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Lesson Transcript

Becky: Hi everyone. I’m Becky. Welcome back to VietnamesePod101.com This is Absolute Beginner series, Season 1, Lesson 19 - I Can’t Find Anything in Vietnam!
Huyen: Xin chào! I’m Huyen.
Becky: In this lesson, you’ll learn about basic spatial prepositions in Vietnamese. The conversation takes place at An’s house and is between An and her mother.
Huyen: The speakers are family members, so they’ll be using informal Vietnamese.
Becky: But it’s still with a respectful tone, as An is talking to her mom. Let’s listen to the conversation.
An: Mẹ ơi, bút bi ở đâu ạ?
Mom: Ở trên bàn.
An: Cái đĩa ở đâu ạ?
Mom: Ở trong chạn.
An: Cái ghế ở đâu ạ?
Mom: Có lẽ ở dưới bàn hoặc ở ngoài sân.
An: Mom, where is the ballpoint pen?
Mom: On the table.
An: Where is the plate?
Mom: In the cupboard.
An: Where is the chair?
Mom: Perhaps under the table or out in the yard.
Becky: The dialogue takes place in a Vietnamese house, which our listeners may be curious about. Huyen, could you tell us something about a typical house in Vietnam; what it looks like and so on?
Huyen: Sure. Vietnamese people love having their own house instead of living in an apartment in a high building.
Becky: So a typical private house would have a yard in front, a main living space including the living room, bedroom, kitchen, and bathroom?
Huyen: Yes, exactly.
Becky: An’s house in the dialogue has the image of a typical house, doesn’t it?
Huyen: I think so. And Vietnamese people love living in a house with at least two stories.
Becky: But young people still prefer living in high rises, as it’s a trend now in Vietnam to buy or rent a condo-type of suite. It’s cheaper, more modern, and also cleaner.
Huyen: But when people have more money, they still want to buy land and have their own house built.
Becky: That’s interesting to know. 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: Mẹ.
Becky: “Mother” or “mom”. It’s basically a noun, but it can also be used as a pronoun when the speaker is talking with his or her mom. The child calls his or her mom...
Huyen: ...mẹ…
Becky: ...and calls himself or herself…
Huyen: ...con.
Becky: On the contrary, the mother calls herself…
Huyen: ...mẹ…
Becky: ...and calls her child…
Huyen: ….con…
Becky: no matter the gender of the child. Let’s hear an example.
Huyen: The mother would say, Mẹ vừa nấu cơm tối cho con đấy.
Becky: “I have just cooked dinner for you”.
Huyen: The child would say, Con cảm ơn mẹ.
Becky: “Thanks, mom”. The next word is a noun classifier...
Huyen: ...cái.
Becky: It’s a general noun classifier for objects. Nouns are not used alone in Vietnamese. They should be attached to their classifiers. For most objects...
Huyen: ...cái…
Becky: ...is added before the main noun indicating those objects. For example...
Huyen: Cái áo
Becky: “A shirt”
Huyen: Cái quần
Becky: “A pair of trousers”
Huyen: Cái ô
Becky: “An umbrella”
Huyen: Cái kẹo
Becky: “A candy”. Let’s hear those words in a complete sentence.
Huyen: Tôi vừa mua một cái áo.
Becky: “I have just bought a shirt.”
Huyen: Cái quần này nhìn rất sành điệu.
Becky: “This pair of trousers looks very stylish”.
Huyen: Tôi đã mua cái ô này ở Nhật.
Becky: “I bought this umbrella in Japan.”
Huyen: Tôi cho bé gái một cái kẹo.
Becky: “I gave the little girl a candy”. Okay, now onto the grammar.
Becky: In this lesson, you’ll learn how to use basic spatial prepositions in Vietnamese. We’re going to learn the first four basic prepositions for locations.
Huyen: Firstly, ở trên.
Becky: “on ”or “above”. In the dialogue we hear...
Huyen: Ở trên bàn
Becky: “On the table”. The second preposition is...
Huyen: ...ở trong.
Becky: “In” or “inside”. The example in the dialogue is...
Huyen: ...ở trong chạn
Becky: “In the cupboard”
Huyen: The third one is ở dưới.
Becky: “Under”. In the dialogue, we hear...
Huyen: ...ở dưới bàn.
Becky: “Under the table”
Huyen: And the last one is Ở ngoài.
Becky: “Out” or “outside”. The example in the dialogue is...
Huyen: ...ở ngoài sân.
Becky: “Out in the yard”. These prepositions are followed by a noun indicating the location. Let’s put these prepositions in complete sentences.
Huyen: Tôi treo một bức tranh phong cảnh ở trên tường.
Becky: "I hung a painting of a landscape on the wall.”
Huyen: Tôi để chìa khóa ở trong túi xách.
Becky: "I put the key in the handbag"
Huyen: Có một cái túi ở dưới bàn.
Becky: “There’s a bag under the table”.
Huyen: Có một đội diễu hành ở ngoài đường.
Becky: "There’s a march out on the street." Please note that...
Huyen: ...ở…
Becky: ...means “at” or “in” and in most cases, it’s optional. That means you can use the prepositions…
Huyen: ...trên, dưới, trong, or ngoài without adding ở before them…
Becky: ...and that does not change the meaning of the sentence. With the same examples we have just mentioned, you can also say:
Huyen: Tôi treo một bức tranh phong cảnh trên tường.
Becky: "I hung a painting of a landscape on the wall.” Here we use...
Huyen: ...trên tường…
Becky: ...instead of…
Huyen: ...ở trên tường...
Becky: ...and both phrases mean “on the wall” and can be used interchangeably. This is the same for the other three prepositions. You can also say...
Huyen: ...Ở trong túi xách, or trong túi xách.
Becky: “In the handbag”
Huyen: Ở dưới bàn or dưới bàn
Becky: “Under the table”
Huyen: Ở ngoài đường or ngoài đường
Becky: “Out on the street”. Ok, that’s all for this lesson. Now, have a go at practicing saying the locations of things in your room with the three prepositions we have just learned.
Huyen: Don’t forget to read the lesson notes to review what we have just learned.
Becky: And we’re going to learn the other spatial prepositions one by one in the coming lessons.


Becky: All right, that’s it for this lesson. Thank you very much for listening. We’ll see you again in the next lesson.
Huyen: Tạm biệt.