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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.


Please to leave a comment.
😄 😞 😳 😁 😒 😎 😠 😆 😅 😜 😉 😭 😇 😴 😮 😈 ❤️️ 👍

VietnamesePod101.com Verified
Monday at 06:30 PM
Pinned Comment
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Hello Listeners, where is your computer? Try answering in Vietnamese!

VietnamesePod101.com Verified
Saturday at 04:28 PM
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Hi Kendra,

That's a very good sentence. 100% correct.

Just a fun fact, now we often use "laptop" in daily speech rather than "máy tính xách tay" 😄

Hope that you'll enjoy the lesson.



Team VietnamesePod101.com

Tuesday at 10:33 AM
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Xin chào, máy tính xách tay của tôi ở trên ghế.

VietnamesePod101.com Verified
Thursday at 06:54 PM
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Chào Kn,

Nice try! You are almost there. "bằng" means "in/ by". So this is literally what I wanted to say (words by words): Next time, you tell joke in Vietnamese again, ok?

Hẹn gặp lại.


Team VietnamesePod101.com

Monday at 11:11 PM
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Lần sau, bạn nói đùa bằng tiếng Việt nữa nhé!

sau = later

Lần = time

bạn = you

đùa = joke

tiếng Việt = vietnamese

the other words I don't know. But from the ones I know...is it:

Next time you know how to use 'đùa' (joke) in Vietnamese.

Just a guess.

VietnamesePod101.com Verified
Monday at 09:54 PM
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Haha. Kn ơi, bạn rất vui tính! I like your joke!

Please let me correct some points in your sentences to make them correct.

If you want to say "my computer", you say: máy tính của tôi ( literally : computer - my ). So the whole sentence is : "Máy tính của tôi ở đâu?"

When you want to say: "I am joking.", you say: "Tôi đang đùa." or "Tôi đùa." is also OK. The structure is : S + V.

You just use "là" when after is a noun: S + là + adj. For example:

>>> Chị ấy là bác sĩ. ( She is a doctor.)

Lần sau, bạn nói đùa bằng tiếng Việt nữa nhé!

Can you guess what does the sentence above means?



Team VietnamesePod101.com

Tuesday at 11:40 PM
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toi là máy tính ở đâu ạ (where is my computer) - ở trong Tủ lạnh (in/inside the fridge)..tôi là đùa (I am joking):laughing:

VietnamesePod101.com Verified
Tuesday at 10:58 AM
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Hi everyone,

We've added Ở into the vocab list.

Thank you,


Team VietnaemsePod101.com

Monday at 09:50 PM
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The prepositions seriously need to be added to vocabulary list for this lesson.

Sunday at 09:07 AM
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This lesson is about learning "on", "in" etc. Why are these words not included in vocabulary so we can export to wordbank/flashcard?

VietnamesePod101.com Verified
Sunday at 03:55 PM
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Hi aidriano,

We are terribly sorry for making you confused. There was a mistake in the recording for the translation of "table" in the review audio. "Table" should have been translated as "bàn" as you said. We have fixed it.

Thank you very much for your feedback and sorry again for this inconvenience.

Have a nice day,