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Lesson Transcript

Xin chào, tôi là Giang. Hi everybody! I’m Giang.
Welcome to VietnamesePod101.com’s “3 phút học tiếng Việt”. The fastest, easiest, and most fun way to learn Vietnamese.
In the last lesson, we learned how to use the verb đến.
We will now jump into our series dedicated to question words in Vietnamese. In this lesson, we will learn how to ask “what” in different situations in Vietnamese. Let's get started!
You call up your friend on the phone and want to ask what he's doing.
In Vietnamese, it is Bạn đang làm gì thế?
Bạn, as we have learned, means “you”
đang is the helping verb to express something is in progress.
làm means “do”
Next comes “gì”, the question word “what” in Vietnamese.
Finally we have thế, a sentence-ending particle usually put at the end of a question to make it sound more natural and intimate. This is optional.
Altogether, we have Bạn đang làm gì thế?
As you can see, "What" is mainly translated as gì? and is added at the end of a sentence, but before the optional particle.
To ask a question using “what” in Vietnamese, you start with the subject, followed by the main verb or verb phrase, then gì. Finally, add a particle if you want to sound more intimate.
Here's another example-
Bạn thích ăn gì? “What do you like to eat?”
Here we have two verbs - thích, as we learned before, which means “to like” and the second verb ăn means “to eat”. This is an example of a verb phrase coming before gì.
Bạn thích ăn gì?
Now let's go over a few more examples.
Bạn học ngành gì? Literally, “you study major what?” That means “what is your major at school?”
Bạn làm nghề gì? Literally, "you do job what?". That means “What’s your job?”
Anh đọc sách gì? Literally, “you read book what?” That means “What books do you read?”
Chị đi xe gì? Literally, “you drive vehicle what?" That means “What vehicle do you drive?” This question is frequently asked in Vietnam!
Now it’s time for Giang’s Insights.
As I mentioned, the particle is optional in a question. But if you add it at the end it will sound more natural, more intimate and more polite. Two common particles for “what” questions are thế and vậy. For example, you can ask “What’s your major?” in Vietnamese as Bạn học ngành gì vậy? or Bạn học ngành gì thế?
In this lesson, we learned how to ask "What" questions in Vietnamese. Next lesson, we will talk about the "Where" questions.I’ll be waiting for you in the next 3 phút học tiếng Việt lessons!
Tạm biệt!


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VietnamesePod101.com Verified
Friday at 06:30 PM
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Hi listeners! So, what's your favorite food?

VietnamesePod101.com Verified
Monday at 10:54 AM
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Hi niwre,

Phở is absolutely my favorite too! Just a small typo in your sentence "Tôi thích ăn phở", instead of "Tôi thíck ăn phở". Keep practicing and you will master the language in no time!



Team VietnamesePod101.com

Tuesday at 10:22 PM
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Toi thick an pho. :)

VietnamesePod101.com Verified
Tuesday at 02:44 PM
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Chào Eileen,

We use sentence ending particles in all questions. Besides "thế" and "vậy", there are some other articles which are also commonly used:

1. à (used in a yes/no question): Bạn là Eileen à? (Are you Eileen?)

2. nhỉ (to confirm what you have just asked/said is right): Bạn là Eileen nhỉ? (You are Eileen, right?)

3. ạ (used when asking an older person): Chị là Eileen ạ? (Sister, are you Eileen?)

Please be noted that we can only use ONE article in a question. So the only occasion where using sentence ending particle is inappropriate is that you use MORE THAN ONE of them in a question.

"Thế" and "vậy" can be used interchangeably. It depends on your speaking habit. But, "thế" is more commonly used in Northern Vietnam than Central or Southern Vietnam.

I hope this clarifies what you wondered.

Please let me know if you have more questions.

Chúc vui vẻ (Cheers)


Team VietnamesePod101.com

Monday at 05:04 AM
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Xin chao Giang,

I just wondered if there are ever occasions where using sentence ending particles is inappropriate and also if you can use thế & vậy interchangeably or if one might be more specific to certain situations?

Also do you tend to use these more in questions?

Thanks for your help. I love your work :smile: