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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 20 - Talking About Quantities in Vietnamese.
Huyen: Xin chào! I’m Huyen.
Becky: In this lesson, you’ll learn how to ask about quantity. The conversation takes place at school and is between An and Vân Anh. The speakers are friends, so they’ll be using informal Vietnamese.
Huyen: Let’s listen to the conversation.
An: Trong lớp có bao nhiêu người?
Vân Anh: 10 người.
An: Trên bàn có mấy quyển sách?
Vân Anh: 5 quyển.
An: Bạn có mấy cái bút?
Vân Anh: 3 cái.
An: How many people are there in the class?
Vân Anh: Ten people.
An: How many books are there on the table?
Vân Anh: Five books.
An: How many pens do you have?
Vân Anh: Three pens.
Becky: Huyen, I’m curious about a typical Vietnamese family. A lot of foreigners think that Vietnamese people live in extended families where there are two or more generations living together. I guess it’s because Vietnam has a community-oriented society, like most Asian countries.
Huyen: Yes, this is true. Actually, many people are still living with their parents, as well as their children in the same house. But nuclear families are becoming more popular in Vietnam.
Becky: Especially young people, right? They may want to have their own space and privacy, and are afraid of the generation gap.
Huyen: Exactly. More young people in Vietnam choose to rent or buy a new apartment or house after getting married. Basically, a family in Vietnam now has three or four people.
Becky: Well, I think as society becomes more developed, nuclear families are an inevitable trend. And Vietnam is not an exception. 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: ...Lớp.
Becky: This refers to a “class” in general. It’s usually followed by another noun indicating the type of class.
Huyen: For example, lớp tiếng Anh.
Becky: “An English class”
Huyen: lớp nấu ăn
Becky: “A cooking class”
Huyen: Lớp yoga
Becky: “A yoga class”
Huyen: lớp also means “grade” at school.
Becky: In Vietnam, there are twelve grades, from primary school to high school, before university. Let’s hear an example
Huyen: Em gái tôi đang học lớp 7.
Becky: “My younger sister is currently in grade seven”. The second word is the verb...
Huyen: có
Becky: “to have”. This verb is used to express that someone possesses something. But it’s also used to list the components of an object, or used as “there is” or “there are” in English.
Huyen: For example, Tôi có một cái xe máy.
Becky: “I have a motorbike”. In this case, the verb shows the possession.
Huyen: Nhà tôi có ba phòng.
Becky: “There are three rooms in my house”.
Huyen: Bộ chén này có bốn cái chén.
Becky: “This cup set has four cups”. The second word we should remember is a noun classifier for objects which is...
Huyen: ...cái.
Becky: In this lesson, we’ll learn the general classifier for books, notebooks, or any collection of paper which is bound into the form of a book.
Huyen: quyển, in general.
Becky: As we already mentioned, Vietnamese nouns usually go with its classifier instead of being on their own. So if we want to say “one book”, it will be....
Huyen: Một quyển sách, and NOT một sách.
Becky: And one notebook is...
Huyen: Một quyển vở, and NOT một vở.
Becky: One handbook is...
Huyen: Một quyển sổ tay, and NOT một sổ tay.
Becky: Okay, now onto the grammar.
Becky: In this lesson, you’ll learn how to ask about quantities.
Huyen: Trong lớp có bao nhiêu người?
Becky: “How many people are there in the class?” The question starts with a spatial phrase indicating the location...
Huyen: ...trong lớp…
Becky: ...meaning “in the class”, followed by…
Huyen: ...có…
Becky: ...which means “to have”, “there is”, or “there are”. The main word…
Huyen: ...bao nhiêu…
Becky: ...comes next, which means “how many”, then finally add the main noun, which is…
Huyen: ...người…
Becky: ...meaning “people” in this question. The whole question literally means “In the class there are how many people?” The main part of this question is the verb...
Huyen: ...có
Becky: ...and the question word...
Huyen: ...bao nhiêu...
Becky: The whole sentence structure is...
Huyen: ...subject, followed by có, then bao nhiêu, then finally add a noun phrase containing a classifier, if any...
Becky: ...and a noun indicating the thing or people you want to ask. The adverb of place, if any, can be at the beginning or the end of the question. Let’s give our listeners some examples.
Huyen: Trường bạn có bao nhiêu sinh viên?
Becky: "How many students are there in your school?"
Huyen: Quyển truyện này có bao nhiêu chương?
Becky: "How many chapters are there in this story?"
Huyen: Cô ấy có bao nhiêu người con?
Becky: "How many children does she have?" Please note that if you think, or you know for sure that the number is fewer than ten...
Huyen: ...then replace bao nhiêu... with mấy in the question.
Becky: The other parts remain the same. In the dialogue, you hear...
Huyen: Trên bàn có mấy quyển sách?
Becky: "How many books are there on the table?" In this case, you don’t know exactly how many books there are, but you think or are sure that there are fewer than ten.
Huyen: Bạn có mấy cái bút?
Becky: "How many pens do you have?" So, you don’t know exactly how many pens your friend has but you think she or he has around ten or fewer.
Huyen: Let’s hear another example. Nhà bạn có mấy người?
Becky: “How many people are there in your family?” If in any case, you’re not sure whether the quantity is less than ten or not...
Huyen: …then please stick to bao nhiêu.
Becky: Listeners, we hope you understand how to ask about quantities now.
Huyen: I’m sure you’ll find it very simple, after reviewing what we’ve learned in the lesson notes.
Becky: And please feel free to leave us your questions or comments.


Becky: All right. That’s it for this lesson. Thank you, and we’ll see you next time.
Huyen: Tạm biệt!