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Lesson Transcript

Becky: Hi everyone. I’m Becky. Welcome back to VietnamesePod101.com This is the Absolute Beginner series, Season 1, Lesson 16 - Asking Formal Questions in Vietnamese.
Huyen: Xin chào! I’m Huyen.
Becky: In this lesson, you’ll learn how to ask a question in the most formal way. The conversation takes place on the street and is between Trang and a pedestrian.
Huyen: They’re strangers, so they’ll be using formal Vietnamese.
Becky: Let’s listen to the conversation.
Trang: Xin hỏi, gần đây có ngân hàng nào không ạ?
Pedestrian: Có ngân hàng Vietcombank đấy.
Trang: Đi đến đấy như thế nào ạ?
Pedestrian: Đi thẳng 3 phút là đến.
Trang: Cảm ơn bác.
Pedestrian: Không có gì.
Trang: Excuse me, is there a bank near here?
Pedestrian: There's a Vietcombank.
Trang: How can I get there?
Pedestrian: Go straight for three minutes and you'll get there.
Trang: Thank you, uncle.
Pedestrian: You're welcome.
Becky: Huyen, can you explain what Vietcombank is to our listeners?
Huyen: Yes. Vietcombank is one of the biggest banks in Vietnam. It’s short for Bank for Foreign Trade of Vietnam.
Becky: I heard that it’s the most prestigious commercial bank for foreign trade in Vietnam and the first commercial bank in Vietnam to deal foreign currencies, isn’t that right?
Huyen: That’s right. Vietcombank also has the largest network of ATMs in Vietnam.
Becky: You can find Vietcombank ATMs easily in handy locations such as hotels, supermarkets, airports, shopping malls, and so on.
Huyen: If you come to Vietnam and want to find a bank, please ask for Vietcombank.
Becky: Yeah, everyone knows this bank and it is located almost on every street. So, please note this information as it will be convenient for you if you travel to Vietnam. Okay, now let’s move on to the vocab.
Becky: Let’s take a closer look at some of the words and phrases from this lesson. The first word is....
Huyen: Gần đây.
Becky: This word has two meanings. If it is used as an adverb of time, it means “recently” or “lately”.
Huyen: For example, Gần đây bạn thế nào?
Becky: “How have you been doing lately?” If it’s used as an adverb of place, it means “near here” as in this dialogue.
Huyen: Ở gần đây có một quán KFC.
Becky: “There’s a KFC near here”. The next word is....
Huyen: Nào
Becky: In the previous lesson, we learned that it means “what” or “which”, but in this lesson, it means “any”. But unlike in English where “any” is put before a noun...
Huyen: ...nào is put after a noun in Vietnamese.
Becky: Let’s hear some examples.
Huyen: Tháng này tôi không mua quyển sách nào.
Becky: “I haven’t bought any books this month.”
Huyen: Không còn cái bánh mỳ nào trong tủ lạnh.
Becky: “There isn’t any bread in the fridge.” And the last word is a pronoun.
Huyen: bác
Becky: This pronoun refers to a man or a woman who is a little older or looks a little older than your parents. For example, you call your friend, Linh, and her mother picks up. You want to ask to speak to Linh, so you can say...
Huyen: Bác làm ơn cho cháu gặp bạn Linh ạ?
Becky: “Aunt, may I speak to Linh, please?” Okay, that’s the end of the vocabulary part. Let’s continue with the grammar section.
Becky: In this lesson, you’ll learn how to ask a question in the most formal way.
Huyen: In the dialogue, we hear Xin hỏi, gần đây có ngân hàng nào không ạ?
Becky: “Excuse me, is there a bank near here?” A polite question usually starts with...
Huyen: ...xin hỏi…
Becky: ...which is “excuse me”, and ends with…
Huyen: ...ạ…
Becky: This is a sentence-ending particle and is added when you are talking with an older person or someone in formal situation.
Huyen: Sometimes, you can remove xin hỏi at the beginning.
Becky: In the dialogue, we also hear another polite question.
Huyen: Đi đến đấy như thế nào ạ?
Becky: “How can I get there?” In this question, the speaker didn’t say...
Huyen: ...xin hỏi…
Becky: ...at the beginning, but instead ended it with...
Huyen: ...ạ…
Becky: ...so it is still very polite. Let’s give our listeners some more examples.
Huyen: Xin hỏi ở đây có bán thẻ điện thoại không ạ?
Becky: “Excuse me, do you sell phone cards here?”
Huyen: Tối nay bố có ăn cơm nhà không ạ?
Becky: “Dad, are you coming home for dinner tonight?”
Huyen: Please note that the particle ạ is not only added at the end of a question.
Becky: Yeah, it can also be put at the end of a statement to make it more polite and show respect to the other speaker.
Huyen: Mẹ ơi, chiều nay con được nghỉ học ạ.
Becky: “Mom, I will be off from school this afternoon.”
Huyen: Em chào cô ạ.
Becky: “Hello, teacher.” Please note that you do not add…
Huyen: ...ạ…
Becky: ...at the end of a question or statement when you talk with a younger person in both formal and informal situations unless you’re not sure about his or her age.
Huyen: Right! So, listeners, will you be able to ask a polite question after this lesson?
Becky: I’m sure you will. To review what we have learned, please see the lesson notes. And if you have any questions, please leave a comment on this lesson.


Becky: That’s it for this lesson. We hope you’ve enjoyed learning with us. Thanks for listening, and see you next time.
Huyen: Tạm biệt!