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Lesson Transcript

Jason: Welcome back to VietnamesePod101.com. This is All About, Lesson 5 - Top 5 Must-Know Phrases for Learning Vietnamese
Giang: Yes. In this lesson, we'll introduce you to five phrases that will help you every day!

Lesson focus

Jason: Yes, these are phrases that you will be really glad you learned. We'll teach you not only the phrases, but when and where to use them. In this lesson, we are going to give you the phrase, pause for you to repeat it, explain it and give some examples if necessary, and then jump to the next phrase. Giang, what’s the first one?
Giang: "Xin chào." (Pause) The most practical phrase in Vietnamese is "Xin chào"
Jason: Yes. It is used like English “hello,” or “hi”. But you can use this greeting in both formal and informal situations, and at any time of the day.
Giang: When someone greets you with this word, you simply respond with…"Xin chào!"
Giang: In daily conversation, Vietnamese people use only the word “chào” together with a personal pronoun addressing the other person when greeting each other. For example to greet a slightly older man. you say “Chào anh”
Jason: Now the next phrase...
Giang: "Cảm ơn" (Pause)
Jason: It means “thank you”. A well-placed and sincere "thank you" will always be appreciated when someone gives you a plate of food, a drink, or even a compliment.
Giang: Again, it’s "Cảm ơn" (pause). “Cảm” is the mid-dipping falling tone and “ơn” is the flat tone.
Jason: Now, let’s say “thank you” in a formal way.
Giang: Xin cảm ơn. Simply add “xin”, which means “please” before cảm ơn. It literally means “let me give my thanks”.
Jason: Our next phrase is “please”
Giang: "Xin" (pause)
Jason: Again, it means “please” or “be so kind” and it is a useful phrase to be used when you want to ask somebody for help.
Giang: Yes, but Vietnamese people don’t use “xin” alone. You should use “Xin” with the phrase “giúp tôi”, which means “for me”. So all together, you can say “xin” then what you need and add “giúp tôi” at the end.
Jason: Now, let’s say “Please show me the direction”.
Giang: “Xin chỉ đường giúp tôi” . So to mean “Please show me the direction”, first you say “xin” meaning “please”, then the phrase “chỉ đường” which means “show the direction.”, then finally say “giúp tôi”, meaning “for me”.
Jason: The next phrase is “Excuse me”.
Giang: There are two Vietnamese equivalents of “Excuse me”. When you want to ask something, you say “Xin hỏi” which means “let me ask”, then ask your question.
Jason: Excuse me, what time is it?
Giang: Xin hỏi, mấy giờ rồi?
Jason: Then in other situations, for example, to request something, to order food or drink, to squeeze by someone etc.
Giang: You use “Xin lỗi”.
Jason: How would you say “Excuse me, can I borrow your pen?”
Giang: Xin lỗi, cho tôi mượn cái bút được không?
Giang: But “xin lỗi” also means “sorry”.
Jason: And that’s the last phrase we’re going to learn in this lesson. This is the phrase that can be used when you really want to apologize.
Giang: In that case, say “Xin lỗi” meaning “sorry” or “Tôi xin lỗi” meaning “I’m sorry”. “Tôi xin lỗi” is more formal and sounds more sincere.


Jason: So we’ve covered the 5 most practical phrases in Vietnamese. Knowing these phrases will take you a long way.
Giang: You'll probably use each of them every day!
Jason: So keep these phrases in mind and we'll see you next time!