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Lesson Notes

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Lesson Transcript

Jason: Hi everyone, Jason here, and welcome back to Basic Bootcamp Lesson 4 - Counting from 1-100 in Vietnamese. This is the fourth in a five-part series that will help you ease your way into VIetnamese.
Giang: Xin chào, tôi là Giang. I’m Giang.
In this lesson, you will learn one of the essentials in Vietnamese…numbers!
Jason: Yes, we'll start with the basics. In this lesson, we will count from one to ten.
Giang: This conversation takes place at a gym.
Jason: It’s between David and his coach, who will be counting his pushups. Now, let’s listen to the conversation.
Jason: Listeners, you may be feeling that all these numbers sound so different from English.
Giang: Well, they are quite different. But once you know how to count from one to ten, the rest is easy.
Jason: Yeah, larger numbers are all formed by matching the first ten numbers, and the matching rule is very similar to English. Okay, Giang, why don’t you play a number counting game with us now?
Giang: Okay! I will say each number from one to ten out loud. Then you just have to repeat.
Jason: No matter where you are - please be sure to practice with us and repeat them out loud.
Giang: Okay, here we go.
Jason: Let’s take a closer look at the usage of some of the words and phrases from this lesson. Giang, we’ve got the basic numbers one to ten, but how can we count above 10?
Giang: Well, we form the numbers from eleven to nineteen by adding ten to the numbers one through nine. For example mười một, ten and one, is eleven, “mười hai” - ten and two is “twelve” and “mười chín”- ten and nine- is nineteen. Just that. The only exception is fifteen. Instead of saying “mười năm” - ten and five, we say “mười lăm”. “lăm” is said instead of “năm” - so “l” instead of “n”
Jason: Oh, so this is much simpler than I thought.
Giang: That’s right! Now the multiples of ten. From twenty to ninety, just put together the number from two to nine with ten. Just one note on the tone of words – we learned that “ten” is “mười”, but when it comes to the multiples of ten, it is pronounced “mươi”. So it changes to the mid level tone “mươi”. So twenty is hai mươi - two and ten, thirty is “ba mươi” - three and ten, and eighty is “tám mươi”- eight and ten.
Jason: Okay, these rules are simple enough, but let’s make it simpler by giving our listeners more examples. Let’s say, eleven.
Giang: Mười một - ten and one
Jason: Fifteen
Giang: Mười lăm
Jason: seventeen
Giang: Mười bảy
Jason: forty
Giang: bốn mươi
Jason: ninety
Giang: chín mươi
Jason: For more information on creating higher numbers, be sure to check out the lesson notes. For now, on to the grammar!

Lesson focus

Jason: In this lesson, we’re going to learn the numeral noun phrases and Cardinal and Ordinal numbers.
Giang: Let’s start counting things in Vietnamese.
Jason: Vietnamese numeral phrases are different from English. The number comes first, then a noun classifier, and finally the main noun. So a classifier is needed here.
Giang: Right, most nouns in Vietnamese need a classifier. But the easier part is that nouns in Vietnamese have no plural form.
Jason: It means the noun remains unchanged even if the number is more than one, right?
Giang: Right. Now I’ll tell you the basic classifier in Vietnamese.
Jason: Great, let’s go.
Giang: The general classifier for objects is “cái”. for example cái bánh means “a cake”, cái ô means “an umbrella”, cái bút means “a pen”.
Jason: Try counting objects in Vietnamese now. “Two cakes” is...
Giang: Hai cái bánh
Jason: “Three pens”
Giang: Ba cái bút
Jason: “One ticket”
Giang: Một vé or một cái vé. in this case a classifier is optional.
Jason: Okay, that’s all about numeral noun phrases. Please check the lesson notes to learn about other classifiers in Vietnamese. For now, let’s continue with ordinal numbers.
Giang: It’s very simple. To form ordinal numbers, you first put “thứ” which means “order” followed by the cardinal numbers. Two exceptions are the first and the fourth. “First” is called “thứ nhất” instead of “thứ một” and “fourth” is called “thứ tư” instead of “thứ bốn”. That’s all.
Jason: So “third” is...
Giang: thứ ba
Jason: “seventh”
Giang: thứ bảy
Jason: “tenth”
Giang: thứ mười
Jason: “twentieth”
Giang: thứ hai mươi
Jason: Now let’s recap what we’ve learned by trying some more examples.
Giang: Okay, here we go.
Jason: “First”
Giang: thứ nhất
Jason: “second”
Giang: thứ hai
Jason: “eleventh”
Giang: Thứ mười một.


Jason: That’s it for this lesson.
Giang: Thanks for listening. Tạm biệt
Jason: See you next time!


Please to leave a comment.
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VietnamesePod101.com Verified
Wednesday at 12:00 PM
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Hi everyone!

Until what number can you count in Vietnamese?

Sunday at 09:14 PM
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Hi Spencer,

Thank you for your message.

The Basic subscription allows access to the audio and video lessons. However, it doesn't have access to the Line-by-Line Audio Dialogue:


Could you try logging out, clearing the cache and cookies of your browser, and logging back in again? If you still experience any technical problems, please email us at contactus@VietnamesePod101.com so we can assist you.

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Team VietnamesePod101.com

Tuesday at 07:39 AM
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Why am I unable to play the audio here? I have a Basic subscription, but when I hover over the play button, it says "Upgrade to Basic or Premium to Access Lesson Audio." This happens with some lessons but not others.

Please take a look and let me know how to solve the problem.

VietnamesePod101.com Verified
Thursday at 10:31 AM
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Hello Duges,

Thank you for your comment.

For “4″ and “14″, we still say “bốn”, “mười bốn”, we don’t say “tư” or “mười tư”.

However, for “24″, “34″, “44″… we usually say “hai tư”, “ba tư”, “bốn tư”… because it is easier to pronounce without tone.

However, you also can say “hai bốn”, “ba bốn”, “bốn bốn”. Both ways are correct. Just choose one that you find more comfortable.

Best regards,

Nguyet Nguyen

Team VietnamesePod101.com

VietnamesePod101.com Verified
Tuesday at 05:41 PM
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Hello Duges,

Thank you for your comment.

For "4" and "14", we still say "bốn", "mười bốn", we don't say "tư" or "mười tư".

However, for "24", "34", "44"... we usually say "hai tư", "ba tư", "bốn tư"... because it is easier to pronounce without tone.

However, you also can say "hai bốn", "ba bốn", "bốn bốn". Both ways are correct. Just choose one that you find more comfortable.

Best regards,

Nguyet Nguyen

Team VietnamesePod101.com

Tuesday at 08:55 PM
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I'm curious about the use of tư to replace bốn in numbers 24, 34, 44, - 94.

I'm told by a couple of young Vietnamese people from Hanoi that this is what they are taught in school.

They also said this is the most common method used through the north of VN.

Friday at 02:06 PM
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Review audio contains a mistake. Giang says "Hai" Jason answers "One".

VietnamesePod101.com Verified
Tuesday at 05:07 PM
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Hi John Murphy,

Have you tried opening the lesson transcript (the pdf file below the lesson notes? The dialog after the post conversation banter is in that file. Please check it again and let me know if you still have trouble following it

Have a nice day,


Team VietnamesePod101.com

John Murphy
Tuesday at 09:02 PM
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I was confused with the pdf files. The dialog came after the post dialog banter and the audio and the printed lesson were not synced. I had trouble following it.

VietnamesePod101.com Verified
Tuesday at 02:33 PM
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Hi Barry !

You're welcome, I'll let her know everything was perfect.

I hope you enjoyed this lesson!

Keep going on!

Thank you for your comment.


Team VietnamesePod101

Tuesday at 02:54 AM
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Xin cảm ơn Paloma! Just off to listen to/download it.