Dialogue

Vocabulary

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Lesson Transcript

INTRODUCTION
Becky: Hi everyone. I’m Becky. Welcome back to VietnamesePod101.com This is the Absolute Beginner series, Season 1, Lesson 18 - Sending a Letter Home From Vietnam.
Huyen: Xin chào! I’m Huyen.
Becky: In this lesson, you’ll learn how to ask about lengths of time. The conversation takes place at the post office, and is between Mai and the post office staff.
Huyen: They are a client and a service provider, so they’ll be using formal Vietnamese.
Becky: Let’s listen to the conversation.
DIALOGUE
Mai: Tôi muốn gửi thư này đi New York.
Staff: Chị muốn gửi thường hay chuyển phát nhanh ạ?
Mai: Chuyển phát nhanh thì mất bao lâu?
Staff: Khoảng một tuần ạ.
Mai: Cước phí là bao nhiêu?
Staff: Khoảng 20 đô ạ.
Mai: I want to send this letter to New York.
Staff: Would you like to send it by regular mail or EMS?
Mai: How long does it take by EMS?
Staff: About one week.
Mai: How much is the fee?
Staff: About twenty US dollars.
POST CONVERSATION BANTER
Becky: Huyen, as we are talking about the post office in Vietnam, is there a very famous one?
Huyen: Yes, I would like to introduce to our listeners the Saigon Central Post Office, which is also a popular tourist spot.
Becky: That’s the one in the downtown area of Ho Chi Minh city, isn’t it? For your information, Saigon is the old name of Ho Chi Minh city. What’s special about this post office?
Huyen: It was designed by a French architect in the late 19th century, so it’s famous for its mixed European-Asian architecture.
Becky: An old building in the downtown of a big city! The old atmosphere must really make it stand out among the surrounding high modern buildings.
Huyen: It definitely does.
Becky: I love the combination between the old and the new. It’s an exciting experience for visitors.
Huyen: You’re right. That’s why the post office is always included in a typical city tour of Ho Chi Minh city.
Becky: Okay, now let’s take a look at the vocabulary and phrases.
KEY VOCAB AND PHRASES
Becky: Let’s take a closer look at some of the words and phrases from this lesson. The first word is...
Huyen: ...Mất.
Becky: This word has a lot of meanings but the most common meaning is “to take”, and it’s used with time and money. In other words, it expresses how much time it takes to do something or how much it costs for something.
Huyen: For example, Hôm nay đi mua sắm mất gần một triệu.
Becky: “It cost me about a million dong to go shopping today.”
Huyen: Tôi mất gần 3 tiếng mới đọc xong cuốn sách.
Becky: “It took me almost three hours to finish reading the book.”
Huyen: Next we have cước phí.
Becky: This literally means “fee”, but it’s only used to mention certains kinds of fees. Huyen, can you give our listeners some examples?
Huyen: Cước phí điện thoại.
Becky: “Telephone fee.”
Huyen: Cước phí bưu điện.
Becky: “Postal fee.”
Huyen: Cước phí vận chuyển.
Becky: “Transportation fee.” So, besides telephone, postal, and transportation fees, you can talk about fees in general.
Huyen: For this, just say phí.
Becky: Let’s hear some examples.
Huyen: Học phí.
Becky: “School fee”
Huyen: Viện phí
Becky: “Hospital fee”
Huyen: Phí giao dịch
Becky: “Transaction fee”
Huyen: The third word is khoảng.
Becky: “About ”or “nearly”. This adverb expresses an approximation in distance, time, or quantity in general. It’s added before the number. Let’s hear some examples.
Huyen: Cô ấy khoảng hai mươi tuổi.
Becky: “She is about twenty years old”.
Huyen: Bay từ Hà Nội đến thành phố Hồ Chí Minh mất khoảng một tiếng rưỡi.
Becky: “It takes about one and a half hours to fly from Ha Noi to Ho Chi Minh city.”
Huyen: Từ nhà tôi đến công ty khoảng 1 km.
Becky: “It is about one kilometer from my house to my company”. Okay, now onto the grammar.
GRAMMAR POINT
Becky: In this lesson, you’ll learn how to ask about the length of time. In the dialogue, you hear...
Huyen: Chuyển phát nhanh thì mất bao lâu?
Becky: “How long does it take to send by EMS?” The key phrase here is...
Huyen: ...mất bao lâu? Mất means “to take” and bao lâu means “how long”.
Becky: So, altogether it means “How long does it take?” If you want to ask how long it takes to do something, simply add the phrase indicating that action before...
Huyen: ...mất bao lâu.
Becky: In many cases, the adverb…
Huyen: ...thì…
Becky: ...meaning “then”, is added between the action and…
Huyen: ...mất bao lâu…
Becky: ...which implies “if I do this, then how long will it take?” So the whole structure is...
Huyen: ...subject, which is normally a verb phrase, followed by thì, which is optional, then add mất bao lâu at the end.
Becky: Let’s hear some examples.
Huyen: Đi bộ tới trường thì mất bao lâu?
Becky: "How long does it take to walk to school?"
Huyen: Đi tàu từ Hà Nội đến thành phố Hồ Chí Minh mất bao lâu?
Becky: "How long does it take to go from Ha Noi to Ho Chi Minh by train?"
Huyen: Đọc một cuốn sách 300 trang mất bao lâu?
Becky: "How long does it take to read a three hundred-page book?" Another way to ask about the length of time is to put...
Huyen: ...mất bao lâu…
Becky: ...at the beginning, followed by…
Huyen: ...để…
Becky: ...which means “to” or “in order to”, and finally add the action. The whole sentence would mean “It takes how long to” do something. So, with the same sentence “How long does it take to walk to school?”, you can say...
Huyen: Mất bao lâu để đi bộ tới trường?
Becky: And for "How long does it take to read a three hundred-page book?" say...
Huyen: ...Mất bao lâu để đọc một cuốn sách 300 trang?
Becky: Well, that’s all for this lesson. We hope that from now on you’ll be able to ask...
Huyen: ...Mất bao lâu...
Becky: ...when you want to know how long it takes to do something.
Huyen: For a full review of this lesson, please check the lesson notes.

Outro

Becky: Thanks for listening, everyone, and we’ll see you next time.
Huyen: Tạm biệt.

17 Comments

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VietnamesePod101.com Verified
Monday at 06:30 PM
Pinned Comment
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Hello Listeners, how long does it take you to study a Vietnamese Lesson? Try answering in Vietnamese!

VietnamesePod101.com Verified
Monday at 12:18 PM
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Hi Steve,


Thank you for your post. The word "gần" in your provided context below literally means "nearly":

A: Hôm nay đi mua sắm mất gần một triệu. => I spent nearly one million on shopping today.

B: Tôi mất gần 3 tiếng mới đọc xong cuốn sách => It nearly took me 3 hours to finish the book.


Since both adverbs "gần/ nearly" and "khoảng/about" are used to estimate an amount of something (time, money etc...) you can replace "gần" with "khoảng" in these context and vice versa.


Hope this helps and let us know if you have further questions!


Sincerely,


Khanh

Team VietnamesePod101.com

Steve
Monday at 08:39 AM
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Chào chị Giang,


Chị có thể giải thích "gần" trong những câu này:


A: Hôm nay đi mua sắm mất gần một triệu.


B: Tôi mất gần 3 tiếng mới đọc xong cuốn sách.



Tôi có thể dụng từ ''khoảng'' à?


EX: Hôm nay đi mua sắm mất khoảng một triệu....

Steve
Thursday at 04:48 AM
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Chào chị Giang,

Chị có thể giải thích "gần" trong những câu này:

A: Hôm nay đi mua sắm mất gần một triệu.

B: Tôi mất gần 3 tiếng mới đọc xong cuốn sách.


Tôi có thể dụng từ ''khoảng'' à?

EX: Hôm nay đi mua sắm mất khoảng một triệu....

VietnamesePod101.com Verified
Wednesday at 12:04 PM
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Hi Lawrence,


"Để" is used before a verb phrase to show the purpose/objective of doing something. It means "in order to"


1. Tôi ăn nhiều rau để giảm cân. (I eat a lot of vegetables in order to lose weight.)

2. Tôi thức khuya để làm việc. (I stay up late to work)

3. Tôi học chăm chỉ để thi đỗ đại học. (I study hard in order to pass the university exam)


"Giờ" and "tiếng" both mean "hours" and they can be used interchangeably if you are talking about the number of hours such as 2 giờ/2 tiếng (2 hours), 5 giờ/ 5 tiếng (5 hours). But if you want to mention the exact time, you can only use "giờ" (which means "o'clock). For example, 5 giờ 20 phút sáng (5:20 am), 3 giờ (3 o'clock)


Cheers,

Giang

Team VietnamesePod101.com

lawrence
Wednesday at 03:48 PM
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hi Giang,

can explain how to use the word để?

giờ and tiếng both has meaning of hour, is there any differences?

VietnamesePod101.com Verified
Wednesday at 11:07 AM
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Hi Lawrence,


Thank you for your sentence. It would be perfect if you wrote it with tone marks.

And to make it clearer, you can add "để" (to/in order to) in front of "học": "Tôi mất một ngày để học một bài."


Cheers,

Giang

Team VietnamesePod101.com

lawrence
Tuesday at 05:46 PM
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toi mat mot ngay hoc mot bai

VietnamesePod101.com Verified
Monday at 10:33 AM
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Chào Marquis,


You can use "thì" in both questions and statements but it is optional.

If you remove "thì", the meaning still does not change.


By the way, "chào các bạn" is the correct sentence. (we do not say "cách bạn")


Cheers,

Giang

Team VietnamesePod101.com

Marquis de Jade
Saturday at 11:13 PM
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Chao cách bạn.

Học một bài thì mất hai ngày.

To learn a lesson you need two days? Am I correct? Should I always use the thì both in questions and affirmative sentences?

aidriano
Saturday at 06:54 PM
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For the benefit of students in countries which do not use the acronym EMS, it stands for Express Mail Service.