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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 17 - What Do You Do in Your Free Time in Vietnam?
Huyen: Xin chào! I’m Huyen.
Becky: In this lesson, you’ll learn how to use the simple present tense in Vietnamese. The conversation takes place in a class and is between An and Hoa.
Huyen: They’re friends, so they’ll be using informal Vietnamese.
Becky: Let’s listen to the conversation.
An: Khi rảnh bạn làm gì?
Hoa: Tớ đi cà phê hoặc đi mua sắm với bạn bè. Còn bạn?
An: Tớ thường đọc sách hoặc nghe nhạc.
Hoa: Bạn thích nghe nhạc gì?
An: Tớ thích nhạc pop.
Hoa: Tớ thì thích nhạc rock hơn.
An: What do you do in your free time?
Hoa: I go to a café or go shopping with friends. What about you?
An: I often read books or listen to music.
Hoa: What kind of music do you like?
An: I like pop music.
Hoa: I prefer rock.
Becky: Huyen, what do young people in Vietnam do in their free time?
Huyen: Well, one of the most popular activities is đi cà phê, which means “going to a cafe”.
Becky: So they hang out in groups at a cafe to chit-chat?
Huyen: Right. The most popular places for young Vietnamese are large department stores or shopping malls.
Becky: Yeah, I often go to those places with my friends too, because we can do several activities at the same time in one place like shopping, eating, playing games, or watching movies. What do girls like to do?
Huyen: Young girls love shopping. And many of them choose to go to popular shopping streets instead of shopping malls.
Becky: Yeah, I guess it’s easier to find nice items and at reasonable prices. What about guys?
Huyen: Guys are more into playing games in internet cafes or playing soccer.
Becky: Well, it seems young people are quite similar everywhere! 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. First we have...
Huyen: ...Khi rảnh.
Becky: Literally it means “when free”. In Vietnamese, we can use...
Huyen: ...khi…
Becky: …meaning “when”, directly with an adjective to describe a time when you are in a certain state or experiencing a certain feeling. Unlike in English, you won’t have to add “to be” between “when” and the adjective in Vietnamese.
Huyen: For example, khi buồn.
Becky: “When being sad”
Huyen: Khi bận
Becky: “When being busy”
Huyen: Khi mệt
Becky: “When being tired”. The next word we have is...
Huyen: ...thường...
Becky: ...meaning “often” or “usually”. This is an adverb of frequency. It is used in exactly the same way as “often” or “usually” in English. This adverb is put after the subject and before the main verb.
Huyen: For example, Tôi thường ăn bánh mỳ vào buổi sáng.
Becky: “I often eat bread for breakfast.”
Huyen: Cô ấy thường thức khuya để làm việc.
Becky: “She often stays up late to work”.
Huyen: Finally, we have the verb...
Huyen: ...thích...
Becky: ...which means “to like”. This verb can be followed directly by a noun or a verb to express that you like something or like to do something.
Huyen: For example, Tôi thích sách văn học.
Becky: “I like literature books”.
Huyen: Tôi thích đọc sách văn học.
Becky: “I like to read literature books”. You can see that the verb is added directly after...
Huyen: ...thích…
Becky: ...and no change in the form is required. This is simpler than in English where you have to change the verb into its infinitive form or “-ing” form before adding “to like”. Okay, now onto the grammar.
Becky: In this lesson, you’ll learn how to use the simple present tense. In the dialogue we hear...
Huyen: Tớ thường đọc sách hoặc nghe nhạc.
Becky: In simple present tense, the bare form of the verb is put right after the subject and it remains the same. It doesn’t matter if the subject is the first, second, or third person and it doesn’t matter whether it’s in the singular or plural form either.
Huyen: Like in English, simple present tense is used to express a regular activity, like daily routines or habits.
Becky: Adverbs of frequency are also used to enhance the meaning of the action. They’re always put after the subject and before the main verb.
Huyen: The time expression, if any, can be put at the beginning or the end of the sentence.
Becky: So the main structure is: Subject, followed by the adverb of frequency, if any, and finally the main verb. Again, there is no change in the form of the verb regardless of the subject. Let’s hear another example from the dialogue.
Huyen: Tớ đi cà phê hoặc đi mua sắm với bạn bè.
Becky: “I go to cafes or go shopping with friends.” Here the speaker mentions two activities, so she uses two verbs in their bare form and the connection word...
Huyen: ...hoặc, which means “or”.
Becky: Can you give our listeners some more examples?
Huyen: Tôi thường dậy vào 7 giờ sáng.
Becky: “I often get up at 7 am.”
Huyen: Hàng ngày cô ấy đi bộ đến trường.
Becky: “Every day she walks to school.”
Huyen: Họ hiếm khi ăn hàng.
Becky: “They rarely eat out at a restaurant.” Do you get the gist of the simple present tense? It’s much easier than in English, isn’t it? If you want to review what we’ve learned, please check the lesson notes.
Huyen: And don’t forget to leave us a comment!


Becky: That’s it for this lesson. Thank you very much for listening, and we’ll see you in the next lesson.
Huyen: Tạm biệt!