coffee next to them

2- Evening – buổi tối

Evening is the part of night when we’re still awake and doing things, winding down from the day. Whether you enjoy a tasty international dinner with friends, go out to see a show, or curl up on the couch with a Vietnamese snack and your favorite TV series, evening is a good time to forget your worries and do something that relaxes you. If you’re checking in with your Facebook friends, say hi to us, too!  

Evening is also an ideal time to catch up on your Vietnamese studies. The neighbourhood outside is likely to be quieter and time is yours, so grab a glass of wine or a delicious local tea, and see what’s new on your Mac App or Kindle

3- Daytime – ban ngày

Daytime is defined as the period from early morning to early evening when the sun is visible outside. In other words: from sunrise to sunset.  Where you are in the world, as well as the season, will determine how many daylight hours you get. 

Interestingly, in locations north of the Arctic Circle and south of the Antarctic Circle, in summertime the sun does not sink below the horizon within a 24-hour period, bringing the natural phenomenon of the midnight sun.  You could only experience this in the north, though, because there aren’t any permanent human settlements south of the Antarctic Circle.

4- Nighttime – đêm

Nighttime is all the hours from sunset to sunrise and depending on where in the country you are, people may be partying all night, or asleep from full-dark. 

In the same northernmost and southernmost regions where you can experience a midnight sun, winter brings the opposite phenomenon: the polar night. Can you imagine a night that lasts for more than 24 hours? 

Girl sleeping; moon and starry sky

5- Hour – giờ

An hour is a unit of time made up of 60 minutes and is a variable measure of one-24th of a day – also defined by geeks as 3 600 atomic seconds. Of all the ‘time’ words we use on a daily basis, the hour is the most important, as time of day is typically expressed in terms of hours. 

One of the interesting methods of keeping time that people have come up with is the hourglass. Although the origins are unclear, there’s evidence pointing to the hourglass being invented around 1000 – 1100 AD and one of the ways we know this, is from hourglasses being depicted in very old murals. These days, with clocks and watches in every direction we look, they’re really only used symbolically to represent the passage of time. Still – a powerful reminder of our mortality and to seize the day. In his private journal, the Roman emperor, Marcus Aurelius, wrote: “You could leave life right now. Let that determine what you do and say and think.”

An hourglass with falling sand

6- Minute – phút

Use this word when you want to say a more precise time and express minutes in Vietnamese. A minute is a unit of time equal to one sixtieth of an hour, or 60 seconds. A lot can happen in the next 60 seconds. For example, your blood will circulate three times through your entire vascular system and your heart will pump about 2.273 litres of blood. 

7- O’clock – giờ

We use “o’clock” when there are no minutes and we’re saying the exact hour, as in “It’s two o’clock.” In Vietnamese, this is essentially the same as just saying “hour.”

The term “o’clock” is a contraction of the term “of the clock”. It comes from 15th-century references to medieval mechanical clocks. At the time, sundials were also common timekeepers. Therefore, to make clear one was referencing a clock’s time, they would say something like, “It is six of the clock” – now shortened to “six o’clock”.

We only use this term when talking about the 12 hour clock, though, not the 24 hour clock (more on that later!) The 12-hour clock can be traced back as far as Mesopotamia and ancient Egypt. Both an Egyptian sundial for daytime use and an Egyptian water clock for nighttime use were found in the tomb of Pharaoh Amenhotep I. Dating to c.1500 BC, these clocks divided their respective times of use into 12 hours each. The Romans also used a 12-hour clock. Daylight was divided into 12 equal hours and the night was divided into four watches. 

These days, the internet has made it very easy to know what the time is in any part of the world.  Speaking of which, why not add the Vietnamese time zone clock to your laptop?

Many different clocks

8- Half past – rưỡi

When the time is thirty minutes past the hour, in English we say “half past”. Just like the hour, the half-hour is universally used as an orientation point; some languages speak of 30 minutes before the hour (subtraction), whereas others speak of 30 minutes after the hour (addition). 

9- AM – sáng

As mentioned earlier, AM is the abbreviation of the Latin ante meridiem and means before midday. Using ‘AM’ as a tag on your time simply tells people you’re speaking about a time in the morning. In some countries, morning is abbreviated to “AM” and you’ll see this on shop signs everywhere, announcing the opening hour. A typical shop sign might read something like this:

“Business hours are from 7AM to 6PM.” 

Woman in a shop, adjusting the shop sign

10- PM – trưa / chiều / tối

PM is the abbreviation of the Latin post meridiem and means after midday. Along with ‘AM’, you’ll usually find ‘PM’ on store signs and businesses, indicating the closing hours. It’s advisable to learn the difference between the two, since some establishments might only have one or the other on the sign. For example, a night club sign might say: 

“Open from 10 PM until late.” 

11- What time is it now? – Bây giờ là mấy giờ?

Here’s a very handy question you should memorize, as you can use it in any situation where you don’t have your watch or phone on you. This could be on the beach, in a club, or if you’re stuck anywhere with a flat phone battery. It happens at home, so it can happen when you’re traveling! 

Woman on the phone, looking at her watch

12- One o’clock – một giờ

One o’clock, or 1 PM, is the average lunch time for many people around the world – at least, we try to get a meal in at some point between midday and 2 PM.  In terms of duration, the nations vary: Brazililans reportedly take the longest lunch breaks, averaging 48 minutes, whereas Greece reports an average break of only 19 minutes. Historically, Greeks were known for their very leisurely lunch breaks, so it just goes to show how fast the world is changing. If you’re curious about what to expect in Vietnam, try asking our online community about lunch time in Vietnamese.

13- Two o’clock – hai giờ

In his last days, Napoleon Bonaparte famously spoke of “Two o’clock in the morning courage” – meaning unprepared, spontaneous  courage. He was talking about soldiers who are brave enough to tumble out of bed in an instant, straight into action, without time to think or strategize. Do you think you have what it takes? I’m pretty sure all mothers know this feeling!

14- Three o’clock – ba giờ

3 AM can be perceived as the coldest time of day and is not an hour we want to wake up, but meteorologists will tell you that the coldest time is actually half an hour after sunrise. Even though the sun is peeking over the horizon, the solar radiation is still weaker than the earth’s infrared cooling to space.

Clock pointing to 3 o'clock

15- Four o’clock – bốn giờ

Do you know anyone who purposely gets up at 4 o’clock in the morning? As crazy as it sounds, there is something to be said for rising at 4 AM while the rest of the world sleeps. If you live on a farm, it might even be normal for you. I know that whenever I’m staying in the countryside, rising early is a lot easier, because there’s a satisfying reason to do so: watching a sunrise from a rooftop, with uninterrupted views, can’t be beat! It’s also likely that you’ll be woken by a cock crowing, or other animals waking to graze in the fresh pre-dawn air. 

In the world of business, you’ll find a small group of ambitious individuals – many entrepreneurs – who swear by the 4 o’clock in the morning rise. I’m not sure I like that idea, but I’d wake up at 4 AM if it was summer and I had my car packed for a vacation!

16- Five o’clock – năm giờ

What better way to signal the transition between work and play than the clock hands striking 5 o’clock? It’s the hour most working people look forward to each day – at least, those who get to stop working at 5 PM.  Meanwhile, millions of retired folks are taking out the wine glasses, as 5 PM is widely accepted as an appropriate time to pour the first glass. I don’t know how traditional your families are, but for as long as I’ve been alive, my grandparents have counted down the milliseconds to five o’clock, and the hour is announced with glee.

A sunset

17- Six o’clock – sáu giờ

This is the time many working people and school kids wake up in the morning. In many parts of the world, 6 o’clock is also a good time to watch the sunrise, go for a run or hit the hiking trails. 

18- Seven o’clock – bảy giờ

Health gurus will tell you that 7 o’clock in the morning is the best time to eat your first meal of the day, and 7 o’clock in the evening is the time you should eat your last meal. I’ve tried that and I agree, but it’s not always easy!

19- Eight o’clock – tám giờ

8 o’clock in the morning is the time that most businesses open around the world, and the time most kids are in their first lesson at school – still full of energy and willing to participate. Interestingly, it’s also the time most babies are born in the world!  In the evening, 8 o’clock is many young children’s bedtime and the time for parents to watch the evening news. 

Smiling boy in school with his hand up

20- Nine o’clock – chín giờ

It’s good to occasionally sleep late on a weekend and for me, this means waking up at 9 AM. If you’re traveling in Vietnam and staying at a hotel, planning to sleep late means politely requesting to not be woken up by room service.

21- Ten o’clock – mười giờ

10 o’clock in the morning is a popular time to conduct business meetings, and for first break time at schools. We’re usually wide awake and well into our day by then.  But what about the same hour at night? Modern people are often still awake and watching TV at 10 PM, but this isn’t exactly good for us. Experts say that the deepest and most regenerative sleep occurs between 10 PM and 2 AM, so we should already be sound asleep by ten o’clock. 

In advertising, have you ever noticed that the hands of the clock usually point to 10:10? Have a look next time you see a watch on a billboard or magazine. The reason? Aesthetics. Somehow, the human brain finds the symmetry pleasing. When the clock hands are at ten and two, they create a ‘smiley’ face and don’t cover any key details, like a logo, on the clock face. 

22- Eleven o’clock – mười một giờ

When I see this time written in words, it makes me think of the hilarious Academy Award-winning very short film, “The Eleven O’Clock”, in which the delusional patient of a psychiatrist believes that he is actually the doctor. 

Then there’s the tradition of ‘elevenses’ – tea time at eleven o’clock in the morning. Strongly ingrained in British culture, elevenses is typically a serving of hot tea or coffee with scones or pastries on the side. It’s a great way to stave off hunger pangs before lunch time arrives. In fact, if you were a hobbit, ‘Elevenses’ would be your third meal of the day!

23- Twelve o’clock – mười hai giờ

Twelve o’clock in the daytime is considered midday, when the sun is at its zenith and the temperature reaches its highest for that day; it’s written as 12 noon or 12 PM. In most parts of the world, though, this doesn’t happen at precisely 12 PM. ‘Solar noon’ is the time when the sun is actually at its highest point in the sky. The local or clock time of solar noon depends on the longitude and date. If it’s summertime, it’s advisable to stay in the shade during this hour – or at least wear good quality sunblock.

Midnight is the other ‘twelve o’clock’, of course. Midnight is written as 12 AM and is technically the first minute of the morning. On the 24-hour clock, midnight is written as 00:00. 

Sun at noon in a blue cloudy sky

2. How to Tell the Time in Vietnamese

Telling the time

Using a clock to read the time in Vietnam is going to be the same as in your own country, since you’re dealing with numbers and not words. You’ll know the time in your head and be able to say it in English, but will you be able to say it out loud in Vietnamese? 

The first step to saying the time in Vietnamese is knowing your numbers. How are you doing with that? If you can count to twelve in Vietnamese, you’re halfway there! We’ve already covered the phrases you’ll need to say the exact hour, as in “five o’clock”, as well as how to say “half past”. What remains is the more specific phrases to describe what the minute hand is doing.

In everyday speech, it’s common to say the minutes past or before the hour. Often we round the minutes off to the nearest five. 

Then, there’s the 24-hour clock. Also known as ‘military time’, the 24-hour clock is used in most countries and, as such, is useful to understand. You’ll find that even in places where the 12-hour clock is standard, certain people will speak in military time or use a combination of the two.  No doubt you’ve also noticed that in written time, the 24-hour clock is commonly used.  One of the most prominent places you’ll have seen this is on airport flight schedules.

Airport flight schedule

Knowing how to tell military time in Vietnamese is really not complicated if you know your numbers up to twenty-four. One advantage of using the 24-hour clock in Vietnamese, is there’s no chance of confusing AM and PM.

Once you know how to say the time, it will be pretty easy to also write the time in Vietnamese. You’re already learning what the different hours and minutes look and sound like, so give yourself some writing practice of the same. 

3. Conclusion

Now that you understand the vocabulary for telling time in Vietnamese, the best thing you can do to really lock it down is to just practice saying Vietnamese time daily. Start by replacing English with Vietnamese whenever you need to say the time; in fact, do this whenever you look at your watch. Say the time to yourself in Vietnamese and it will become a habit. When learning a new language, the phrases you use habitually are the ones your brain will acquire. It feels amazing when that turning point comes!

To help yourself gain confidence, why don’t you make use of our various apps, downloadable for iPhone and iPad, as well as Android? Choose what works best for you. In addition, we have so many free resources available to supplement your learning, that you simply can’t go wrong. Some of these are:

If you prefer watching your lessons on video, check out our YouTube channel – there are hundreds of videos to browse. For those of you with Roku, we also have a TV channel you can watch.

Well, it’s time for me to say goodbye and for you to practice saying the time in Vietnamese. Look at the nearest clock and try to say the exact time, down to the seconds. See you again soon at VietnamesePod101!

Log in to Download Your Free Cheat Sheet - Time Phrases in Vietnamese

Essential Vocabulary for Directions in Vietnamese

Thumbnail

Do you know your left from your right in Vietnamese? Asking for directions can mean the difference between a heavenly day on the beach and a horrible day on your feet, hot and bothered and wondering how to even get back to the hotel. Believe me – I know! On my earlier travels, I didn’t even know simple terms like ‘go straight ahead’ or ‘go west,’ and I was always too shy to ask locals for directions. It wasn’t my ego, but rather the language barrier that held me back. I’ve ended up in some pretty dodgy situations for my lack of directional word skills.

This never needs to happen! When traveling in Vietnam, you should step out in confidence, ready to work your Vietnamese magic and have a full day of exploring. It’s about knowing a few basic phrases and then tailoring them with the right directional words for each situation. Do you need to be pointed south in Vietnamese? Just ask! Believe me, people are more willing to help than you might think. It’s when you ask in English that locals might feel too uncertain to answer you. After all, they don’t want to get you lost. For this reason, it also makes sense that you learn how to understand people’s responses. 

Asking directions in Vietnam is inevitable. So, learn to love it! Our job here at VietnamesePod101 is to give you the confidence you need to fully immerse and be the intrepid adventurer you are.

Log in to Download Your Free Cheat Sheet - Around Town in Vietnamese Table of Contents
  1. Talking about position and direction in Vietnamese
  2. Getting directions in Vietnamese
  3. Conclusion

1. Talking about position and direction in Vietnamese

Have you ever tried saying the compass directions of north, south, east and west in Vietnamese? These words are good to know, being the most natural and ancient method of finding direction. In the days before GPS – before the invention of the compass, even – knowing the cardinal directions was critical to finding the way. Certainly, if you were lost somewhere in the mountain regions now and using a map to navigate, you’d find them useful. Even more so if you and a Vietnamese friend were adrift at sea, following the stars!

In most situations, though, we rely on body relative directions – your basic up, down, left and right, forward and backwards. Most cultures use relative directions for reference and Vietnamese is no exception. Interestingly, in a few old languages there are no words for left and right and people still rely on cardinal directions every day. Can you imagine having such a compass brain?

A black compass on a colored map

Well, scientists say that all mammals have an innate sense of direction, so getting good at finding your way is just a matter of practice. It’s pretty cool to think that we were born already pre-wired to grasp directions; the descriptive words we invented are mere labels to communicate these directions to others! Thus, the need to learn some Vietnamese positional vocabulary. So, without further ado… let’s dive in.

1- Top – đỉnh

If planting a flag at the top of the highest mountain in Vietnam is a goal you’d rather leave for  adrenaline junkies, how about making it to the top of the highest building? Your view of the city will be one you’ll never forget, and you can take a selfie  for Twitter with your head in the clouds. 

man on the top rung of a ladder in the sky, about to topple off

2- Bottom – phần dưới cùng

The ‘bottom’ can refer to the lower end of a road, the foot of a mountain, or the ground floor of a building. It’s the place you head for after you’ve been to the top!

What are your favorite ‘bottoms’? I love the first rung of a ladder, the base of a huge tree or the bottom of a jungle-covered hill. What can I say? I’m a climber. Divers like the bottom of the ocean and foxes like the bottom of a hole. Since you’re learning Vietnamese, hopefully you’ll travel from the top to the bottom of Vietnam.

3- Up – lên

This is a very common and useful word to know when seeking directions. You can go up the street, up an elevator, up a cableway, up a mountain… even up into the sky in a hot air balloon. It all depends on how far up you like to be!

Hot air balloons in a blue cloudy sky

4- Down – xuống

What goes up, must surely come down. This is true of airplanes, flaming arrows and grasshoppers – either aeronautics or gravity will take care of that. In the case of traveling humans who don’t wish to go down at terminal velocity, it’s useful to know phrases such as, “Excuse me, where is the path leading back down this mountain?”

5- Middle – giữa

In Lord of the Rings, Tolkien’s characters live in Middle-earth, which is just an ancient word for the inhabited world of men; it referred to the physical world, as opposed to the unseen worlds above and below it. The ancients also thought of the human world as vaguely in the middle of the encircling seas.

When we talk about the ‘middle’, we’re referring to a point that’s roughly between two horizontal lines – like the middle of the road or the middle of a river. While you’re unlikely to ask for directions to the ‘middle’ of anything, you might hear it as a response. For example, “You’re looking for the castle ruins? But they’re in the middle of the forest!”

Castle ruins in a forest

6- Center – chính giữa

Although similar in meaning to ‘middle’, this word is more specific. Technically, it means the exact central point of a circular area, equally distant from every point on the circumference.  When asking for directions to the center of town, though, we don’t mean to find a mathematically-accurate pinpoint!

Bull’s eye on a dartboard

7- Front – trước

The front is the place or position that is seen first; it’s the most forward part of something.  In the case of a hotel, the front is going to be easy to recognize, so if you call a taxi and are told to wait “in front of the hotel”, you won’t have a problem. It’s pretty cool how just knowing the main Vietnamese directional words can help you locate something if there’s a good landmark nearby.

8- Back – phía sau

I once rented a house in a charming little street that was tucked away at the back of a popular mall. It was so easy to find, but my boss took three hours to locate it from 300 meters away. Why? Well, because she spoke no English and I had no clue what the word for ‘back’ was. All she heard, no matter which way I said it, was “mall, mall, mall”.  As a result, she hunted in front of and next to the mall until she was frazzled. 

Knowing how to describe the location of your own residence is probably the first Vietnamese ‘directions’ you should practice. This skill will certainly come in handy if you’re lost and looking for your way home. 

9- Side – phía

If the place you’re looking for is at the ‘side’ of something, it will be located to the left or the right of that landmark. That could mean you’re looking for an alleyway beside a building, or a second entrance (as opposed to the main entrance). 

As an example, you might be told that your tour bus will be waiting at the right side of the building, not in front. Of course, then you’ll also need to understand “It’s on the right” in Vietnamese.

Jeepney taxi parked at the side of a building

10- East – phía đông

If you’re facing north, then east is the direction of your right hand. It’s the direction toward which the Earth rotates about its axis, and therefore the general direction from which the sun appears to rise. If you want to go east using a compass for navigation, you should set a bearing of 90°. 

We think of Asia as the ‘East’. Geographically, this part of the world lies in the eastern hemisphere, but there’s so much more that we’ve come to associate with this word. The East signifies ancient knowledge and is symbolic of enlightenment in many cultures.

Monks reading on a boulder in front of a Buddha statue

11- West – phía tây

West is the opposite to east and it’s the direction in which the sun sets. To go west using a compass, you’ll set a bearing of 270 degrees. 

If you were on the planet Venus, which rotates in the opposite direction from the Earth (retrograde rotation), the Sun would rise in the west and set in the east… not that you’d be able to see the sun through Venus’s opaque clouds. 

Culturally, the West refers mainly to the Americas and Europe, but also to Australia and New Zealand, which are geographically in the East. The Western way of thinking is very different to that of the East. One of the most striking differences is individualism versus collectivism. In the West, we grew up with philosophies of freedom and independence, whereas in the East concepts of unity are more important. 

Food for thought: as a traveler who’s invested in learning the languages and cultures of places you visit, you have an opportunity to become a wonderfully balanced thinker – something the world needs more of.

12- North – phía bắc

North is the top point of a map and when navigating, you’d set a compass bearing of 360 degrees if you want to go that way. Globes of the earth have the north pole at the top, and we use north as the direction by which we define all other directions.

If you look into the night sky, the North Star (Polaris) marks the way due north. It’s an amazing star, in that it holds nearly still in our sky while the entire northern sky moves around it. That’s because it’s located nearly at the north celestial pole – the point around which the entire northern sky turns. Definitely a boon for lost travelers!

The North Star with the Big Dipper in a night sky

13- South – phía nam

South is the opposite of north, and it’s perpendicular to the east and west. You can find it with a compass if you set your bearings to 180 degrees. 

The south celestial pole is the point around which the entire southern sky appears to turn. In the night sky of the southern hemisphere, the Southern Cross is a very easy to find constellation with four points in the shape of a diamond. If you come from the southern hemisphere, chances are your dad or mum pointed it out to you when you were a kid. You can use the Southern Cross to find south if traveling by night, so it’s well worth figuring it out!

14- Outside – bên ngoài

This word refers to any place that is not under a roof. Perhaps you’ve heard talk about some amazing local bands that will be playing in a nearby town on the weekend. If it’s all happening outside, you’ll be looking for a venue in a park, a stadium or some other big open space. Come rain or shine, outside definitely works for me!

A young woman on someone’s shoulders at an outdoor concert

15- Inside – bên trong

I can tolerate being inside if all the windows are open, or if I’m watching the latest Homeland episode. How about you? I suppose going shopping for Vietnamese-style accessories would be pretty fun, too, and that will (mostly) be an inside affair. 

16- Opposite – đối diện

This is a great word to use as a reference point for locating a place. It’s right opposite that other place! In other words, if you stand with your back to the given landmark, your destination will be right in front of you. 

17- Adjacent – gần kề

So, the adorable old man from next door, who looks about ninety-nine, explains in Vietnamese that the food market where he works is adjacent to the community hall on the main road. ‘Adjacent’ just means next to or adjoining something else, so… head for the hall! 

While you’re marveling at the wondrous and colorful displays of Vietnamese food, think about how all of these delicious stalls lie adjacent to one another. Having a happy visual association with a new word is a proven way to remember it!

Outdoor food market fruit display

18- Toward – về phía

To go toward something is to go in its direction and get closer to it. This word can often appear in a sentence with ‘straight ahead’, as in:

“Go straight ahead, toward the park.”

If you’ve come to Vietnam to teach English, you might have to ask someone how to find your new school. Depending on what town you’re in, you could simply head toward the residential area at lunch time. You’ll see (and probably hear) the primary school soon enough – it will be the big fenced building with all the kids running around the yard!

19- Facing – hướng vào

If you look at yourself in a mirror, you’ll be facing your reflection. In other words: you and your reflection look directly at each other.  Many plush hotels are ocean-facing or river-facing, meaning the main entrance is pointed directly at the water, and the beach out front faces the hotel. 

20- Beside – bên cạnh

I know of a special little place where there’s a gym right beside a river. You can watch the sun go down over the water while working out – it’s amazing. What’s more, you can park your scooter beside the building and it will still be there when you come out.

21- Corner – góc

I love a corner when it comes to directions. A street corner is where two roads meet at an angle – often 90 degrees – making it easier to find than a location on a straight plane. 

“Which building is the piano teacher in, sir?”

“Oh, that’s easy – it’s the one on the corner.”

The key to a corner is that it leads in two directions. It could form a crossroads, a huge intersection, or it could be the start of a tiny one-way cobblestone street with hidden treasures waiting in the shadow of the buildings.

A white and yellow building on the corner of two streets

22- Distant – xa

When a location is distant, it’s in an outlying area. This Vietnamese word refers to the remoteness of the site, not to how long it takes to get there. For that reason, it’s a very good idea to write the directions down, rather than try to memorize them in Vietnamese. Even better, get a Vietnamese person to write them down for you. This may seem obvious, but always include the location of your starting point! Any directions you’re given will be relative to the exact place you’re starting from.

Man lost on a dusty road, looking at a road map and scratching his head

23- Close – gần

This word is always a good one to hear when you have your heart set on a very relaxing day in the sun. It means there’s only a short distance to travel, so you can get there in a heartbeat and let the tanning commence. Remember to grab your Nook Book – learning is enhanced when you’re feeling happy and unencumbered. Being close to ‘home’ also means you can safely steal maximum lazy hours and leave the short return trip for sunset! 

A smiling woman lying in a hammock on the beach

24- By – bằng

This word identifies the position of a physical object beside another object or a place. A Bed and Breakfast can be ‘by the sea’ if it’s in close proximity to the sea. 

‘By’ can also be used to describe the best mode of transport for your route, as in:

“You can get there by bus.”

25- Surrounding – xung quanh

If something is surrounding you, it is on every side and you are enclosed by it – kind of like being in a boat. Of course, we’re not talking about deep water here, unless you’re planning on going fishing. Directions that include this word are more likely to refer to the surrounding countryside, or any other features that are all around the place you’re looking for.

A polar bear stuck on a block of ice, completely surrounded by water.

26- All sides – mọi phía

Another useful descriptive Vietnamese term to know is ‘all sides’. It simply means that from a particular point, you will be able to see the same features to the front, back and sides of you. It doesn’t necessarily imply you’ll be completely surrounded, just more-or-less so. Say, for example, you’re visiting the winelands for the day. When you get there, you’ll see vineyards on all sides of you. How stunning! Don’t neglect to sample the local wines – obviously. 

27- Next to – kế bên

The person giving you directions is probably standing next to you. The place being described as ‘next to’ something is in a position immediately to one side of it. It could refer to adjoining buildings, neighbouring stores, or the one-legged beggar who sits next to the beautiful flower vendor on weekdays. ‘Next to’ is a great positional term, as everything is next to something! 

“Excuse me, Ma’am.  Where is the train station?”

“It’s that way – next to the tourist market.”

28- Above – ở trên

This is the direction you’ll be looking at if you turn your head upwards. Relative to where your body is, it’s a point higher than your head. If you’re looking for the location of a place that’s ‘above’ something, it’s likely to be on at least the first floor of a building; in other words, above another floor.

‘Above’ could also refer to something that will be visible overhead when you get to the right place. For example, the road you’re looking for might have holiday decorations strung up from pole to pole above it. In the cities, this is very likely if there’s any kind of festival going on.

View from below of a carnival swing, with riders directly above the viewer

29- Under – dưới

Under is the opposite of above, and refers to a place that lies beneath something else. In the case of directions in Vietnamese, it could refer to going under a bridge – always a great landmark – or perhaps through a subway. In some parts of the world, you can even travel through a tunnel that’s under the sea!

Of course, you might just be missing your home brew and looking for an awesome coffee shop that happens to be under the very cool local gym you were also looking for. Nice find!

2. Getting directions in Vietnamese

The quickest and easiest way to find out how to get where you’re going is simply to ask someone. Most people on the streets of Vietnam won’t mind being asked at all and will actually appreciate your attempt to ask directions in Vietnamese. After all, most tourists are more inclined to ask in their own language and hope for the best. How pedestrian is that, though?

Asking directions

I know, I know – you normally prefer to find your own way without asking. Well, think of it like this: you obviously need to practice asking questions in Vietnamese as much as you need to practice small talk, counting, or ordering a beer. Since you can’t very well ask a complete stranger if they would please help you count to five hundred, you’ll have to stick with asking directions!

We spoke earlier about body relative directions and these tend to be the ones we use most. For example:

“Turn left.”

“Go straight.”

“Turn right.” 

Remember, too, that your approach is important. Many people are wary of strangers and you don’t want to scare them off. It’s best to be friendly, direct and get to the point quickly.  A simple ‘Hi, can you help me?” or “Excuse me, I’m a bit lost,” will suffice. If you have a map in your hand, even better, as your intentions will be clear. 

The bottom line is that if you want to find your way around Vietnam with ease, it’s a good idea to master these basic phrases. With a little practice, you can also learn how to say directions in Vietnamese. Before you know it, you’ll be the one explaining the way!

3. Conclusion

Now that you have over thirty new directional phrases you can learn in Vietnamese, there’s no need to fear losing your way when you hit the streets of Vietnam. All you need is a polite approach and your own amazing smile, and the locals will be excited to help you. It’s a chance for them to get better at explaining things to a foreigner, too. Most will enjoy that!

I advise keeping a few things handy in your day pack: a street map, a highlighter, a small notebook and pen, and your Vietnamese phrasebook. It would be useful to also have the Vietnamese WordPower app installed on your phone – available for both iPhone and Android

Here’s a quick challenge to get you using the new terms right away. Can you translate these directions into Vietnamese?

“It’s close. Go straight ahead to the top of the hill and turn left at the corner. The building is on the right, opposite a small bus stop.”

You’re doing amazingly well to have come this far! Well done on tackling the essential topic of ‘directions’ – it’s a brave challenge that will be immensely rewarding. Trust me, when you’re standing at a beautiful location that you found just by knowing what to ask in Vietnamese, you’re going to feel pretty darn good.

If you’re as excited as I am about taking Vietnamese to an even deeper level, we have so much more to offer you. Did you know that we’ve already had over 1 billion lesson downloads? I know – we’re blown away by that, too. It’s amazing to be bringing the world’s languages to people who are so hungry for learning. Let me share some of our best options for you:

  • If you haven’t done so already, grab your free lifetime account as a start. You’ll get audio and video lessons, plus vocabulary building tools. 
  • My favorite freebie is the word of the day, which will arrive in your inbox every morning. Those are the words I remember best!
  • Start listening to Vietnamese music. I’m serious – it really works to make the resistant parts of the brain relax and accept the new language. Read about it here for some tips.
  • If you enjoy reading, we have some great iBooks for your daily commute.
  • If you have a Kindle and prefer to do your reading on a picnic blanket,  there are over 6 hours of unique lessons in Vietnamese for you right there.

That’s it for today! Join VietnamesePod101 to discover many more ways that we can offer you a truly fun and enriching language learning experience. Happy travels!

Log in to Download Your Free Cheat Sheet - Around Town in Vietnamese

Learn the Best Compliments in Vietnamese for Any Occasion

Thumbnail

What would you say to lift the spirits of a special person you know? No doubt, you have dozens of kind words that come to mind in English, but do you know many compliments in Vietnamese?

A compliment can be described as a polite expression of praise, admiration, encouragement or congratulations. It’s sometimes used in absolute sincerity and sometimes to flatter, but either way, human beings love to receive compliments!

Table of Contents

  1. The Importance of Compliments
  2. Compliments you always want to hear
  3. Conclusion

Log in to Download Your Free Cheat Sheet - Beginner Vocabulary in Vietnamese

1. The Importance of Compliments

Giving and receiving compliments is so important in society, that you can be considered rude if you’re a person who never acknowledges anyone. We all need to hear words of affirmation to feel good about ourselves or our achievements, whether big or small. Life is full of daily challenges that can feel overwhelming sometimes – both in terms of the things we have to accomplish and the way we look at the world.

Call it vanity, but it’s a basic human need to hear kindness and appreciation from other people. In the same way, we need to be giving out some of that kindness and helping others to feel good about themselves. Remember the saying “It’s better to give than to receive”? Well, that applies to compliments in a big way. The cool thing is that when you’re generous with your words, you more than likely will invite the same back from people.

So, where did this wonderful idea originate? The word ‘compliment’ has its origins in the mid-17th century; back then it meant ‘fulfilment of the requirements of courtesy’. There was a time when it was normal to compliment others upon meeting for the first time. In some cultures, that’s still the norm. If only we could have more of that today!

If you think about how much it means to receive a genuine compliment from someone whose opinion matters to you, it’s easy to reverse that and realize they probably feel the same way. There is no way around this: it’s vital to pay compliments to each and every person who is a part of your life, and to do so regularly and with sincerity.

2. Compliments you always want to hear

Smiling cat toys

The nuances in the type of personal compliments you’ve been hearing all your life are so deeply present with you by now, that you have a very specific emotional response to each of them. It will be a little different for each of us, since we’ve had different input from the people around us since childhood – especially from family and close friends – but we’re individually used to certain words and as a result, we can detect when they’re spoken with sincerity. How we perceive and receive compliments from specific people has a lot to do with how much we value them, too.

Put yourself in a foreign country and suddenly you’re having to think about the words you’re hearing, doing mental and emotional arithmetic to determine the speaker’s intent. It’s tricky business! When you’ve only been learning Vietnamese for a little while, you’ll get the gist, but some of the speaker’s truth might be lost on you.

Can you see where I’m going with this? When it comes to compliments in Vietnamese, do yourself a great favor and use them often. Learn the real meaning and impact of what you’re saying, and you’ll be able to start feeling those squishy emotional responses in no time. You’ll also be able to pay genuine compliments in Vietnamese that will win people over and earn you a valued place in their hearts.

A compliment in Vietnamese culture is as important as one in any other culture – perhaps even more so. Part of fitting into your new community means having a likeable and approachable nature, so bring on the compliments and start winning people over!

VietnamesePod101 has fifteen great compliments to teach you for various situations. Enjoy!

Five hands giving a thumbs up against a cloudy blue sky

1- You’re handsome. – Bạn khá đẹp trai.

Do you know how to compliment a guy in Vietnamese? This is one of the best Vietnamese compliments you can pay a man if you want to make him feel attractive. What man doesn’t like to hear that he’s handsome? The younger generation may see it as quite an old-fashioned word, yet men of all ages respond well to “You’re handsome”.

There are many other ways to tell a guy that he’s good-looking, of course, but these particular words carry a timelessness that is only ever good. It doesn’t have any subtle meanings or flirtatious implications, so it’s pretty safe to say to a man who you have no romantic intentions with. Of course, it certainly can also be said romantically! As with most things, it’s all in the way you do it.

Girl kissing her laughing beau on the cheek

2- Great job! – Làm tuyệt vời lắm!

When you’ve worked really hard at something, you want your efforts to be appreciated. There isn’t one of us who doesn’t feel that way. You might know you’ve done a great job, but you need to know that other people have noticed and are appreciative of your effort. Otherwise, why bother giving it your all? Part of our basic makeup as humans is the need to be pleasing to others.

How much more so in a work environment, where your performance could determine the trajectory of your career? We seek validation from our bosses mainly because this is vital information that tells us whether we’re heading for success or failure.

Smiling woman giving a thumbs-up

3- Your resume is impressive. – Sơ yếu lý lịch của bạn ấn tượng.

It’s pretty much a given that attending a job interview is going to be nerve-wracking and the first thing you want to be sure of is that your resume looks good to the interviewer. Hearing the above words will give you hope and help you to relax before the questions start. In other words, these are important Vietnamese praise words to know if you’re job-hunting. Next time you’re being interviewed by a Vietnamese boss, listen for these words, as they’re a positive sign.

In my experience working abroad, I found that the most important requirement interviewers had was just that they like me. By the time you get to the interview, you’ve already been screened, so what’s next in the deciding factor? It’s simple: chemistry. The energy between two people is a huge factor in how well you’ll work together, and that magic happens in the first ten minutes. First impressions go a long way!

Man and woman in an interview

4- Your inside is even more beautiful than your outside. – tâm hồn bạn thậm chí còn đẹp hơn vẻ bề ngoài của bạn.

Isn’t this just a wonderful compliment to hear? It sure is, and that makes it equally wonderful to give. If you meet someone who has a heart of gold, use these words!

Most women love to be complimented on their external beauty, but being seen as attractive can feel like a burden if it’s the only thing people notice. When paying compliments in Vietnamese to a woman, try to think of her personality and what her perception of your words will be. Women want different things from different people, and someone who cares about you will care a lot about how you see her on the inside. Looks are fleeting; the people we trust to stick around forever are those who’ve seen beneath the surface and still want in.

It seems to be true that the more self-aware and ‘conscious’ a person is, the more they’re going to appreciate being valued for their place and importance in this world, above their looks. Men or women – we’re the same in this way. It doesn’t mean you should stop telling people that they’re physically beautiful, just that you should balance it with thoughtful observations about the person’s character. Psychologically, we crave this balance and without it, insecurity gets a foot in the door.

Men are no different. Compliments directed to a man’s inner core are highly prized by guys. For his self-esteem, he needs to know he is valued for who he is deep down.

Pair of people enjoying themselves at a party

5- You make me want to be a better person. – Bạn làm cho tôi muốn trở thành một người tốt hơn.

Do you know someone who inspires you so much, that their mere existence makes you want to move those metaphorical mountains and become the absolute best version of yourself?

This phrase is a lovely thing to say to someone who you care about on a personal level. It’s the kind of compliment reserved for the few special individuals who mean so much to us, that our greatest desire is to have them see us ‘becoming’ – not for anyone’s profit, but just for the sake of love and personal growth.

You might feel this way about a romantic partner, a very close friend or a family member. If you feel this way, don’t hold it in! That person needs to hear it. You will make them feel good and help them to know that the love they put into nurturing your heart is noticed. Chances are, they feel the same way about you.

When you look for the good in others, you start to see the good in yourself. It takes a bit of thought to come up with a string of kind words that convey maximum positive truth about the other person; in those moments, you’re being unselfish and considering their needs before your own. I genuinely believe that paying someone a heartfelt compliment is an act of self-love. After all, giving is more important than receiving. When you give out compliments that are true, you do the world a service and create beauty in your circle. What’s more, you invite reciprocated words of affirmation – whether from the same person, or someone else. When you give, it will inevitably come back to you.

Pair of women hugging and laughing

6- That jacket looks nice on you. – Chiếc áo khoác đó trông đẹp khi trên người bạn.

Men secretly love to be complimented on their clothes. Yup – it makes a man feel good to hear these words, especially since a favorite jacket is something he’ll wear often in cooler weather or to work. If the fabric brings out his eyes, tell him!

Learning some practical and more specific Vietnamese compliments like this one is a great idea, because it shows that you’ve actually thought about what you’re saying. Noticing details about a person’s outfit and commenting on them comes across well to the hearer and sounds more sincere than “You look good.” Think about the last time someone noticed your outfit, and you’ll know just what I mean. It makes you feel more confident as you go about your day.

Man showing off a jacket in front of a camera

7- I know that it was a tough project, but your performance exceeded my expectations. – Tôi biết rằng nó là một dự án khó khăn, nhưng thành quả của bạn vượt quá mong đợi của tôi.

In the work environment, it’s vital to know some Vietnamese praise words that encourage, uplift and express real appreciation. In this sense, compliments can be a form of leadership; a good leader helps his or her team to grow by building them up and pushing them on.

If you hear these Vietnamese words, you can rest assured that your boss is very pleased with your work. If you’re a teacher at a Vietnamese high school, this is also a great phrase to encourage learners with when they’ve worked hard on a project.

8- You’re smart! – Bạn thật thông minh!

Smart, clever, brainy – these are all synonyms for intelligence and one of the best compliments you can give. Everybody likes being thought of as smart, so here’s a compliment that can be used in both casual and formal settings. We say this to boost the self-esteem of kids, to praise our friends when they have good ideas and to express awe of a colleague in the workplace.

Being ‘smart’ can mean you make good choices in general, that you have a particular area you excel in, or even that you have an above-average IQ.

Everybody likes the idea of having a high IQ, but it’s not as simple to determine what that even means as we once thought. When I was studying to work in Asia, there was a lot of buzz about Multiple Intelligences Theory as a more accurate determination of intelligence than traditional IQ testing. The theory was developed by Doctor Howard Gardner and the critical reception was complex, to say the least.

Gardner argues that there is a wide range of cognitive abilities, but that there are only very weak correlations among them. For example, a child who learns to multiply easily is not necessarily more intelligent than a child who has difficulty with this task; the child who seems better at art might actually understand multiplication at a fundamentally deeper level. Humans have different learning styles; if one appears to have difficulty grasping a certain concept, the first step is to change the teaching approach.

We’re all smart in our own way, so remind your reflection of that each morning!

Young man holding a solved rubik's cube

9- You are an awesome friend. – Bạn là một người bạn tuyệt vời.

On a more personal note – how good does it make you feel to hear that your friend appreciates you? I’d say it’s right up there with the best kinds of ‘thank you’. Knowing this, it makes sense to learn this phrase in Vietnamese and use it next time your Vietnamese friend has done something selfless and amazing for you. Let them know with this compliment in Vietnamese and make their day.

The lovely thing about using these words is that they encourage even more acts of kindness and support from friends. When you put effort and energy into a friendship and aren’t afraid to share sentiments of love, such as this phrase, chances are the friendship will go the distance. If your sojourn in Vietnam is more than a few weeks, you’re going to need a good friend or two, so hold on to this friendly phrase!

Two dogs running together, holding one stick

10- You have a great sense of humor. – bạn có sự nhạy bén tuyệt vời.

Did you know that chimpanzees, gorillas, bonobos, and orangutans engage in social laughter? It’s true! Laughter is an important form of social play that connects us and helps to relieve tension. It’s nice being around someone who makes us laugh or who finds us amusing.

I have a weird sense of humor that many people don’t get, but those who do seem to end up cry-laughing a lot in my presence and somehow that makes them my favorite humans. I’ve learned who I can and can’t be funny with. Have you had a similar experience?

Being able to tell someone that you like their sense of humor is important in your social circle. In fact, take these words along with you on a date. If he or she cracks you up, they will definitely appreciate hearing you say so in Vietnamese.

11- Your smile is beautiful. – Nụ cười của bạn thật đẹp.

When paying aesthetic compliments in Vietnamese, especially to a woman you don’t know very well, try to avoid talking about her body and say something like “Your smile is beautiful”, instead. It’s a guaranteed winner! It can be tricky complimenting women in this modern world, where ladies don’t always feel safe, but that’s no reason to stop expressing admiration altogether. Choose your words wisely and you’ll be well on your way to making their day!

Let’s not exclude men from this compliment, though – it’s an excellent choice for a guy you like and feel safe with. In fact, the beauty of this compliment is that you can say it to pretty much anyone, of any age, and it will likely be well-received. Next time you want to make a homeless person smile – this is the better word choice!

Compliments

12- I love your cooking. – Tôi thích cách nấu nướng của bạn.

If there’s one form of praise we can’t leave out, it’s how to give kudos for someone’s culinary skills. Vietnamese compliments for food are a must if you want to be invited back for another home-cooked dinner at the home of the local masterchef. As much as the street food is to die for, nothing beats the experience of an authentic home-cooked meal in Vietnam. Be sure to read up on basic dining etiquette before you go, and don’t forget to download the Vietnamese WordPower app to your phone so you can confidently ask the cook for tips.

Man in a kitchen, tossing food in a wok

13. You have good taste. – Bạn có vị giác tốt.

My sister is one of those people who’d rather be complimented on her taste than on her personality, brains or looks. Do you know someone like that? It’s usually the girl or guy in your group who’s always well-dressed and probably has a full-on feng shui vibe in their home. If you meet someone in Vietnam who loves their labels, only wears real leather and whose hair is always on-fleek, here’s a compliment they will appreciate.

To have good taste means knowing what is excellent and of good quality, with an eye for detecting subtle differences that make something genuine or not. People with good taste can discern what others find appealing, and tend to impress with their aesthetic choices. This friend will be the one you’ll go to when you aren’t sure what jacket to buy for your interview, or what gift to choose for your hosts.

So, is good taste about social conventions, or the genuine value of an item? Well, since it can refer to taste in music, art, design and fine wines as well as style choices, I think it’s an interesting combination of both. What do you think?

Well-dressed woman drinking red wine in a restaurant

14- You look gorgeous. – Bạn trông thật lộng lẫy.

“Gorgeous” makes me think of powder blue lakes, newborn babies, wild horses and Terrence Hill in the 80’s. Synonymous with ‘stunning’, it’s a word that means something beyond beautiful and as such, it’s one of the ultimate words of admiration. The vocabulary.com dictionary suggests reserving this word for the kind of looks that take your breath away; in other words, save it for someone special – like a date you adore and definitely want to see again.

Does that mean you can only tell a captivating date that they look gorgeous? Of course not. You can say “You look gorgeous” to a friend dressed up to meet their beau, a child tolerating a bunny suit for the school play, or to anyone special who needs a confidence boost. As long as you’re being sincere, this is a wonderful phrase to express admiration.

Woman in a billowing red dress

15- You have a way with words. – Bạn có khả năng ăn nói.

There’s always that one person in the group who’s great at articulating deep thoughts, writing intriguing social media posts or comforting others when they’re feeling low. Your companion with this skill is likely very empathetic and although the words seem to come easy for them, they might find it difficult to be vulnerable.

When your friend or lover has let their guard down and shown you that soft place, don’t be afraid to tell them that it’s good, because they need to hear it. “You have a way with words” is a meaningful phrase that lets them know they’ve made a positive impact and their words are wanted. Your kind compliment will ensure that their eloquent words keep coming.

Positive feelings

3. Conclusion

Next time you’re traveling or working in Vietnam, keep an ear open for the compliments you’ve learned, as they might be aimed at you! If you’re taking time to listen to native speakers on our YouTube channels or with Audio Books, it will also help a lot with the accent. Familiarizing yourself with the sound of compliments in the Vietnamese culture is important for your journey and will make your overall experience more meaningful.

Being acknowledged by others helps us to feel accepted and secure, and these are two things we all want to feel when venturing into unfamiliar territory. Remember that although compliments have more impact in your own language, it’s only because you’ve spent a lifetime hearing them and have become accustomed to the fullness of their meaning. You can get there with Vietnamese, too – it just takes a little time.

Don’t forget the golden rule: give more than you receive! Paying compliments to the people you meet will not only give you excellent language practice, but the reward will be new friendships and positive vibes.

Here are a few more ways you can practice daily:

  • Chat online with the guys and gals in our learning community. Nothing beats real-time information on how people are currently speaking. It’s a good way to hear some Vietnamese colloquialisms.
  • Take time out to read. Reading is an excellent way to develop photographic memory of how the phrases look in Vietnamese. We have both iBooks and Kindle books to choose from.
  • There are also some fantastic free podcasts you can listen to on iTunes. They promise to get you speaking after the very first lesson.

One last thought I want to leave you with: don’t forget to receive a compliment with grace. You deserve to hear good words, so get used to smiling and just feeling the kindness with gratitude.

Well, time for me to go! I hope you’ve enjoyed learning these useful compliments with us at VietnamesePod101 today. Now, go out and find some cool people who need to hear them!

Log in to Download Your Free Cheat Sheet - Beginner Vocabulary in Vietnamese

How to Celebrate International Children’s Day in Vietnam

Thumbnail

Do you remember being a kid? The world was bigger, and our imaginations seemed to cover more ground. Weekends, summer vacation, and holidays were the best thing ever!

In Vietnam, International Children’s Day is one of those days that children look forward to all year long. In this article, you’ll learn all about this holiday and how the Vietnamese celebrate it each year; you’ll also pick up some handy vocab!

Let’s get started.

Log in to Download Your Free Cheat Sheet - Beginner Vocabulary in Vietnamese

1. What is International Children’s Day?

A Group of Children Jumping Up in the Grass

Children’s Day, as we know it today, got its start in 1857 when a pastor from the U.S. state of Massachusetts gave a sermon for and about children. Many years later, in 1920, Turkey made Children’s Day a national holiday; the idea soon spread to many other countries. By 1950, most countries had their own International Children’s Day celebration.

It was in 1950 that Vietnam held its first Children’s Day. At the time, Vietnam was under threat of enemy bombing, so they held the festivities in secret. They chose to celebrate in a forest of Thai Nguyen Province, a location that offered them greater maneuverability in case of an emergency. Despite the heavy shadows surrounding this first Children’s Day, Vietnamese trẻ con (“children”) greatly enjoyed themselves with games, songs, and group activities.

Like in other countries, Children’s Day in Vietnam is a special time for honoring children, emphasizing the importance of keeping them healthy and safe, and promoting children’s rights. Children are the future, so it’s vital that parents and other adults prepare them for the road ahead—and allow them to enjoy their childhood along the way.

2. When is Children’s Day?

International Children’s Day is on June 1

Each year, Vietnam celebrates International Children’s Day on Ngày mùng một tháng sáu (“June 1”). This is when the majority of countries observe the holiday, though the United Nations celebrates on November 20, and some other countries have separate dates as well.

3. Popular Children’s Day Traditions & Activities

A Grandfather Holding His Granddaughter on His Shoulders

In Vietnam, Children’s Day is largely a time for children to have fun and relax! Today, while life is more peaceful and the country is more prosperous, there are so many more opportunities for kids to be themselves and explore the world on this day.

Activities for International Children’s Day can vary from family to family. Some families may opt to đi ăn ở ngoài (“eat out”) at their child’s favorite restaurant, đi thăm vườn bách thú (“go to a zoo”), or just chơi trò chơi (“play games”) at home.

In schools, it’s not uncommon for there to be a special buổi biểu diễn (“performance”) of children singing and dancing. If a child has been good all throughout the school year, that child’s teacher may give them a quà tặng (“present”)!

Oftentimes, couples participate in Children’s Day activities with their families so they can go on a date in the company of others. This allows the couple to spend time together and avoid any awkwardness or shyness during their “date.”

4. Another Vietnamese Children’s Day?

There’s another holiday for children during the year: The Mid-Autumn Festival! You may be familiar with this holiday already, but did you know that it’s like a second Children’s Day for the little ones?

Children often receive lots of gifts from parents and other family members, and it’s the perfect occasion to play traditional games and have fun!

5. Must-Know Children’s Day Vocabulary

A Toy Train Made of Colored Wood Blocks

Let’s review some of the vocabulary words from this article!

  • Nhảy — “Dance” [v.]
  • Trẻ con — “Children” [n.]
  • Buổi biểu diễn — “Performance” [n.]
  • Đi ăn ở ngoài — “Eat out”
  • Quà tặng — “Present” [n.]
  • Công viên — “Park” [n.]
  • Hát — “Sing” [v.]
  • Ngày quốc tế thiếu nhi — “International Children’s Day” [n.]
  • Đồ chơi — “Toy” [n.]
  • Chơi trò chơi — “Play games”
  • Lòng yêu trẻ — “Love for children” [n.]
  • Ngày mùng một tháng sáu — “June 1”
  • Đi thăm vườn bách thú — “Go to a zoo”
  • Búp bê — “Doll” [n.]

If you want to hear the pronunciation of each word and phrase listed above, be sure to visit our Vietnamese International Children’s Day vocabulary list!

Final Thoughts

We hope you enjoyed learning about International Children’s Day in Vietnam with us, and that you took away some valuable cultural information.

Do you celebrate International Children’s Day in your country? If so, are celebrations similar to or quite different from those in Vietnam? We look forward to hearing from you in the comments!

To continue learning about Vietnamese culture and the language, VietnamesePod101.com has several free resources for you, straight from our blog:

This only scratches the surface of everything VietnamesePod101.com can offer the aspiring Vietnamese-learner. To make the most of your study time, create your free lifetime account today; for access to exclusive content and lessons, upgrade to our Premium or Premium PLUS plans.

Happy International Children’s Day from the VietnamesePod101 family! 😀

Log in to Download Your Free Cheat Sheet - Beginner Vocabulary in Vietnamese

Get Angry in Vietnamese with Phrases for Any Situation!

Thumbnail

Anger is a natural response to pain of some sort; when you’re angry, you’re angry with a cause and want someone to pay! It’s so much harder when you’re traveling, because your routines are off-kilter, there’s culture shock to deal with and the smallest problems can seem overwhelming. How do you handle someone who’s just pushed your last button?

At home, we often have a go-to person who is good at calming us down, but emotions are tricky to deal with in a foreign country. Sometimes people may treat you unfairly, but you’re completely baffled as to why. You have to remember that people in Vietnam think differently to how you do and it’s not impossible to inadvertently cause offense. Don’t stress about it too much, because you’ll adapt! Once you feel at home in Vietnam and people get to know you, it will be easy to flow with the local rhythm and handle tensions well.

This brings us to two obvious reasons why you should learn some angry phrases in Vietnamese: first, so you can understand when you’ve upset a Vietnamese person, and second, to have the vocabulary to tell a person off when they absolutely have it coming. Not only will you be far more likely to solve the problem if you know some appropriate angry Vietnamese phrases, but you’ll probably earn some respect, too! At VietnamesePod101 we’re ready to help you articulate those feelings.

Log in to Download Your Free Cheat Sheet - Useful Verbs in Vietnamese
Table of Contents

  1. Vietnamese phrases to use when you’re angry
  2. Feeling negative in Vietnamese
  3. Conclusion

1. Vietnamese phrases to use when you’re angry

Complaints

Okay, so you’ve had a very frustrating day at your new teaching job in Vietnam and all you want to do is chill on your bed with ice-cream and a Nook Book, but you come home to find your landlord in your apartment, apparently doing an inspection of your personal possessions. How do you handle it? Do you have an angry Vietnamese translation for “What the heck are you doing?”

If there’s one thing I’ve learned about confronting someone in their own country, it’s to press the pause button on my reactions and think first! Is my first thought worth expressing? Sometimes, you need to think like a chess player: if I make this move, what will happen next?

It’s always better to think ‘win-win’ in Vietnam. A good tactic is to keep a mental note of your personal speed limit before engaging. After all, you want a positive outcome!

So, do you know how to say “I am angry” in Vietnamese? You will – VietnamesePod101 is about to teach you how to get mad! Here are fifteen great angry phrases in Vietnamese.

1- It’s none of your business. – Nó không phải là chuyện của bạn.

As a foreigner in Vietnam, you’ll be a topic of interest. While most folks understand boundaries, there’s always that one individual who doesn’t!

Sometimes you feel that a person is getting way too involved in your affairs, and this expression is a commonly-used one for letting them know that. If said calmly and firmly, while looking them in the eye, it should do the trick and even earn you some respect.

Angry Blonde Girl Holding Up Her Hands to Warn Someone Away

2- I’m upset. – Tôi đang bực.

I find this phrase useful for times when I need to express annoyance to someone I can’t afford to lose my temper with. A boss, for instance. As long as you say it without yelling, this can be a polite way of letting someone know that you are feeling bad and that you want those feelings validated. No matter what has happened, the result is that you are troubled and need some time to get over it. Depending on how you say it, “I’m upset” can also be a subtle invitation for the other party to address the problem.

3- You’re not listening to me. – Bạn đang không lắng nghe tôi.

Isn’t this the most frustrating thing? You’re in a situation where you’re telling someone why you’re mad at them, but they just won’t look at the story from your point of view. Rather than resort to bad language, try to convince them to take a breather and hear you out. This expression is a great way to ask someone to stop talking and to listen to you properly.

Asian Couple Fighting Head-to-Head, Woman Blocking Her Ears

4- Watch your mouth. – Cẩn thận cái mồm của bạn.

Where have you heard this before? Let your mind go back to all the times you were cheeky and disrespectful in your youth… that’s right – it was your parents! If you’re on the receiving end, this angry phrase means that you said something you shouldn’t have. It has an authoritative, challenging tone and it implies that there could be consequences if you don’t stop.

So, when can you use it? Well, be careful with this one; it may very well get you in trouble if not used with caution. It can also be seen as very rude if used on anyone you don’t actually have authority over!

5- That’s enough. – Thế là đủ rồi.

Depending on your tone of voice when you say this, you could be calmly telling someone to stop doing what they’re doing, or you could be sternly ordering them to stop. In Vietnamese, as in English, tone is key when it comes to making yourself understood. Just don’t be saying this to anyone, as it carries an authoritative tone and would be seen as rude if said to an older person.

Angry School Mistress Shaking a Ruler As If Reprimanding

6- Stop it. – Dừng lại đi.

One of the more common imperatives in any language, this is a basic way to warn somebody that you don’t like what they’re doing and want them to stop. You can use it in most situations where a person is getting under your skin. Often, “Stop it” precedes some of the weightier phrases one resorts to if the offender doesn’t stop and anger escalates. For this reason, I always add a “Please” and hope for the best!

7- Cut it out. – Thôi đi.

I think parents and teachers everywhere, throughout time, have heard variations of this expression of annoyance for as long as we’ve had tweens and teens on Earth! It’s a go-to command, thrown about frequently between siblings and peers, to stop being irritating. You’d generally use this on people you consider your relative equals – even though in the moment, you probably consider them low enough to stomp on!

8- What the heck are you doing? – Bạn đang làm cái quái gì vậy?

Here’s an interjection for those instances when you can scarcely believe what you’re seeing. It denotes incredulity ranging from mild disbelief to total disgust or dismay. You would typically use this when you want an action to stop immediately, because it’s wrong – at least, in your perception of things.

It may be worth remembering that the English word “heck” doesn’t have a direct translation in Vietnamese – or in other languages, for that matter; most translations are more accurately saying “What the hell.” We say “heck” in English as a euphemism, but that word is thought to come from “hex” – an ancient word for “spell” – so I don’t know which is better!

9- Who do you think you are? – Bạn nghĩ bạn là ai?

I avoid this expression as it makes me nervous! It’s quite confrontational. I’m reminded of the time a clerk in a busy cellular network service store was being rude to me and a rich-looking man came to my rescue, aiming this phrase at the clerk loudly and repeatedly. At first, I was relieved to have someone on my side, but I quickly grew embarrassed at the scene he was causing.

Using this phrase has a tendency to make you sound like you feel superior, so take it easy. The irony, of course, is that someone who provokes this response is taking a position of authority or privilege that they aren’t entitled to! Now you look like two bears having a stand-off.

They call this an ‘ad hominem’ argument, meaning the focus has shifted from attacking the problem, to attacking the person. So, is it a good phrase to use? That’s up to you. If you’re in the moment and someone’s attitude needs adjusting – go for it!

Man and Woman Arguing, with White Alphabet Letters Coming from the Man’s Mouth and White Question Marks Above the Woman

10- What?! – Cái gì?!

An expression of disbelief, this is frequently said mid-argument, in a heated tone, and it means you cannot believe what you’re hearing. In other words, it conveys the message that the other person is talking nonsense or lying.

11- I don’t want to talk to you. – Tôi không muốn nói chuyện với bạn.

This is a great bit of vocab for a traveler – especially for a woman traveling solo. Whether you’re being harassed while trying to read your Kindle on the train, or hit on by a drunk man in a bar, chances are that sooner or later, you will encounter a character you don’t wish to speak to.

The most straightforward way to make the message clear is to simply tell them, “I don’t want to talk to you”. If you feel threatened, be calm and use your body language: stand straight, look them in the eye and say the words firmly. Then move away deliberately. Hopefully, they will leave you alone. I’d go so far as to say learn this phrase off-by-heart and practice your pronunciation until you can say it like a strong modern Vietnamese woman!

Highly Annoyed Redhead Girl Holding Up Her Hands As If to Say “Stop!”

12- Are you kidding me? – Bạn đang đùa tôi à?

To be ‘kidding’ means to joke with someone in a childlike way and it’s used both in fun and in anger. Like some other expressions, it needs context for the mood to be clear, but it pretty much conveys annoyed disbelief. You can use it when a person says or does something unpleasantly surprising, or that seems unlikely to be serious or true. It’s a rhetorical question, of course; try to familiarize yourself with how it sounds in Vietnamese, so next time it’s aimed at you, you don’t hunt your inner Vietnamese lexicon for an answer!

Dark-haired Girl Giving a Very Dirty Look, with One Hand on Her Hip and Holding a Gift Box with Apparent Disgust

13- This is so frustrating. – Điều này là rất khó chịu.

Another way of showing someone you have an intense battle going on inside, is to just tell them you’re terribly frustrated and feeling desperate to find a solution. Use this expression! It can be a useful tool to bring the other person into your headspace and maybe even evoke some degree of empathy from them. More polite than many others, it’s a sentence that seems to say, “I beg you to work with me so we can resolve this!”

Asian Man Yelling, Bent Forward, with His Hands Held Up Next to His Head

14- Shut up. – Im đi!

The use of the phrase “shut up” to signify “hold one’s tongue” dates back to the sixteenth century and was even used by Shakespeare as an insult – with various creative twists! It’s been evolving ever since and there are variations in just about every language – proving that no matter where you come from, angry emotions are universal!

One example of old usage is a poem Rudyard Kipling wrote in 1892, where a seasoned military veteran says to the troops: “Now all you recruities what’s drafted to-day, You shut up your rag-box an’ ‘ark to my lay.”

Well, when I was twelve and full of spirit, I was taught that nice girls don’t say this. “Shut up” is an imperative that’s considered impolite; it’s one of those expressions people resort to when they either can’t think of better words to use, or simply can’t bear to listen to any more nonsense. Either way, it’s at the lower end of the smart argument scale. Like all angry phrases, though, it does have its uses!

15- So what? – Vậy, làm sao?

When you don’t believe the other person’s defense argument legitimizes or justifies their actions, you might say these words. Basically, you’re telling them they need to come up with better logic!

Another time you could use this one, is when you simply don’t care for someone’s criticism of you. Perhaps you don’t agree with them, or they’re being unfair and you need to defend your position. “So what?” tells them you feel somewhat indignant and don’t believe you’re in the wrong.

2. Feeling negative in Vietnamese

Negative Feelings

What was the most recent negative emotion you felt? Were you nervous about an exam? Exhausted and homesick from lack of sleep? Maybe you felt frightened and confused about the impact COVID-19 would have on your travel plans. If you’re human, you have days when you just want the whole world to leave you alone – and that’s okay!

When you’re feeling blue, there’s only so much body language can do. Rather than keeping people guessing why you’re in a bad mood, just tell them! Your Vietnamese friends and colleagues will be much more likely to give you your space (or a hug) if they know what’s wrong. Not only that, but it’s nice to give new friends the opportunity to be supportive. Bring on the bonding!

The fastest way to learn to describe negative feelings in Vietnam, is to get into the habit of identifying your own mood daily in Vietnamese. Here’s an easy way: in your travel journal, simply write down the Vietnamese word for how you feel each morning. You can get all the words directly from us at VietnamesePod101. Remember, also, that we have a huge online community if you need a friend to talk to. We’ve got you!

3. Conclusion

Now that you know how to express your bad feelings in Vietnamese, why not check out some other cool things on our site? You can sign up for the amazing free lifetime account – it’s a great place to start learning!

And really – make the most of your alone time. After all, it’s been proven that learning a new language not only benefits cognitive abilities like intelligence and memory, but it also slows down the brain’s aging. So, on those days when you just need to be away from people, we have some brain-boosting suggestions that will lift your spirits:

  • Have you heard of Roku? A Roku player is a device that lets you easily enjoy streaming, which means accessing entertainment via the internet on your TV. We have over 30 languages you can learn with Innovative Language TV. Lie back and enjoy!
  • If you like your Apple devices, we have over 690 iPhone and iPad apps in over 40 languages – did you know that? The Visual Dictionary Pro, for example, is super fun and makes learning vocab easy. For Android lovers, we have over 100 apps on the Android market, too.
  • You can also just kick back on the couch and close your eyes, letting your headphones do the work with our audiobooks – great for learning the culture while you master the language. Similarly, if you’re more of a reader, we have some fantastic iBooks that are super interesting and fun for practicing your daily conversation skills.

Whatever your learning style (or your mood), you’ll find something that appeals to you at VietnamesePod101. Come join us!

Log in to Download Your Free Cheat Sheet - Useful Verbs in Vietnamese

Ngày Quốc tế Lao động: International Workers’ Day in Vietnam

International Workers’ Day is an important holiday in Vietnam, where workers can both have the day off of work and request better working conditions. In this article, you’ll learn about the history of Labor Day in Vietnam, how people take advantage of their day off, and some useful vocabulary.

Let’s get started.

Log in to Download Your Free Cheat Sheet - Beginner Vocabulary in Vietnamese

1. What is Labor Day?

Labor Day originated in the United States in 1886 when workers demonstrated for better working conditions, more specifically, an eight-hour workday. In addition to the Haymarket Affair, this helped American workers eventually attain more rights and a better work environment.

International Labor Day in Vietnam began in 1930. Led by the Communist Party of Vietnam, Vietnamese workers took to the streets with demonstrations for the first time since Indochina’s labor movement started. During this first International Labor Day, Vietnam asked the French Empire for better working conditions, higher wages, and implementation of the eight-hour workday.

After the 1945 August Revolution, Ho Chi Minh designated International Workers’ Day as an official public holiday in Vietnam, giving workers the day off each year.

Today, this holiday is a time to honor every công nhân (“worker” ), demonstrate for more rights, and of course, to relax and take it easy.

    → Check out our vocabulary list on Jobs / Work to pick up some useful vocabulary!

2. When is Labor Day in Vietnam?

Labor Day is on May 1

Each year, Vietnam celebrates Labor Day on May 1 with the rest of the world (except for the United States, which celebrates on the first Monday of September).

3. Celebrating Labor Day in Vietnamese Culture

Different-Colored Balloons Against a White Background

If you happen to be in Vietnam during Labor Day, you’ll likely see a cuộc diễu hành (“parade” ) in the streets, hear a diễn văn (“speech” ), and find plenty of great trò giải trí (“entertainment” ) everywhere you go. On Labor Day, Vietnam is filled with banners, flags, and maybe even bóng bay (“balloon” ) and hoa (“flower” ) decorations.

All workers are allowed to take paid leave during this holiday, and because Labor Day directly follows another public holiday (Liberation Day on April 30), this is often a full Labor Day weekend for workers. Even better is when these two holidays fall on a Thursday and Friday, because this gives workers four days off from work. Many people use this very long holiday season to đi du lịch (“travel” ), especially to their hometowns to spend time with family or old friends.

Because so many people are away traveling, the streets in certain areas may be pretty empty.

4. Communist Party of Vietnam

The Communist Party of Vietnam is the only ruling body in the country, and it implements ideals from Marxism-Leninism and Ho Chi Minh himself into its governance. This party has split into different factions a few times since its start, and today, Vietnam is in the process of shifting to a more socialist market and government system.

5. Must-Know Vocabulary for International Workers’ Day

A Group of People Holding Each Other’s Wrists in a Circle of Solidarity

Ready to review some of the vocabulary words from this article? Here’s a list of the most important words and phrases for Labor Day in Vietnam!

  • Công nhân — “Worker” [n.]
  • Hoa — “Flower” [n.]
  • Đi du lịch — “Travel”
  • Ngày Quốc tế Lao động — “International Workers’ Day” [n.]
  • Diễn văn — “Speech” [n.]
  • Cuộc diễu hành — “Parade” [n.]
  • Đảng Cộng sản — “Communist Party” [n.]
  • Trò giải trí — “Entertainment” [n.]
  • Biểu ngữ — “Banner” [n.]
  • Bóng bay — “Balloon” [n.]
  • Công đoàn — “Trade union” [n.]
  • Tình đoàn kết — “Solidarity” [n.]
  • Ngày mùng 1 tháng 5 — “May 1”
  • Bóc lột — “Exploit” [v.]
  • Quyền lao động — “Labor right”
  • Cuộc biểu tình — “Demonstration” [n.]
  • Phong trào — “Movement” [n.]

To hear the pronunciation of each word and phrase, and to read them alongside relevant images, be sure to check out our Vietnamese International Workers’ Day vocabulary list!

Final Thoughts

We hope you enjoyed learning about the Vietnam Labor Day holiday with us, and that you were able to take away some valuable information.

Do you celebrate Labor Day in your country? If so, how do celebrations differ from those in Vietnam? We look forward to hearing from you in the comments!

If you want to learn even more about Vietnamese culture and the language, you may be interested in reading the following pages:

This is just the tip of the iceberg. For more fantastic Vietnamese-learning content, create your free lifetime account with us today. You can also upgrade to our Premium or Premium PLUS plans to gain access to exclusive lessons to help you learn Vietnamese faster.

Happy International Workers’ Day! 🙂

Log in to Download Your Free Cheat Sheet - Beginner Vocabulary in Vietnamese