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Teach Yourself, 2010. - 390 с. ISBN: 1444101870Complete Vietnamese: A Teach Yourself Guide provides you with a clear and comprehensive approach to Vietnamese, so you can progress quickly from the basics to understanding, speaking, and writing with confidence.
Within each of the 18 thematic chapters, important language structures are introduced through life-like dialogues.You will learn grammar in a gradual manner so you wont be overwhelmed by this tricky subject. Exercises accompany the texts and reinforce learning in listening, speaking, reading, and writing. This program also features current cultural information boxes that reflect recent changes in society.
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anh914
nam628
toi576
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t6i321
chi304
hoa301
bao264
nha248
lam239
mua229
con206
ngay195
thu193
qua191
unit188
bay184
cua175
t61170
nao154
mary137
cho136
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mai132
chua130
thl129
hqc126
6ng121
xem119
phai118
tham117
ban116
nhi108
ph6108
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cam90
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lan80
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Cl

Teach
Yourself

Complete
Vietnamese
Dana Healy

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2014 2013 2012 2011 2010

Contents
vi
viii

Meet the author
Only got a minute?
Only got five minutes?
Only got ten minutes?
Introduction
Guide to pronunciation
Vietnamese alphabet

1

2

3

4

X

xlv

XXII
XXVI
xxlx

R't hAn h~nh dLIQ'c g~p c61 am very pleased to meet you
greeting people· introducing yourself· saying where you
are from • simple sentences and questions
Chjla thu kj, phil kh6ng? You are a secretary, aren't you?
stating your occupation • creating questions
• using new verbs
Tling Vltt c6 kh6 kh6ng? Is Vietnamese difficult?
asking and saying what something is like • using adjectives
·intensifying adjectives and adverbs· some initial and
final particles· counting from 1 to 10
Chi c6 mu6n xem bac anh gla Cllnh t61 kh6ng? Do you

want to see a photograph of my family?

5

6

7

1

12

24

37

talking about your family· kinship terms· question words
• more numbers • points of the compass
Ngay mal Ia tha m'y? What day is it tomorrow?
56
the days of the week and months • ordinal numbers
• demonstrative pronouns • comparative and
superlative adjectives
Xln lol, bAy giO' Ia m'y giO'? Excuse me, what's the time?
70
asking and telling the time· saying what the date is
·asking when?· specifying tense· asking how many?
Anh c6 mua gl nua kh6ng? Do you want to buy anything else? 87
asking for something in a shop· asking the price of items
·classifiers· forming the plural· colours

Contents

III

8

9

10

11

12

13

14

15

16

IV

Chi con lam vltc & kh,ch s~n khOng? Do you still work in
the hotel?
describing your working day • saying that you have
finished doing something ·forming the genitive
·fractions, decimal numbers and percentages
Chi c6 ch'c Ia du'O'ng nay dl dtfn vltn bao tang llch sll' kh6ng?
Are you sure this is the way to the history museum?
asking how to get somewhere· giving directions
·forming the imperative· asking how long
something takes • saying approximately
T61 c6th,xem ng61 nha Aydu'Q'C khOng? Canlseethehouse?
talking about your house • describing your room and
its contents • prepositions • making a polite request
• saying what things are made of
Anh c6 bl s6t kh6ng? Do you have a temperature?
saying what is wrong with you· asking why something is
happening· du'c;tc and bl: attitude words
Anh c6 bltft hltu An nao ngon kh6ng? Do you know a
good restaurant?
ordering a meal in a restaurant· Vietnamese dishes and
ingredients • instead of • conjunctions n~u ... thl
(if then) • forming the vocative
Chi da xem dl,l' b'o thO'I tltft chua? Have you seen the
weather forecast yet?
the weather • the seasons • saying what you are wearing
·conjunctions khl •.• thl (when ... then)· saying not only ...
but also • using thea to express your opinion
Anh c6 nh'n gl kh6ng? Do you want to leave a message?
making a telephone call ·leaving a message· modal verbs
·construction tl,l' ... l~y and m¢t mlnh
Thu' dl Anh mit bao liu? How long does it take for a
letter to get to England?
the post office • writing a letter • saying the more ...
the more • saying apart from • using thtf/v•y (so)
T61 gh~t nh~c c6 dl'n I hate classical music
hobbies and leisure activities • expressing the meaning
although· saying that something is happening at the
same time as something else

106

119

134

145

159

17 5

188

200

211

17 TOI c6 th4 bay din Vltt Nam qua dUO'ng H6ng KOng khOng?

Can I fly to Vietnam via Hong Kong?

222

travel arrangements • booking a hotel room
• buying a ticket • changing money • arranging a visa
·buying souvenirs· verbs expressing direction of
movement· means of transport· expressing the
meaning of returning from somewhere
18 Anh c6 bli't nul nao cao nh't O'VItt Nam khOng? Do you

know the highest mountain in Vietnam?

239

contemporaryVietnam •vocabulary for reading
newspapers • fermi ng passive sentences • using the
verbs trO' nAn and trO' thanh to become • using I~ I

Revision unit
Ti'anslations of dialogues
Ti'anslations of selected texts
Taking it further
Key to the exercises
Vietnamese-English vocabulary
English-Vietnamese vocabulary

252

261
290
293
297
327

344

Meet the author
Dana Healy is a Senior Lecturer in Vietnamese Studies at the School
of Oriental and African Studies in London and has been lecturing on
Vietnamese language, literature, cinema and culture for over 20 years.
Her main research focuses on modern Vietnamese literature, especially
literature of the renovation period and her publications examine the
representation of war in Vietnamese poetry, prose fiction and cinema
and literary explorations of gender.

Credits
Front cover: FoodCollection/Photolibrary.com
Back cover and pack: © Jakub Semeniuk/iStockphoto.com,
© Royalty-Freet Corbis, © agencyby/iStockphoto.com., © Andy Cook/
iStockphoto.com., © Christopher Ewing/iStockphoto.com,
© zebicho - Fotolia.com., © Geoffrey Holman/iStockphoto.com,
© Photodisc/Getty Images,© James C. Pruitt/iStockphoto.com.,
© Mohamed Saber- Fotolia.com
Pack:© Stockbyte/Getty Images

Only got a minute?
Vietnamese has two features that it shares with other east
Asian languages: a lack of grammatical endings (making
Vietnamese an 'isolating language') and tones.
Because Vietnamese is an isolating language,
endings are not added to words to change their
meaning. Languages belonging to the Indo-European
group, such as English and Russian, do add endings:
think of watch-+

watches, watched, watching.

In Vietnamese, meanings are conveyed by markers.
Suppose, in English, you were to say:'He (marker)

watch

TV every evening' or 'We (marker) watch TV last night''watch' doesn't change, but there is a marker in front
of it to explain which part of'watch'to use. This is
encouraging for the learner, because it means you won't
have to learn pages of rules for verb, noun and adjective
endings: the only change is in the marker. Of course, you
will have to learn (and remember!) which marker to use
when and the markers have a set order in the sentence.

This must also be learned- word order is crucial in
Vietnamese- but at least you know that when you see
a word on the page, or hear it spoken, that is how it
appears in a dictionary!
Vietnamese, delightfully, is a 'tonal language':
this means that the same word can have different
meanings depending on whether you say it with a
falling, a rising or a flat pitch- or even a combination
of pitches.

dJ Onll:got five minutes?
--:;:::.

Vietnamese, as ~lned in 'Only got a minute?', has some delightful
~es, ~11'1-.~the facts that is both a 'tonal' and an 'isolating'
iit~~"ind in 'Only got ten minutes?' I'll give you a whistlestop tour through some of the main features of this fascinating and
ancient language.

Referring to people: kinship terms and
personal pronouns
The Vietnamese language does not have a full system of personal
pronouns ('he; 'she, 'they' etc.) and relies on the use of kinship terms
(terms indicating family relationships). The choice of a correct kinship
term depends on many factors such as age, gender, social status or
the intimacy of discourse. The most frequently used kinship terms
are anh (older brother), chj (older sister), em (younger sibling), Ong
(grandfather), ba (grandmother). So to say 'he', when referring to a
man older than yourself, to whom you want to show deference, you
would say Ong; but when referring to a male friend you would say an h.

Basic sentence structure
Simple sentences in Vietnamese follow the logical word order of subjectverb-object. For example:
TO I Ia sinh vlin.
TOI hQc tli'ng Vltt.
£)Ay Ia chi Mal.

I am a student.
I am studying (I study) Vietnamese.
Here is Miss Mai.

Negative sentences
Negation in Vietnamese is indicated using the word khOng ('no, not').
It always precedes the verb being negated. In sentences with Ia ('to be')
khOng phi\1 must be added before Ia.
TOI khOng phi\! Ia sinh viin.
TOI khOng hQc til1ng Vi.t.
£)Ay khOng phi\! Ia chj Mal.

I am not a student.
I don't study Vietnamese.
This is not Miss Mai.

Asking questions
There are several ways of asking questions in Vietnamese. The easiest
sort of question is a 'tag' question, as when we add the tag 'isn't he? don't
you? weren't they?' at the end of a statement. In Vietnamese, the tag is
phi\1 khOng?
Anh Ia sinh vlin, phi\1 khOng?

He is a student, isn't he?/You are
a student, aren't you?

In order to turn a statement ('You study Vietnamese') into a question
('Do you study Vietnamese?'), we add the formula c6 ••• khOng?
Anh c6 hQc til1ng Vl•t khOng?
Anh c6 phi\! Ia sinh viin khOng?

Do you study Vietnamese?
Are you a student?

Describing people and objects: how to use adi~-(J
~~\J
In Vietnamese, adjectives are always placed after th~ they describe.

vq

For example:

~
~

G~

cO gal tri
cal ban m6'1

a young girl _
anew table

Only got five mlnutltsl

I

Adjectives in Viem-se act as verbs and therefore should be more
correctly thought o!meaning 'to be young' or 'to be new:

,"'~ To form the comp~\re of adjectives ('bette" younge" nicer~, the word
''~hO'n is placed aft;~~ adjective, and to form the superlative ('the best,

._,,,,,,,\~nicest~ the word nh't is used:
t6t- t6t hO'n - t6t nh't
tri- tri hO'n- tri nh't
d'p- d'p hO'n- d'p nh't

good- better- the best
young- younger- the youngest
nice- nicer- the nicest

Demonstratives ('this, thar etc.)
The demonstratives nay ('this~, 'y ('that~ and kia ('that one over
there~ are placed in Vietnamese after the noun to which they refer.

sinh viin nay
c~i ban 'Y
c6 g" kia

this student
that table
that girl over there

If the noun to which the demonstrative relates is already modified by
an adjective, the correct word order is as follows: noun-adjectivedemonstrative:

sinh viin chAm chi nay
c~i ban m6'i 'Y
c6 g" d'p kia

this hardworking student
that new table
that beautiful girl over there

Using verbs: tense
Tense (present, past, future) in Vietnamese is created using specific
grammatical markers. To indicate the present tense, place dang before
the main verb:

T6i dang dQc.
XII

I am reading.

To indicate the past tense, use da, vera or vera m6'1. Once again, these
grammatical markers should be placed before the main verb. vera and
vera m61 are used to indicate the recent past:

T61 da vilft thu.
T61 vera/vera m6'1 v~ nha.

I wrote a letter.
I have just returned home.

To indicate the future tense, Vietnamese uses se and dp, placed before
the main verb. S'p is employed to indicate near future.

T61 se di Vltt Nam.
TrO'i dp mu'a.

I will go to Vietnam.
It is about to rain.

Using nouns: classifiers
Classifiers are words that are used to 'specify' nouns and to 'classify' into
which category they belong. If a statement refers to a specific object,
person, activity, animal, etc., then an appropriate classifier must be used.
If the reference is general, the classifier is omitted. Classifiers are always
placed before the noun they relate to.

Con

m~o

cua t61 nho.

My cat is small.

This sentence makes a specific reference to one particular cat, i.e. my cat,
and therefore a classifier for animals must be used.
B~m

t61 thkh m~o.

My friend likes cats.

In this sentence, we do not refer to one specific cat but to cats in general
,,,,,
(as a species), therefore no classifier is used.

4

Vietnamese has an extensive set of classifiers, whi~lained in this
course.

E- -

~

I do hope this quick trip through some of the mai&atures of the
Vietnamese language has whetted your appetite fo'Piore!
~

,. ',,<),

Only got five min~t

(v~.~i~m~o:::~:.~~~~~M
V'~wres, inc~ the facts that is a 'tonal' and 'isolating' language.
~-~ ·.~ y got five minutes?' I'll give you a whistle-stop tour
through some of the main features of this fascinating and ancient
language.

Creating plural
Plural forms are created in Vietnamese by using the plural markers c~c
and nhung. These are positioned before the noun they are related to.

sinh viin- c~c sinh viin
con meo- nhCtng con meo

student- students
cat-cats

C~c is used when referring to all of a given set (c~c b~n tOi, 'my friends;
i.e. 'all of my friends'), while nhung is used when referring to some,
several of a given set (nhung b~n tOi,'myfriends; i.e. 'some ofmy
friends').

Possessive case: cua
Cua is used to create the idea of ownership or possession. The possessive
phrase has the word order object - cua - owner:
my mother mterally, 'mother- of, belonging to - /'}

XIV

Question words
Some question words are placed at the end of a question.

£>ay Ia dii 9 n
NguO'i kia Ia ai?
Ong
sinh f1 diu?
Ch! fiVI•t Nam bao liu?

'y

Anh mu6n mua tadi'n nao?

What is this? (lit. 'This is what?')
Who is that man over there?
Where was he born?
How long have you been living
in Vietnam?
Which dictionary do you want to buy?

The question words bao giO'? khl nao? luc nao? ('when?~ are
positioned either at the beginning or at the end of a question, depending
on the tense the question refers to: at the beginning of the question to
indicate future tense; at the end of the question to refer to past tense.
Bao giO' anh di Ha N~l?
Khl nao b6 v~ nha?
Anh di Ha N~l bao giO'?

When will you go to Hanoi?
When will father return home?
When did you go to Hanoi?

l>a ... chua? Have you done something yet?
A question created using the grammatical construction da ... chua?
expresses the meaning 'Have you done something yet?' £)a is placed
before the main verb (and can be omitted), chua is placed at the end of
the question.
Ch! da thim Vl•t Nam chua?
Anh (da) l•p gla d'lnh chua?

Have you visited Vietnam yet?
Are you already marrie~(1/ljrt!~'PJ~
youformedafam~~~r)J '" · · /t
1

These questions require different replies: an affirm~ reply uses rcSI
('already'), while a negative answer uses chua ('n~tl
R6i, t61 (da) l•p gla d'lnh reS I.
Chua, t61 chua l•p gla d'lnh.

(

Modal verbs ('want;

'should; 'must; 'can; 'need')

TOI mu6n thAm Hul.
Anh nin l'y xkh 16.
fli· phal vltft thu cho gia

dill!'llh -·~~

I want to visit Hul
You should take a cyclo (tricycle rickshaw).
I must write a letter to my family.

B~m tOI c6 th~ n6i titfng

My friend can speak French.

Phap.
TOI c'n dl chQ'.

I need to go to the market.

Modal verbs are negated in the usual way with khOng.

Complex sentences
Here are some of the main constructions used to link sentences together
to form a complex sentence.
vl ... nin ('because ... therefore')
Vl trO'I mU'a nin chung tOI
khOng chal b6ng da.

Because it was raining, we could
not play football.

ntfu ... thl ('if ... then')
Ntfu trO'I khOng mila thl tOI se
dl tham quan.

If it does not rain I will go
sightseeing.

khl •.• thl ('when ... then')
Khl tO I lin tau thl tOI g~p
cO glao cua tO I.
m~c

da (tuy) ... nhung ('although, despite')

M~c da ch! 'Y con tre nhung

ch! 'Y da l'y ch6ng r61.
XVI

When I got on the train I met
my teacher.

Although she is still young,
she is already married.

khOng nhung ... rna con ••• (nua) ('not only ...
but also')

She is not only young but
also beautiful.

Chi 'Y khOng nhung tre
rna con cr,p nOa.

ngoal, ngoai •.. ra ('apart from, in addition to')
Ngoai ti~ng Vi•t (ra), t61 cling
bi~t ti~ng Trung Qu6c.
Ngoai ra, t61 r't thrch chai
b6ng ban.

In addition to Vietnamese
I also know Chinese.
Apart from anything else I also
like playing table tennis.

cang ••• cang ('the more ... the more')
Cang .•• cang is used in Vietnamese to create the meaning of'the more ...
the more:
ChC.ng t61 cang hQc nhi~u
cang bi~t nhi~u.

The more we study, the more
we know.

The construction cang ngay cang (or just ngay cang) expresses the
meaning that something is increasing day by day (every day).
Mua ve rn'y bay cang
ngay cang ct't
Trltl ngay cang ,rn.

v~a

Buying plane tickets is getting
more expensive every day.
The weather is getting warmer
day by day.

..• v~a ('at the same time?

The use of v~a ••• vaa indicates that something is happening a,J Dl$. ••e
time as something else. For example:
-·
.
T61 thuong vaa An v~a
ctQc b,o.

I often read neptfpapers while
I'm eating.

Only got tet!J'P*Iutts't

)
XV I I

(

Denoting quantity (nhieu, It, thieu, du,

thua, dong, vang, day)
nhi~u

('much/ many?

rt ('a small amount/ little/ few
TOirtti~n.

1
)

I have little money.

Em trai tOI luOn luOn thi~u ti~n.

My younger brother always
lacks money.

du tto have enough')
TOI khOng du ti~n d~ mua 0 tO.

I don't have enough money to
buy a car.

theta ('to have too much, too many?
Phong nay theta ban.

There are too many tables in this room.

dOng ('(to be) full (with people), to be crowded?
Khach s~n nay thu'O'ng dOng ngu'O'I.

v'

This hotel is often crowded.

ng ('(to be) empty (of people), to be deserted?

Vao bu6i t6i cac duO'ng ph6
Ha NOI v'ng ngu'O'I.

In the evening the streets of
Hanoi are deserted.

d'y ('to be full (of), filled with?

This bottle is full of water.

XVIII

b~ng ('by means of')

The word bling has many uses in Vietnamese.
bling ('by means of transport')
Anh 'y da di Hutf bling may bay.
Ong Quang thu'O'ng di bling
xrch 10.

He went to Hul by plane.
Mr Quang often goes by cyclo
(tricycle rickshaw).

bling ('eating with')
Ngu'O'I Vltt Nam An bling dua.

Vietnamese people eat
with chopsticks.

bling ('speaking a language')
ChC.ng tO I n61 chuytn v6'1
nhau bling titfng Anh.

We spoke together in English.

bling ('made ofsomething')
Cal ao d~li nay bling h,1a.
Cal nhan nay bling vang.

This dress is made of silk.
This ring is made of gold.

Expressing passive meaning
The passive can be expressed in Vietnamese with du'Q'c orb!. du'Q'C is
used when talking about something considered pleasant, a-00~111~
discussing something considered bad and unpleasant.
.; "J pj '· 11 ·l./(
Em Tu'n du'Q'c khen.
Em Tu'n du'Q'c m, khen.
Sinh viin b! cO giao phi blnh.

Tudn was praJJed.
Tudn was prais~d by mother.
A student was criticized by
the teacher.

(

Another way to express passive meaning in Vietnamese is by using do
(tau sed by, the result of').
Tl'u thuyit No I buSn chlin
The novel Sorrow of War [that was]
tranh do nha \fi,n,Bio Nlnh vlit written by Bao Ninh.
/~Jil~~~ d~,•;ntt6·11 ~'u ngon I'm. The meal [that was] prepared by
· · "'. ' /i /I,,I/ ,I,)1 ,111,,,k
'I '.hI ·1\_.,
my mother 1's "ery tasty..
lr'

'Everything, everybody, everywhere ..:
A special grammatical construction can be used to express the meaning
of 'everything: 'everybody', and 'everywhere'. You can use either a
question word such as ai ('who'), diu ('where') or bao giO' ('when'),
followed by cling, or a noun followed by nao cling:
ai cling
ngu'O'I nao cling
diu cling
cho naocling
baogiO'cling
luc naocling

everybody
everybody (every person)
everywhere
everywhere (every place)
always
always (every moment)

All these constructions can be negated using khOng ('no, not'). Notice
that cling does not appear in the negative versions.
kh6ng ai
kh6ng ngu'O'I nao
kh6ng diu
kh6ng cho nao
khOng bao giO'
khOng luc nao

nobody
nobody (no person)
nowhere
nowhere (no place)
never
never (no moment)

tra thimh/tra nen ('to become1
Both the constructions tr6' thanh and tr6' nAn mean to 'become';
however, trO' thanh is followed by a noun while tr6' nAn is followed by
an adjective or adverb.

Ngay mal thai titft se tr6' nAn d'u.
Sau khi teSt nghltp d~i hQc
anh tO I mu6n tr6' thanh lu•t su.

The weather will become
bad tomorrow.
After graduating from university,
my older brother wants to
become a lawyer.

In these short summaries, I haven't been able to do much more than
to draw your attention to some of the main features of the Vietnamese
language, but I do hope that this has left you wanting to know more.
If so, turn to the Introduction to Complete Vietnamese!

Introduction
Language

Learning Vietnamese is both easy and difficult. The difficult part will
confront you at the very start - your enthusiasm and determination
in the pursuit of new linguistic skills will be put to the test from the
moment you open your textbook for the first time. Only now will you
vaguely recollect reading somewhere that Vietnamese is a tonal language
and you must first, before moving on, tackle the tones - all six of them!
Vietnamese words are pronounced with different pitch levels (higher or
lower) and with rising, level or falling intonation, imbuing the speech
with a singing quality. A person unaccustomed to tonal languages can
feel it is unusual at first to have to alternate between low and high tones
ignoring in the process the natural intonation dictated by your mother
tongue. It pays off to master the tones properly because they form an
intrinsic part of each word and its meaning. Many foreigners have been
caught out by mispronouncing their tones, only to find that they have
inadvertently provided amusement to their listeners by imparting a
completely different message from the one they intended.
Vietnamese grammar, by way of contrast, is relatively easy. As an
isolating language, Vietnamese words do not change or add any endings.
Each grammatical category is formed by an appropriate grammatical
word, which is inserted into a predetermined position in the sentence.
Word order is, therefore, crucial.
Vietnam itself is a fascinating country with a rich and unique cu1 tural
heritage, exquisite natural beauty and hospitable people. Years of war
and Cold War antagonism kept the country for a long time closed to
most of the western world. Following the launch of renovation, Vietnam
opened itself up to the international community. It remains one of
the increasingly few countries where it is possible to let yourself be
overwhelmed by the pioneering spirit of discovering something new.
The more surprised the Vietnamese are when they encounter somebody

XXII

who has bothered to learn their language, the more they are friendly and
generous with their hospitality.
Vietnamese is the official language ofVietnam. It is the mother tongue of
the Vi~t (or Kinh) people and, at the same time, the common language of
the ethnic minorities living in Vietnam. Each ethnic minority has its own
native language thus making the linguistic map of Vietnam very varied.
Vietnamese is a tonal language, which means (to put it simply) that
words are pronounced with different pitch levels (higher or lower)
and with rising, level or falling intonation. The tones have a distinctive
function. Standard Vietnamese (defined as the language spoken by an
educated person from the Hanoi area) has six tones. There are several
other dialects, the most important being the central and southern
dialects. These differ mainly in phonetics (for example, they have fewer
tones than standard Vietnamese) and lexicology, but not as regards
grammar. Vietnamese is a 'not inflected' language (words do not have
different forms according to the number, case, tense, modality etc.).
Vietnamese is a monosyllabic language (each syllable has one meaning)
with a large number of compounds (the majority are two word-syllable
compounds but there also exist three word-syllable and even four
word-syllable compounds).
Script

Throughout many centuries, Chinese was used as the official and literary
language in Vietnam. Later there developed a special script for recording
Vietnamese based on Chinese chu n6m. When n6m first appeared is
not known exactly but the oldest surviving documents are from the
fourteenth century. In the seventeenth century a romanized script qu6c
nguwas devised. Its origin is closely connected with the Roman Catholic
missions in Southeast Asia. The early missionaries - Portuguese,
French, Italian and Spanish - needed a simple way of transcribing the
Vietnamese language. Outstanding among the many missionaries was
Alexandre de Rhodes, a French Jesuit, who made a great contribution
to the study of Vietnamese. He published one of the first dictionaries
ofVietnamese- Dictionarum Annamiticum, Lusitanum et Latinum
(Annamese-Portuguese-Latin Dictionary) and the first Vietnamese

Introduction

XXIII

grammar. Initially, qu6c ngil' was used only in Catholic circles but, with
the arrival of the French and the onset of French colonial rule, qu6c ngil'
was officially introduced. Early opposition to qu6c ngil', owing to its
being perceived as an instrument of colonial rule, gradually faded.
Its undoubted advantages as a writing system and especially the fact
that it was relatively easy to learn won over its critics.

How to use this course
You will notice that each unit in the book follows the same structure.
Units are divided into the following sections:
Conversations A unit starts with one or more dialogues between people
talking about everyday matters. These dialogues show you how the
language is used in a given situation.
New words and expressions Words and phrases used in the dialogues
are translated after each dialogue.
Activities This section is intended for you to practise language patterns
and vocabulary as you acquire them.
Grammatical points In this section, you are given some background
information on the language and the people who use it. There are also
grammatical explanations, which will help you determine why and how
particular words are used in order to put across a particular meaning.
Reading passages In this section, you are given a reading passage to
practise your comprehension ofVietnamese.

Cultural information This section gives more information on the
various aspects of the language and life in Vietnam.
Dialogues and other items marked with .0 appear on the recording
which accompanies this book. To develop good pronunciation and
listening skills you are strongly advised to use the recording as much as
possible.

XXIV

At the back of the book there is a Key to the exercises section, to which
you can refer and check that you got the answers right. At the end
there are Vietnamese-English and English-Vietnamese vocabularies,
containing some of the words used in the book.

Guide to pronunciation
From now on you will depend on the recording (or if you are lucky
enough on a native Vietnamese speaker).
Tones

oO TR 1, 1.05

Vietnamese is a tonal language and learning the tones is one of the most
difficult - and rewarding! - parts of learning Vietnamese. Unless you
are familiar with another tonal language, the concept of tones is going to
seem unusual. Each word (syllable) in Vietnamese is pronounced with a
different pitch level of voice (the best comparison is that with singing).
The tone is an integral part of each word and when learning new
vocabulary you must carefully learn each word with the right tone. The
tones have a distinctive function, and two words which to a European
may seem quite similar, have completely different meanings.
Standard Vietnamese (which you are going to learn in this textbook) has
six tones. The tones are marked by special diacritics. Study carefully the
following table which lists the six tones, their names and the diacritics
used to mark them. Tone diacritics are written above (or in one case
under) the vowel in a syllable. The tones in the following table are
illustrated on a simple word 'rna'.

XXVI

~
w •

._....w•

._....~

........-•

._....'11'-W'-W~~·~·~·u•u•L•L•._.....w.-9'11w•-•uw~~·._....~

rna

ghost

rna

but,
nevertheless

rna

horse

•....-.w•._....w•._......w.L91w•-•c..ww•._....-.'11w•.._......w.'11w•-•uww

none

high, level
tone

thanh
kh6ng/
kh6ng
d'u

thanh/d'u low (falling)
huy~n
level tone
thanh/d'u rising broken
tone with a
glottal stop

de
rna

grave, tomb

thanh/d'u falling-rising
hoi
tone

rna

cheek

thanh/d'u rising tone
nga

m~

rice seedling

d'u n~ng
(underneath
the word)

sharp falling
tone with
a heavy
glottal stop

Note: Dictionaries vary a lot as to the sequence of tones. You will have to
check your own dictionary to see which sequence it uses.
•TR 1,2.06
It's time to put the theory into practice. Listen and repeat carefully.
1
2

3
4

ba
rna
be
me

ba
rna
bi!
mil

ba
rna
be
me

ba
rna
be
me

ba
rna

b~

b~

b'
m,

m~

m~

Guide to pronunciation XXV II

5
6

7
8
9
10
11
12
13
14
15
16

le
vi
bo
to
go
mo
lo
ban
in
ve
tu
mu

I~

vl
bo
to
go
mo
lo
ban
ln
v~

tl)

rna

le
vi
bo
to
go
mo
lo
ban
in
ve
tu
mu

li
vi
bo
to
go
mo
lo
ban
in
ve
tu
mu

le
vr
b6
t6
g6
m6
16
ban
rn
ve
t(i
m.:i

I'

VI

bQ
tQ
gQ
mQ
IQ
b~n

!n
v,
tl,l
ml,l

Vietnamese alphabet
a A a b c (ch) d ct e i g (gh) (gl) h I k (kh) I m n (ng) (ngh) o 6 f1 p
(ph) q r s t (th) (tr) u u' v x y

The above is the established order of the Vietnamese alphabet. As you
can see, the letters without any diacritics precede those with diacritics.
Let us familiarize ourselves with the way the alphabet is pronounced.
Vowels and diphthongs

o481TR 1,4.04
a A a e i l(y) o 6 f1 u u'; li, u6, ltd
a
A
A
e
i
I
0

6
u
u'
y
ii/yi
u6
ltd

ba, Ia, rna
An
bAn, l'n
m,, ve, ctem, len
v•, dim, lin
In, rt, mrt
to, lo, bo
h6, b6
hut
u'a
y,y
viin, quy41n, ml.n, yin
bu6n, mu6n, u6ng
vu'O'n, m u'Q'n, xu'dng

Vietnamese alphabet

XXIX

Consonants
~TR

1,5.40

b

c
ch
d

cr

g
gh
gl
h
k
kh
I

m
n

ng/ngh
p
r

s
t
v
X

nh
ph
th
tr
~TR

b~n, bam
ca, c6, hQc, de
chao, ch6, ch•m
dam, din, d!p
eta, ct~i, ctoan
ga, g6c
gh~t. ghl
gla,glup
hat. h,t, h6
kim, kla, kl'm
khat, khoe, kh6, kh6c, khuyin
Ia, lo~i, lua
m~o, m't, m6'
nam, nil, nu'6'c
ngu, ngon, nghl, ng6i, nghiim, nghln, nghi
final position- ti,ng, rAng, phong
pan
ra, r~t. r61, r~p
se, sat, s,p, sau, sf!
tal, tim, tl'p
va, vl,t, vAn, vi
xa, xin, xe
nha, nho, nh~c, nh6'
final position- anh, tlnh, mlnh
phim, ph6', ph~n
thAm, th,p, thi, thO', thu', thu•n
tra, tri, trong, tr6'

1,8.03

To help you understand the different pronunciation of some difficult
sounds, listen to and repeat the following contrasting combinations:

XXX

a -A ~m, t£m; b,n, b'n; b,m, bAm; bing, b'ng; b,t, b't; hAm,
ham; m,t, m't; s,t, dt; lam, I'm

a -A -A ~m, t£m, tim; b,m, bAm, b'm; m,t, m't, m't; chAm,
cham, chAm; chAn, chan, chin; hAm, ham, him
e- i d~n, d~n; de, d'; ke, k'; len, lin; nen, nin; nem, n~m; quen,
quin; phe, phi; tern, tim; xep, x~p; ve, v~; h~, h~; het, h~t
0 - o cO, co; tO, to; h6, ho; tOI, t61; trOng, trong; tro, tr6; thO, th6; ph6,
ph6; phong, phOng; g6c, g6c; g61, g61
0- o- cJ ho, ho, hO'; tOm, tom, tcJm; chOm, chom, chcJm
lid

hu'6'ng; phu'cJng; tu'cJng; nu'6'c; lu'cJng; khu'6'c; gu'cJm; u'O'ng; du'c;tc

u'o'i ngu'O'i; lu'O'i; ru'O'i; m u'O'i; tu'o'i; cu'6'i
uOI bu61; tu61; chu61
ua- u'a chC.a, chua; cua, cll'a; vua, veta; mCia, mu'a
Ilia glua
ai- ay mai, may; hai, hay; bai, bay; vai, vay
ui- uy tCii, tuy
h - kh h,t, kh't; hQc, kh6c
c - kh c", khal; c6, khO; cu, khu; cOng, khOng; cam, kham; can,
kh,n; c,p, kh,p; can, khAn

n - ng/ngh nal, ngal; nanh, nganh; neo, ngh~o; nla, nghia; nll'a,
ngl,l'a; n't. ng't
nh- ng nha, nga; nhltp, nghltp; nhl,l'a, ngl,l'a
t- th t6i, th6i; ur, thu'; thuy, t~y; tin, thln; tu~n, thu~n; thu, tu; to,
tho; t,p, th'p
~TR

1,11.47

A few examples from a Vietnamese textbook will show you how
Vietnamese children learn their alphabet. Listen and repeat.
Be lon ton ra ngo d6n ba.
Ba cho be qui cam.

M~t trO'IIin 'm d't qui ta
Th6n x6m vui c'y c~y g~t h,i,

M, b~ be di nha tre.
C6 in c~n d6n be. C6 h6n be.

E>im h~ trO'i d~y sao
be nlim ngu thiu thiu
LA cAy reo rl rao

Thu v• cue nO', sl,l'c ml'c m~l
tham.

Nhu' ru cho be ngu.

Buosen nho
Bin bO'ao
Nhutay be
Vay trO'i cao.

Conga m" m,
C~m c1,11 tlm m61
d~ dan con nho
NhO'n nha vui chai.

Moi t'cd~t
Th'm bao gi~t m6 h6i
Cho b't cam tham b~i
Cho em vul ca h't.

TrO'i ren ret
T~td~n r6i
E>ao, mai nO'
Th.tla vul

Triu 0'1 ta bilo trAu nay,
TrAu An no cO' trAu cay v61 ta.

XXXII

1
Rat han h'nh auc;1c g'p co
I am very pleased to meet you
In this unit you will learn
How to greet someone
How to introduce yourself and say where you are from
How to form simple sentences and ask simple questions

H{»i thoct~i himg ngay Everyday conversation
David is a journalist. He arrived in Vietnam two months ago. He is
learning Vietnamese and hopes to write a travel book about Vietnam.
He has already made a few friends in Vietnam. He has just bumped into
Nam in the street.
Nam
David
Nam
David
Nam
David

Llin
David
Nam

A! Anh David! Ch~o anh!
Ch~o anh Nam!
Lau r6i khOng g~p an h. D~o n~y anh c6 kh6e khOng?
Cam an. TOi kh6e. Con anh?
Cam an. TOi blnh thl1bng. A, xin lc~i. TOi xin gi(1i thi~u v(1i
anh, day I~ Li~n, b~n tOi.
CMo cO! T~n tOi I~ David. R~t han h~nh duqc g~p cO.
Ch~o anh! Anh I~ ngl1bi My, phai khOng?
KhOng phai. TOi I~ ngl1bi An h.
TOi khat qua! ChCing ta di u6ng c~ ph~ di!

Unit 1 I am very pleased to meet you

1

chao hello, to greet
anh older brother (here: you)
IAu (bao IAu?) long (how long?)
r61 already
kh6ng no, not
g~p to meet
d,o nay these days
khoe healthy, strong (here: well, all right)
o,o nay anh c6 khoe kh6ng? How are things these days?
cim an thank you
t61/
Con anh? Andwhataboutyou?
blnh thUO'ng normal, usual
xln lol excuse me
gl6'1 thltu to introduce
v6'1 with
dAy here, this
~ Ia to be
!II:
u
c6 Miss
~ b'n (b'n t61) friend (my friend)
tin (tin t61) name (my name)
rAt very
hAn h,nh pleased
RAt hAn h,nh dUQ'c g~p c6./ am very pleased to meet you (Miss).
ngUO'I My American
Anh Ia ngUO'I My, phil kh6ng? You are American, aren't you?
kh6ng phil no
ngUO'I Anh English
khat to be thirsty
qua very
u6ng to drink
dl togo
ca phi coffee
Chung ta dl u6ng ca phi dl! Let's go and have some coffee!
(Let's go and drink some coffee)

e

Activities
1 True or false?
a Liin va Nam g~p David.
b C6 Liin Ia ngu'O'i Vi•t Nam.
c David Ia ngu'O'i My.
d D~o nay David khoe.
e Nam gi6'i thi•u Liin.
f Nam kh't qu,.
2 Try to fill in the missing sentences in the following conversation:
a Chaoanh!
Chaoc6!

Cilm O'n. T6i khoe. _ __
Cilm O'n. T6i blnh thu'O'ng.
b Chao ba!
Chao6ng!
Xin gi6'i thi•u v6'i ba, d'y Ia 6ng Green.

3 Translate into Vietnamese:
a Hello Mark! How are you?
I am all right, thank you. What about you?
I am well thank you.
b Allow me to introduce you to Mr Hai.
I am very pleased to meet you, Mr Hai. My name is David.
David McDonald.
c Excuse me, are you American?
No, I am English.

Terms of personal address
Vietnamese use terms denoting family relationships (kinship terms)
when addressing each other (even when talking to a person to whom
they are not related). In effect, they replace personal pronouns. The
system is rather complicated and the choice of the correct expression
depends on many things such as sex, age, social status, the family
Unit 1 I am very pleased to meet you

3

relationship, the relationship between the speaker and the person he or
she is addressing or the overall degree of intimacy between them.
It is very difficult for foreigners always to be sure which term to use and
you will need a little bit more experience to get it right. However, it is
possible to use Vietnamese effectively with a limited number of kinship
terms, the most common of which are:

anh Oiterally, it means older brother; use it when addressing a young
male; less formal)
chj (older sister, female equivalent ofanh; less formal)
em Oiterally, it means younger sibling -brother or sister; use it when
addressing children, both male and female, or anybody a lot younger
than you are)
ling (means grandfather; use it when addressing an older man, can be
translated as Mr or Sir, formal, respectful)
ba (means grandmother; use it when addressing a married woman or a
woman much older than you are, formal, respectful)
ell (can be translated as Miss)
Greeting
The Vietnamese greet each other using the word chao to greet. This is
followed by either a name or a kinship term (or both). However, if you
use chao only, it will be considered not very polite. For example:
Chao Liin!
Chao ell!
Chao ling!

Hello Li~n!
Hello Miss!
Hello Mister!

Chao means both hello and goodbye and therefore the above examples
also mean Goodbye Li~n!, Goodbye Miss!, Goodbye Mister!

4

There are no Vietnamese equivalents for English Good morning,
Good evening, Good afternoon, etc. and chao can be used at any time
of the day.

Insight
The easiest way to greet somebody in Vietnamese is to say Xin
chao! This way you avoid having to go through a daunting process
of trying to dedde which kinship term to use and still be polite.
You can also greet a group of people in this way without having to
choose the correct kinship term for each individual in the group.
Later on, when you get to know a person better, you will find it
easier to select the appropriate form of address .

....................................................................................................
Grammatical points
A word of encouragement before you begin!
You are entering the exdting world of Vietnamese grammar. You will
be pleased to hear that Vietnamese grammar is relatively simple (with
the emphasis on relatively, which is just as well, given the difficulty of
Vietnamese pronundation). Vietnamese is an isolating language, which
means that the words do not change according to cases, they do not take
any endings. Words are put together like a mosaic. Each grammatical
category has its special grammatical particle (or particles) that is simply
added to the sentence. Word order is crudal and each of the grammatical
particles has a strictly determined position in a sentence.

1 T61 Ia lam
A simple statement in Vietnamese is not very different from a simple
sentence in English. It follows the logical word order of subjectverb-object. In the following sentences the subject is joined to the
object by the copula Ia to be.

Unit 1 I am very pleased to meet you

5

Ia
(to be)

nha b,o,
(journalist)

I am a journalist.

(/)

£)Ay
(This, here)

Ia
(to be)

Ong Hang.
(Mr Hung)

This is Mr Hung.

COLlin
(Miss Li~n)

Ia
(to be)

ngu'ltl Vi•t Nam. Miss Li~n is
(Vietnamese)
Vietnamese.

TOi

£)Ay Ia b~n tOi.
Tin tOila David.

This is my friend.
My name is David.

2 TOi khOng phil Ia I am not

Negation in Vietnamese is formed using the negative particle khOng no,
not. It precedes the verb being negated. In sentences with Ia, khOng is
used in combination with phai.
TOi khOng phaila nha b,o.
£)Ay khOng phaila b~n tOi.
co Llin khOng phaila ngultl
Vi.tNam.
Tin tOi khOng phaila David.

I am not a journalist.
This is not my friend.
Miss Li~n is not Vietnamese.
My name is not David.

3 Questions

There are several ways of creating a question in Vietnamese. One of the
easiest questions is an affirmative question. Let's imagine you want to
make sure and ask This is Mr Hung, isn't it?
In Vietnamese you say
£)Ay Ia Ong

Han~

phai khOng?

And similarly

co Llin Ia ngUO'I Vltt Nam,

Miss Li~n is Vietnamese,
isn't she?

philkhOng?

As you can see, this type of question has the tag phrase phil khOng
(or c6 phil khOng) at the end.

~"-~!~~!:~~~-~~~~~~-=~~-:~:~~~:~·:~:~:~::~·::·~:::~:~:~·::·;~··············]
(to be) use khOng phil instead of just khOng. Don't make this
mistake .

....................................................................................................
4 Nationality

Stating your nationality is very simple in Vietnamese. The word ngUO'I
(person) is used followed by the country's name:
English
Vietnamese
French
American
German
Chinese
Japanese
Thai
Canadian

ngUO'I Anh
ngUO'I Vltt Nam
ngUO'I Ph'p
ngUO'I My
ngUO'I £Krc
ngUO'I Trung Qu6c
ngUO'INh.t(Nh.tBin)
ngUO'I Thai Lan
ngUO'I Ca-na-da

When you want to ask someone Which country are you from? you ask:
Anh/Ch!

Ia

ngUO'I

nU6'c

nao?

(You)

(to be)

(person)

(country)

(which)

Unit 1 I am very pleased to meet you

7

H{»i thoct~i 2 Conversation 2
You should now be able to understand the following conversation
between Binh and Mark.

Blnh
Mark
Blnh
Mark
Blnh
Peter
Blnh
Peter
Blnh
Mark

Ch~o

an h.
chi. TOi I~ Mark. Con chi, t~n chi I~ gl?
~n tOi I~ Blnh. Ra't han h~nh dllqc g~p an h.
TOi cung r!t han h~nh dllqc g~p chi. Day I~ Peter, b~n tOi.
Chao anh Peter.
Ch~o chi Blnh.
Anh I~ ngllai nll(1c n~o?
TOi I~ ngllai Anh.
V~ anh Mark? Anh cung I~ ngllai Anh, phai khOng?
KhOng, tOi khOng phai I~ ngllai Anh nhll Peter, tOi I~
ngllai Ca-na-da .
Ch~o

• , tin ch! your name (addressing a woman)
gl? what?
!II!
cung also

I••

i"''

vi and
nhlllike, such as

Exercises
1 Introduce the following people to Mr Howard:
a Mr Hoang, your friend
b Miss Lan, she is Vietnamese
c Mr Herbert, he is German
d Miss Sato, she is Japanese
e Mrs Douglas, she is American

8

2 Look at the example, then create questions from the following sentences:
Chi Sato Ia ngUO'I Nh.t.
-Chi Sato Ia ngUO'I Nh•t. phil khOng?
C6 Lan Ia ngUO'I Vl•t Nam.
Ong Ha Ia ngUO'I Trung Qu6c.
Ong Green Ia ngUO'I Anh.
Ba Robinson Ia ngUO'I My.
Tin chi Ia Tuy~t.
f Anh Pronvlt Ia ngUO'I Th~l.
g £)Ay Ia ba Mal.

a
b
c
d
e

3 Give Vietnamese equivalents:
Is Kurt German?
This is Mr Brown, isn't it?
Is Miss Sato Japanese?
Is Mr Chang Chinese?
Ralf is German, isn't he?
Mr Chang is Japanese, isn't he?
Is this David?
4 Answer these questions, using the following example:
£)Ay Ia 6ng Khoa, phil khOng? (6ng Ha)
KhOng, dAy khOng phil Ia 6ng Khoa, dAy Ia 6ng Ha.
a Chi Loan Ia ngUO'I Trung Qu6c, phil kh6ng?
(ngUO'I Vl.t Nam)
b £)Ay Ia anh Mark, phil kh6ng? (Richard)
c Gerard Ia ngUO'I £)1J'c, phil kh6ng? (ngUO'I Ph~p)
d Anh Nam Ia ngUO'I Anh, phil kh6ng? (ngUO'I Ca-na-da)
e £)Ay Ia chi Hoa, phil kh6ng? (chi Nguy.t)

5 Ask what nationality the following people are and reply, using the
country of origin suggested in brackets:
Blnh (VI.t Nam)
Blnh Ia ngUO'I nu6'c nao? Blnh Ia ngUO'I Vl•t Nam.

Unit 1 I am very pleased to meet you

9

Maurice (Ph~p)
Peter (Ca-na-da)
Pornvit (Th" Lan)
Ulrich (£Krc)
Natasha (Nga)
Minh (Vi•t Nam)

6 Give Vietnamese equivalents:
a Hello, I am Helen.
Hello, my name is Hoa.l am very pleased to meet you. You are
American, aren't you?
No, I am English.
b Excuse me, where are you from?
I am German. And what about you? Where are you from?
lam French.
c Oh, hello, Jane!
HelloNam!
Howareyou?
I am fine, thank you. And what about you?
I am also all right.
d Excuse me, you are Mr Howard, aren't you?
Yes, I am Mr Howard.
My name is John, John Francis. I am very pleased to meet you.
7 Fill in the missing diacritics (accents):
£)ay Ia anh Nam. Anh Nam Ia nguoi nuoc nao? Anh Nam Ia nguoi
VietNam. Dao nay ch! Hoa co khoe khong? Cam on, toi binh
thuong. Chao anh. Rat han hanh duoc gap an h. Anh Ia nguoi My
phai khong. Toi khong phaila nguoi My, toila nguoi Anh.

SUMMARY
At the end of the first unit, you should be able to do the following:
1 Handle basic greetings and introductions
Chao anh! Anh c6 khoe kh6ng?
Cam O'n chj, t6i khoe.
T6i r't wi du'Q'C g~p an h.
Xin gi6'i thi•u v6'i anh, diy Ia 6ng Chung.
Tin t611a Peter.
Tin chi Ia gl?

2 State your nationality and ask about other people's nationality.
For example:
Nha bao Tuin Ia ngu'O'i nu'6'c nao?
T6i Ia ngu'O'i Nh•t nhu'ng b~n t6i Ia ngu'O'i Phap.
Chi Lan Ia ngu'O'i Vi•t Nam.
C6 Mai kh6ng phai Ia ngu'O'i Trung Qu6c.
B~n t6i kh6ng phili Ia ngu'O'i Nh.t, b~n t6i Ia ngu'O'i E>ll'c.

3 Create simple Vietnamese sentences and negative versions of them:
Anh HCmg Ia sinh vlin.
Ba Malia bac si nhung chi E>ao kh6ng phil Ia bac si.
Chi Tuyit Ia b~n t61.
Tin t61 kh6ng phil Ia David.
E>iy kh6ng phai Ia khach s~n.

Unit 1 I am very pleased to meet you

2
Chi Ia thu kj, phai khong?
You are a secretary, aren't you?
In this unit you will learn

How to state your occupation
How to create questions in Vietnamese
How to use new verbs

H{»i thoct~i himg ngay Everyday conversation
Peter introduces himself and Mark to Hoa.
1\"1

....

•.

: Hoa
: Peter

...: Hoa

: Peter
: Hoa

..: Peter
: Mark

12

...

.................................................................

a: : Peter, Mark

Chao chi!
Chao cac anh!
:
Xin h~i, chi Ia chi Hoa, phai khOng?TOi Ia Peter, b~n :
cua anh Nam.
A, anh Nam. Lau r6i tOi khOng g~p anh Nam.
D~o nay anh Nam th~ nao?
Anh Nam kh6e. Xin h~i, day Ia b~n tOi Mark.
Han h~nh duqc g~p an h. Cac anh lam gl fJ Ha NQi?
Cac anh d~n day du lich hay lam vi~c?
TOi Ia sinh vi~n. TOi d~n day d~ hQc ti~ng Vi~t.
Con anh Mark ...
TOi lam vi~c fJ cOng ty du lich. TOi d~n day du lich.
Con chi Hoa, chi lam ngh~ gl?

Peter
Hoa
Peter
Hoa
Peter, Mark

Chi Ia thll Icy, pMi khOng?
KhOng, tOi Ia y ta. TOi lam vi~c ~ b~nh vi~n
Mai. Cac anh ~ dau?
ChCing tOi ~ khach s~n SOng H6ng.
6, xin 16i, bay gib tOi phai di. H~n g~p l~i.
Chao chj!

B~ch

die anh you (plural; male); [cac = plural marker]
cua (b~n cua anh Nam) belonging to, of ... (Nam's friend)
th' nao? how?
lam (lam gl?) to do (what do you do?)
d'n to come, to arrive
du ljch travel, journey, tourism
hay or
lam vi•c to work
sinh vi in student
d~ in order to
hQc to study, to Jearn
ti,ng (ti,ng Vi.t) language (Vietnamese language)
& in, at, to live
cOng ty (cOng ty du ljch) company, firm (travel agency)
nghi occupation, profession
thll k9 secretary
yta nurse
b•nh vi•n hospital
diu? where?
khach s~n hotel
sOng river
h6ng (SOng H6ng) pink, red (Red River)
biygiO'now
chang tOI we
phil must
dl to go
h,n to hope
g~p 1~1 to meet again

Unit 2 You are a seaetary, aren't youl

13

Activity
1 True or false?
a Hoa Ia thu' kj.
b Peter Ia b~n cua anh Nam.
c Mark Ia sinh viin.
d Peter kh6ng phil Ia sinh viin, Peter lam vi•c b'c6ng ty
du l!ch.
e Peter va Mark l1 kh,ch s~n S6ng H6ng.
f Mark hQc tii'ng Vi•t.
Vietnamese names

The name of a Vietnamese person usually consists of three parts (some,
however, have only two parts and some have four parts). The first name
is the family name (surname). The last name is the equivalent of the
first name in English. This is the name the Vietnamese use to address
each other (both in formal and informal contact). In addition, parents
may add a middle name as well. Nguyen VAn H~ng is the name of a
man whose family name is Nguyen. He will be referred to as H~ng.
It is more polite to add some kinship term (a word referring to a family
relationship) before the name, so in this case our Mr Hung would be
addressed, for example, as anh H~ng or 6ng H~ng, etc.
Vietnamese names usually have a specific meaning. Based on old
Confucian tradition, parents often choose a name for their offspring
that they think reflects an aspect of the child's character or physical
appearance or, indeed, their hope for the child. It is not surprising,
therefore, that many Vietnamese boys are given names such as H~ng
(Brave), Dung (Courageous), Cu'ang (Strong), while girls are called Lan
(Orchid), Hoa (Flower), Liin (Lotus), Tuyit (Snow), Nguy•t (Moon),
Huang (Perfume), etc.

In contemporary Vietnamese, each part of the name is written as a
separate word beginning with a capital letter. No hyphen is used in
between them (Nguyen Phan Ch,nh).

14

Insight
Remember that Vietnamese people never address one another by
their 'family' name but use what we would call first name/ given
name instead (even in formal contact). Please make sure you are
polite by adding the appropriate kinship term to the given name.

Notes
Languages

The names of various languages are created using the noun tli'ng
language followed by the name of a country. Look at the following
examples:
tli'ngVI.t
tli'ngAnh
tli'ng Ph&1ip
tli'ngE>Il'c
tli'ng Trung Qu6c
tli'ng Nh•t
tli'ngTh&1il
tli'ng Nga
tli'ngY

Vietnamese language
English
French
German
Chinese
Japanese
Thai
Russian
Italian

Grammatical points
1 Verbs

In this unit, you are going to learn some new verbs. As with sentences
containing Ia, a simple statement follows the subject-verb-object
pattern:
T61

hQc tli'ng

Vl•t

(I)

(to learn)

(Vietnamese language)

I study Vietnamese.

Unit 2 You are a seaetary, aren't youl

15

As we already know, negation is formed by a negative particle khOng
(no, not) placed before the verb being negated:
TOi khOng hQc
tii'ng Vitt.
I don't study Vietnamese.
(I) (no, not) (to learn) (Vietnamese language)
2 Questions

In the previous unit, we learnt an affirmative question. Lefs continue our
discussion about questions in Vietnamese.
A common way to form a question in Vietnamese is using the
construction (c6) ... khOng? For example:
Anh David hQc tii'ng Vitt
Anh David (c6) hQC tii'ng Vitt khOng?

David studies Vietnamese.
Does David study Vietnamese?

Llin s6ng ~ Ha N~i.
Llin (c6) s6ng ~ Ha N~i khOng?

Li~n lives in Hanoi.
Does Li~n live in Hanoi?

Blnh lam vitc ~ cOng ty du ljch.
Blnh (c6) lam vitc ~ cOng ty
du ljch khOng?

Binh works in a travel agency.
Does Binh work in a travel
agency?

C6 is positioned before the main verb in the sentence and khOng is at
the end of the sentence. Sometimes c6 may be left out.

Lefs discuss some examples using sentences containing Ia. We already
know that the sentence I am a journalist is in Vietnamese TOila nha
b~o. If you want to ask someone Are you a journalist?, you use the
following grammatical construction:
Anh c6 phiila nha b~o khOng?

In order to form a question that contains Ia you use c6 phil before the
verb Ia and khOng at the very end of the sentence. Here are a few more
examples:

16

£)Ay c6 phil Ia Ong HCmg khOng? (Is this Mr Hung?)
CO Llin c6 phil Ia ngUO'I Vltt Nam khOng? (Is Miss Li~n Vietnamese?)
Have you realized that you should already know how to answer these
questions? The question '£)Ay c6 phil Ia Ong HC.ng khOng?' can be
answered either positively

C6, dAy Ia Ong HC.ng. (Yes, this is Mr Hung.)
or negatively:

KhOng, dAy khOng phil Ia Ong HC.ng. (No, this is not Mr Hung.)
3 Pronouns
Vietnamese does not have a complete system of personal pronouns like
English. Their role is normally fulfilled by kinship terms (see Unitt).
Study the following table carefully; it lists some of the main expressions
used to mark the first, second and third person (adopting the role of
personal pronouns).

you
he, she, it

tO I
em, anh, Ong, chj,
ba,cO,etc.
anh ,y, Ong ,y,
chi ,y, ba ,y,
cO ,y, etc.
n6

we
you
they

chCing tOI, chCing ta
c-'c anh, c-'c Ong,
c-'c chj, c-'c ba, etc.
hQ

Notes:

'y

'y

is a demonstrative pronoun meaning that; chj
therefore means
that woman(= she), Ong means that man(= he), etc.

'y

c-'c is a plural marker; c-'c anh therefore means older brothers (you
older brothers) and c-'c chj means older sisters (you older sisters).

Unlt2 Youareaseaetary,aren'tyoul

17

H{»i thoct~i 2 Conversation 2
Do you remember David, Li@n and Nam whom we met in Unit 1? After
their formal introduction, David, Li@n and Nam decided to stop in a
small coffee shop to have a chat. Try to follow their conversation.

......"'.
,...;

a:
....

Llin
David
Llin

9
David

Llin
Nam
Llin
David

Nam
David

Anh Ia ngllbi Anh a?
vang, tOi s6ng va lam vi~c {:J Lua n DOn - thu dO nll&c Anh.
A, anh cung {:J thu dO nhlltOi. TOi s6ng {:J Ha NQi- thu
dO nll&c Vi~t Nam. Anh David lam ngh~ gl?
TOi Ia nha bao. Con chi? Chi c6 phai Ia bac si nhll anh
Nam khOng?
Di;l khOng. TOi Ia thll Icy.
co Li~n lam vi~c {:J nha xua't ban.
Anh David lam gl {:J Ha NQi?
TOi d~n day du ljch nhllng tOi cung mu6n hQc ti~ng
Vi~t. TOi mu6n n6i chuy~n v&i ngllbi Vi~t Nam d~ hi~u
nll&c nay.
Anh hQc ti~ng Vi~t bao Iau?
Khoang hai thang. Ti~ng Vi~t kh61~m!

a final particle indicating question
s6ng to live

thu era capital city

itJ
-

a

18

nu'6'c country
Anh (nu'6'c Anh) England, Britain
d~ particle expressing politeness
nha xu't ban publishing house
nhu'ng but
mu6n want
n6i, n6i chuytn to speak, to talk
v6'i with
hi'u to understand
nay this, these
bao liu? how long?
khoang approximately, about, around

hal two
th~ng

month

kh6 difficult
I'm very

Activities
2 True or false?
a
b
c
d
e
f
g
h

David khOng hQc th1ng Vltt
David d'n Vltt Nam du ljch.
co Llin lam vltc f:J Ha NO I.
LuAn £>On Ia thu dO nu6'c An h.
CO Liin Ia b~c si.
Ti,ng Vitt kh6 I'm.
David Ia nha vAn.
Liin khOng s6ng f:J Ha NOi.

3 Can you answer the following questions?
a David s6ng f:J diu?
b Anh
lam vltc f:J LuAn £>On, phil khOng?

'y

c David lam ngh• gl?
d co Llin Ia thu k9 f:J btnh vltn, phil khOng?
e Anh Nam c6 phil Ia nha b~o khOng?
f Ha NOi c6 phii Ia thu dO nu6'c Vitt Nam khOng?

Exercises
1 Using the additional vocabulary provided below, answer the following
questions, using the example:
Anh Nam c6 phil Ia sinh vlin khOng? (lu•t sU)
Anh Nam khOng phil Ia sinh vlin, anh Nam Ia lu•t su.
a CO PhUO'ng Ia b~c si, phii khOng? (y ~)
b Helen c6 phii Ia nha b~o khOng? (thu k9)

Unit 2 You are a seaetary, aren't youl

19

c Ong Dung c6 phil Ia nha vAn khOng? (th'y gl~o)
d Chi Tuy't Ia k' to~n, phil khOng? (lu•t sU)
e Anh HC.ng c6 phil Ia sinh vlin khOng? (b~c si)
f CO Mal c6 phil Ia lu•t su khOng? (sinh vlin)

o481TR3,2.40

•

s:;~

IS

J

th'y gi~o teacher (male)
k' to~n accountant
lu•t su lawyer
sinh vi in student
nha vAn writer
nha b~o journalist
2 Look at the example and create questions:
Anh Dung hQc ti,ng Vi•t
Anh Dung hQc ti,ng Vi•t, phii khOng?
Anh Dung c6 hQc ti,ng Vi•t khOng?

Ch! Hoa s6ng f1 Ha N~i.
Helen lam vl•c f1 Paris.
Ong Khoang hQc tl,ng Nh•t.
Ba Huang lam vl•c f1 b•nh vl.n.
David s6ng fiVI•t Nam.
f Anh £>1l'c hQc tl,ng Ph~p.
g Ong Taylor lam vi•c f1 cOng ty du l!ch.

a
b
c
d
e

3 Say that the following people study the languages suggested in
brackets, using the example:
Anh Nam (Chinese)
Anh Nam hQc ti,ng Trung Qu6c.

Mrs Smith (French)
Mr Taylor (Japanese)
Miss Sato (English)
Helen (Vietnamese)
Mrs Morton (German)
David (Chinese)

20

4 Translate the following sentences into Vietnamese.
Peter is an accountant. He works in London.
Hoa is a secretary. She works in a publishing house.
Mark is a student. He studies Vietnamese and Chinese.
Does Miss Lan work in a travel agency? No, she works in a hospital,
she is a nurse.
David is not a doctor, he is a journalist.
Julian lives in Brighton but works in London.
Helen does not know French but she knows Chinese.
Nam is a student, he studies Japanese.
Mary came to Vietnam to study Vietnamese.
Rosamund does not work in a travel agency.
Is Mr Brown a doctor?
Mrs Blnh is a lawyer. She works in Hanoi.
Is Mr Baker a teacher? Yes, he is a teacher.
Allow me to introduce you to Mr Howard; he is a writer.

bitft to know
5 Fill in the missing parts of the conversation:

a
HCmg
Maurice
HCmg
Maurice
Hung

TOi Ia ngllbi PMp.
KhOng, tOi khOng phai Ia nha

b~o,

tOi Ia nha van

TOi Ia lu~t sll.

b
Hoa
Marie
Hoa

Vang, tOi hQc ti~ng Vi~t. Chj Hoa c6 bi~t ti~ng PMp
khOng?
_ _ nhllng tOi bi~t ti~ng f>l1c.

6 Introduce yourself in a few sentences to your Vietnamese friends.

Unit 2 You are a seaetary, aren't youl

21

Reading
£)Ay Ia b~n tOI CUO'ng. Anh CUO'ng khOng phil Ia ngUO'I Anh nhU tO I.
Anh CUO'ng Ia ngUO'i Vi.t Nam. TOi g~p anh CUO'ng ~ Ha N~i. CUO'ng
Ia k~ toan. Anh
lam vi•c ~cOng ty du l!ch. Anh CUO'ng bi~t ti~ng
Phap. BAy giO' anh
mu6n hQc ti~ng Anh. TOi cling Ia k~ toan nhu
anh CUO'ng. TOi s6ng va lam vi•c ~ LuAn £)0n. Nhung bAy giO' tOi ~
Vi•t Nam. TOi mu6n hQc ti~ng Vi•t

'Y

'Y

Can you answer the following questions?
a What is the narrator's occupation?
b And what about his nationality?
c What is he doing in Vietnam?
d Does CuC1ng speak any foreign languages?

SUMMARY
It is time to test how well you have learnt this unit.

Can you understand the following sentences?
1 B~n t6i s6ng ~ Ha N~i nhu'ng lam vi•c ~ Hai Phong.

2 C6 Mai c6 phai Ia lu•t su' kh6ng?
3 Anh Chung c6 bli't tling Trung Qu6c kh6ng? Kh6n~ anh
Chung bli't tling Nh•t.

5 Em Liin c6 phai Ia sinh viin kh6ng?
6 Anh Francois c6 hQc tii'ng Vi•t kh6ng?
7 Ch! Lan lam ngh~ gl? Ch! Lan Ia thu' ky.
8 Chung t61 ~ kh,ch s~n Qui Huang.

3
Th!ng Vi't co kh6 khong?
Is Vietnamese difficult?
In this unit you will learn
How to ask and say what is something like
How to use adjectives
How to intensify adjectives and adverbs
How to use some initial and final particles in a Vietnamese
sentence
How to count from 1-10

H{»i thoct~i hang ngay Everyday conversation
Having just arrived at the Hanoi N<)i Bai airport, Richard and Tom are
facing the difficult task of finding some accommodation. They have
just approached an information counter at the airport.

Nhin viin
Richard

Nhin viin

24

Chao anh.Anh mu6n hoi gl?
Chao chj. Chdng tOi mu6n tlm m¢t nha khikh
hay m¢t kMch s~n nh6 g~n trung tam tMnh ph6.
Chi c6 th~ giai thi~u cho chdng tOi m¢t kMch ~n t6t
khOng?
Ha N¢i c6 nhi~u khach s~n du ljch. Khach s~n Bb
H6 ~ trung tam thanh ph6 d~p l~m nhllng thubng
dOng khach. Thanh ni~n thl1bng chQn khach s~n
Hoa Blnh ho~c nha khach Thap Rua.

Richard
NhAn vlin
Richard
NhAn vlin
Tom
NhAn vlin
Tom
NhAn vlin
Tom
NhAn vlin

Khach s~n Hoa Blnh nhll th~ n~o?
Khach s~n n~y ian v~ d~p l~m. N6 g~n bb H6 Ho~n
Ki~m trin ph6 B~ Tri~u.
Con nh~ khach Thap Rua?
Nh~ khach n~y nho v~ yin tin h.
Nh~ khach n~y c6 d~t khOng?
KhOng d~t l~m.
T6t l~m. Chi l~m an cho chjjng tOi d~t m¢t phong
dOi l:J nh~ khach Thap Rua trong hai tuan.
D~,vang ~·
C~m

an chj.
KhOng c6 gl.

nhAn viin employee
hoi to ask
gl what
tlm to look for
ho~c

or

nha khach guest house (nha =house/ khach =guest)

nhO small little
g~n

near

trung tAm centre
thanh ph6 town city
c6 th' canr be able to

t6tgood
nhi~u man,Yt a lot
ct,p (ct,p I'm) nicer prett.Yt beautiful (very nice)
nhllng but
thllO'ng often
ct6ng crowded
khach guestr visitor
thanh nlin young peopler youth
chQn to choose
nhll thi nao? what is (something) like?
l6'n larger big
trin on (preposition)
ph6 (ph6 Ba Tri.u) streetr road (Ba Tri•u street)

Unit 3 Is Vietnamese difficult?

yin tinh tranquil, quiet
d't expensive
lam an please
d~t to book
phong (phong d6i) room (double room)
hai two
tu~n week

Activity
1 True or false?
a Richard va Tom mu6n & mOt kh~ch s~n nhO.
b HQ kh6ng mu6n &trung tim thanh ph6.
c Thanh niin thrch & kh~ch s~n Hoa Blnh hay nha kh~ch Th~p
R~a.

d Kh~ch s~n Hoa Blnh g~n bO' H6 Hoan Ki~m trin du'O'ng ph6
Ba Tri.u.
e Nha kh~ch Th~p R~a kh6ng yin tinh I'm.
f Nha kh~ch Th~p R~a d't I'm.

Notes
Initial particles
As the name suggests, these appear at the beginning of a sentence
and their function is to signal the character of the sentence they
introduce .
...,

d~ is a polite particle that signals a courteous reaction (positive or
negative) to what somebody else said. For example:

Chjlam an cho chung t6i d~t mOt Please book a double room for us
phong d6i & nha kh~ch Th~p R~a. in the Thdp Rua guest house.
D~ ring~·
Yes (very politely).

26

Final particles

Final particles are positioned at the end of a sentence. They cover a whole
variety of meanings. Here are some examples:
~ ~

is a final particle which indicates politeness:

Ch! lam O'n cho chung t61 d~t m~t Please book us a double room in
phong d61 f1 nha kh&1ich Th&1ip Rua. the Thdp Rua guest house.
D~ YAng~·
~

Yes.

a is used when you are seeking confirmation, it can also reflect mild
surprise:

Anh bhft thfng Vl.t a?
Ch!m.U?
Ving, t61 m.t.

So you know Vietnamese?
You are tired, aren't you?
Yes, lam.

~ nh~

could be translated into English as all right?, OK? It is used
when the speaker expects agreement with his or her statement or
suggestion:

Chung ta dl xem phlm nh~?
~ chll'-

Let's go to the cinema, all right?

an emphatic interrogative particle:

Ong Ia ngu'ltl Ph&1ip chll'?

You are French, am I right?

~ d'y usually accompanies

a question word (such as gl what,
diu where, al who, bao giO' when) and is used in questions:

Anh dl diu d'y?
C6 dQC s&1ich gl d'y?

Where are you going?
What are you reading?

Unit 3 Is VIetnamese dlflicultl

27

Grammatical points
1 Adjectives

In the opening conversation, some Vietnamese adjectives were
introduced. One of the most noticeable differences between an English
and a Vietnamese adjective is its position. A Vietnamese adjective comes
after the noun that it describes. For example:
kh,ch S\'n
(hotel)
thanh ph6
(town, city)
c6g"
(girl)

nho
(smai/J
cd
(old, ancient)
tri
(young)

a small hotel
an oldtown
a young girl

Another important difference is the fact that Vietnamese adjectives act
as verbs and therefore do not need to be accompanied by an additional
verb (this means that adjectives such as tri, kh6, d't should be more
correctly translated as to be young, to be difficult, to be expensive, etc.).
Thanh ph6 Ha NOI
town, Hanoi
Kh,ch S\'n Hilton
hotel Hilton
TllfngVI•t
language- Vietnamese

c:r,p.
(to be) beautiful

Hanoi is beautiful.

d't.

The Hilton hotel is expensive.
(to be) expensive
kh6ng kh6.
Vietnamese is not difficult.
not, (to be) difficult

Notice also that all Vietnamese adjectives can be negated in a regular way
using kh6ng (placed before the adjective being negated). For example:
kh6ng c:r,p not nice, kh6ng kh6 not difficult, etc.
.OTR4, 1.35

tri
gla

28

young
old (opposite to
young)

cu

old (opposite to new)

n6ng
l~nh

m6'1
h,p
cao
th'p
dai
ng'n
bu6n
vul
s~ch

b'n
d't
re

hot
cold
new
narrow
tall, high
low
long
short
sad
cheerful, happy
clean
dirty
expensive
cheap

l6'n, to
nho
rOng
de
kh6
cr,p
x'u
glau
ngh~o

thOng mlnh
chAm chi
IUO'I
n61 tl41ng

big, large
small
wide
simple, easy
difficult
nice, pretty, beautiful
bad, ugly
rich
poor
clever
industrious, hardworking
lazy
famous

2 Th41 nao? What is it like?
When asking what is something or somebody like, the Vietnamese use
th41 nao or nhu th41 nao.

Tl41ng Vl•t th41 nao?
Tl41ng Vl.t kh6.

What is Vietnamese like?
Vietnamese is difficult.

C6 Hoa nhu th41 nao?
C6Hoacr,p.

What is Hoa like?
Hoa is beautiful.

. . .1

lna~!:~~:~~::·~::~·:::~~~·:::~·~~=~=~~:·:~:·:~::··············
question words must be placed at the end of a sentence .
....................................................................................................
Unit 3 Is VIetnamese dlflicult1

29

3 Neither ... nor

The meaning neither ... nor is expressed in a very simple way in
Vietnamese. For example:
Thanh ph6 Ha N~i kh6ng nho cung
kh6ng 16'n.

Hanoi is neither small nor big.

(You are in fact saying that Hanoi is not small and also not big.)
Mr Dung is neither old nor
young.

Ong Dung kh6ng gla cung
kh6ng tre.

4 Emphasizing things: rdt!l"m/qud

There are several expressions that can be used to intensify the meaning of
adjectives and adverbs. The most frequent ones are:
very, very much
very, greatly
too, excessively
RAt occurs before the word whose meaning we intensify, while I'm
occurs after the intensified word; qu' can be placed both before and
after. For example:
Thanh ph6 Ha N~l rAt d,p.
Til1ng Vi•t kh6 I'm.
Kh,ch s~n Hilton d't qu,.

Hanoi is very beautiful.
Vietnamese is very difficult.
The Hilton hotel is too expensive.

o@TR4,2.14
5 Numbers

Here is a list ofVietnamese numbers from 1-10. Learn and practise them
carefully. You will learn more in subsequent units.
1 m~t
2 hal
3 ba

30

4 b6n
5 nAm
6 s-'u

7 biy
8 t-'m
9 mu'O'I

H{»i thoct~i 2 Conversation 2
Nam and Mark are sitting next to one another on the plane bound for
Hanoi. Follow their conversation.

................................................................. ,..,
: Nam
Xin 16i, tOi tha'y anh dang dQc tCI b~o Vi~t Nam. Anh c6

.

: Mark
: Nam
: Mark
: Nam
: Mark
: Nam
: Mark

~

n6i duqc ti~ng Vi~t khOng?
C6, nhung It thOi. TOi dang hQc. TOi nghe thl hi~u
nhLing n6i khOng gioi.
Anh hQc ti~ng Vi~t {J dau?
C1 Luan DOn v~ H~ N¢i.
Th~ ~. Anh th!y ti~ng Vi~t th~ n~o? Ti~ng Vi~t c6 kh6
khOng?
vang, tOi th!y ti~ng Vi~t hay nhLing kh6 hQc.
Anh phat am r!t t6t.
6, cam an an h.

ri
or/
11:11:
.....
~

.

.................................................................

th'y see, perceive
dang be engaged in doing something (grammatical particle for
present tense)

ctQc read
(tO') b-'o (classifier) newspaper
n61 (n61 du'Q'c) speak, talk (to be able to speak)

It thO I only a little bit
hQc study, learn
nghe listen
thl then
hi41u understand

i:

1:

I

Unit 3 Is VIetnamese dlflicult1

'

31

glol be clever, good, skilful
Thi a. Is that so? Really?
ph~t Am pronounce

Exercises
1 Fill in the missing diacritics:

A:
B:
A:
B:
A:
B:

Anh co noi duoc tieng Viet khong?
Vang nhung it thoi.
Anh thaytiengViet the nao?
Phat am tieng Viet kho lam.
Anh noi tieng Viet tot lam.
Cam on an h. Toi nghe hieu nhung noi khong gioi.

2 Ask what is something or somebody like. Reply using the adjectives
suggested in the brackets, as in the example:
Thanh ph6 H6 Chr Minh (16'n)
Thanh ph6 H6 chr Minh thi nao?
Thanh ph6 H6 chr Minh l6'n.

a
b
c
d
e
f
g
h
1
j

Tling Ph~p (khOng kh61,m)
Kh~ch s~n BO' H6 (ct6ng ngu'O'i)
Ong Nam (gia nhu'ng khoe)
Thanh ph6 Hui (yin tinh)
B•nh vi•n Vi•t-My (m6'i)
B~c si Quang (teSt)
Sling H6ng (dai)
C6 Lan (bu6n)
Nha kh~ch 'Hoa Blnh' (re)
C6ng ty du ljch nay (t6t)

3 Form questions according to the following example:
Thanh ph6 Hu' (16'n)
Thanh ph6 Hu' c616'n khOng?
a
b
c
d
e

f
g
h
I

J
k

Ong Dung (gia)
Nu6'c Anh (nho)
Ti,ng Nh.t (kh6)
C6ng ty du l!ch 'Vietnam Tourism' (teSt)
Ph6 Nguyen Hu• (yin tin h)
B~c si Huang (teSt)
H6 Hoan Kl'm (d,p)
C6 Llin (khOe)
Kh~ch s~n 'Th~p RQa' (d,t)
Trung tAm thanh ph6 (s~ch)
Nha xuA't bin 'VAn ngM' (n61 tl,ng)

4 Give negative answers to the following questions. For example:
Ti,ng Nh•t c6 kh6 kh6ng?
Ti,ng Nh•t kh6ng kh6, ti,ng Nh•t de.
a
b
c
d
e
f
g
h
I
j

Kh~ch s~n Hilton c6 d't khOng?
Chi Mal c6 khOe khOng?
B•nh vl•n B~ch Mal c6 m6'1 khOng?
Thanh ph6 Ha Nl)l c6 d'p khOng?
Trung tAm thanh ph6 LuAn £>6n c6 b'n khOng?
Lu•t sl,l' Quang c6 teSt kh6ng?
C6ng ty du l!ch c6 teSt kh6ng?
Ph6 Ba Tri•u c6 yin tinh kh6ng?
B~c si Liin c6 gia kh6ng?
Nha vAn Shakespeare c6 ncSi ti,ng kh6ng?

5 Translate these sentences into English:
ThO'I tl't khOng Am cung khOng l~nh.
Ong TuA'n khOng tre cung khOng gla.
B~n t61 khOng vul cung khOng bu6n.
Anh David khOng bl't tl,ng Ph~p cung khOng bl't tl,ng £Krc.
C6 Liin kh6ng thkh di xem phim cung kh6ng thkh di xem h~t

Unit 3 Is VIetnamese dlflicultl

33

Ong Trr khOng glau cling khOng ngh~o.
Ong Baker khOng thrch bla cling khOng thrch ca phi.
Kh,ch s~n 'Th'p RQa' khOng d't cling khOng ri
thO'I tl41t weather

fm warm

bla beer

6 Give Vietnamese equivalents:
Vietnamese is very difficult.
Hanoi is not big but beautiful.
The Bach Mai hospital is old.
My friend Mai is young and pretty.
Saigon is a modern city.
This book is neither interesting nor boring.
The Hotel Metropole is very expensive.
My father is old but healthy.
Mr Hung is a good journalist.
The S6ng HtSng publishing house is near the centre of Hanoi.
My friend lives in a small hotel called B6ng Sen.
The centre of the town is not very peaceful.

7 Find the opposites to these adjectives:

de

l~nh

ngh~o

t6t

l6'n

m6'1

ng'n
thfp

nhO

8 a Read and write the following numbers in Vietnamese:
7, 9, 10, 4, 2. 8, 5, 1
b Read and translate the following numbers:

mu'O'I, t,m, b6n, s,u, hal, chrn, bily, ba, nim, m~t
9 Hannah has picked up the following leaflets advertising hotel
accommodation. Help her with her choice: she is looking for a small
hotel, quiet, not far from the centre of town. Being a student, she wants
something reasonably cheap.

34

a

00~ ~ttQlrn® llil~

Nha kh,ch'QuA huang' Ia ml)t nha kh,ch nho. Phong
trong nha kh,ch nay nho nhung s~ch si. Nha kh,ch
kh6ng c6 nh' An riing. Nhi~u ngUO'i tre thkh ~day.

b

Khdch sq.n Metropole
15 Ph6 NgO Quy~n
-khach ~n lon v~ sang trQng, g~n Nh~ hat lon
-109 phong sang trQng voi Ti-vi, Video, may di~n tho~i

c

ri~ng

Khdch s9n Ddn chu
29 Ph6' Trimg Ti~n
-~ trung tam thanh ph6 g'n H6 Hoan Kh1m

Unit 3 Is VIetnamese dlflicultl

35

SUMMARY
Having reached the end of this unit, you should now be able to describe
objects and people and ask what they are like:
a
b
c
d

e
f
g
h
I

J
k
I
m
n
o
p
q

Xe d~p cua t6i cu.
Khach s~n nay c6 d't kh6ng? Kh6ng d't cling kh6ng re I'm.
Mua ve may bay d't l,m.
Bat phO' ga nay ngon I'm.
HQc titfng Vi•t kh6 I'm.
C6 Mal thtf nao? C6 'Y tre.
Thanh ph6 Hutf nhuthtf nao? Thanh ph6 Hutf c:r,p I'm.
Phlm nay c6 vul kh6ng?
Em gal t61 c:r,p va th6ng mlnh.
Quy'n sach nay chan qua.
E>i may bay nhanh.
M~a thu O'Vi•t Nam r't l~nh nhUng m~a he r't n6ng.
Lu•t su Quang c6 t6t kh6ng?
An CO'm blnh din re.
Trung tim Thanh ph6 H6 Chr Minh c6 yin tinh kh6ng?
86 t6i khoe.
E>Ay Ia quy'n ter dl'n teSt.

4
Chi c6 muon xem buc anh gia
dinh toi khong?
Do you want to see a photograph
of my family?
In this unit you will learn
How to talk about your family
How to use kinship terms
How to use question words diu? gl? al? bao IAu?
Use the question construction 'da ••• chua?'
How to use more numbers
How to use points of the compass

•

HC)i tholt'i hang ngay Everyday conversation
Mary and Hoa work together. Mary teaches English conversation at
the same school where Hoa is also a teacher. During their lunch break
they are having a chat.
Hoa
Mary

Chi l1Vi~t Nam baa lau r6i?
Nam thang r6i. Day Ia l~n d~u

Hoa

Qu~chj

"'

ti~n

tOi xa gia dlnh lau

nhuv~y.

cc:
.....
9

l1dau?
(Contd)

Unit 4 Do you want to see a photograph of my famllyl

37

Mary
Hoa

TOi ~ mi~n Nam mJ(1c Anh ~ th~nh ph6 bi~n Brighton.
Con chj Hoa, qu~ cua chj ~ dau?
TOi sinh ra t~i m¢t l~ng nh6 ~ mi~n B~c Vi~t Nam. Tinh
H~ B~c.

Mary
Hoa
Mary
Hoa
Mary
Hoa
Mary
Hoa
Mary
Hoa
Mary
Hoa
Mary
Hoa

A, th~ ~.
Gia dlnh chj c6 dOng khOng?
DOng ... Chj c6 mu6n xem bllt anh gia dlnh tOi khOng?
C6chll'!
Day I~ to~n th~ gia dlnh tOi- nhan djp sinh nh~t cua m~
tOi. Day I~ b6 m~ tOi, b~n c~nh I~ anh tOi v~ chj tOi.
Ngl1bi gi~ ng6i b~n c~nh chj Mary I~ ai?
A, d61~ Ong ngQai cua tOi. Ong 78 tu6i nhung bay gib
Ong da m!t.
Con b~ cua chj?
B~ cua tOi thl con s6ng. Chi Hoa c6 bao nhi~u anh
chj em?
TOi c6 m¢t em gai v~ m¢t em trai.
Th~ thl Hoa I~ con ca trong gia dlnh.
Dllng th~. Con Mary I~ con llt trong gia dlnh ~?
Con llt nghia I~ gl?
Con llt nghia I~ con nh6 nh!t trong gia dlnh.

bao IAu how long?
l'n (d'u tlin) time, turn (first time)
qui home, birthplace, native land, village
Ia ng village
bi~nsea

a c6 chll' yes, ofcourse
>
tS

5

bll'c ilnh photograph
toan th~ all, whole, total
nhAn djp on the occasion
sinh nh•t birthday
b6 father
m,mother
b6 m,parents
anh older brother

chi older sister
bin qmh next to, by
ngo~l on the mother's side
Ong ngo~l grandfather on the mother's side
m't to die
ba grandmother
con co\ the oldest child in the family, first-born child
ctCmg correct, right
con child, baby
con Ot the last-born child
nghia (nghia Ia gl?) meaning (what does it mean?)

Activities
1 Comprehension:
a How long has Mary been in Vietnam?
b Where is she from?
c Where was Hoa born?
d Is Mary's grandfather still alive? And what about her
grandmother?
e Is Mary the oldest or the youngest child in the family?
f How many brothers and sisters does Hoa have?
2 True or false?
a Mary O'VI•t Nam b6n thang r61.
b £)iy khOng phi\! Ia l~n ct~u tlin Mary xa gia d'lnh liu
nhu'v.y.
c Thanh ph6 Brighton Ia m~t thanh ph6 bl41n.
d Mary c6 m~t anh va hal chi.
e Chi Hoa sinh 6' m~t lang nhO 6' ml•n Nam Vl•t Nam.
f Gla d'lnh cua Mary khOng l6'n.
g Chi Hoa mu6n xem i\nh gla d'lnh cua Mary.
h Chi Hoa Ia con co\.
Chi Mary khOng phi\! Ia con co\ trong gla d'lnh, Mary
Ia con Ot

Unit 4 Do you want to see a photograph of my famllyl

39

The traditional Vietnamese family

The ties within a Vietnamese family are traditionally very close.
A Vietnamese family usually includes extended family members.
Confucianism strongly determines the place and role of each member
of the family. Filial piety and the cult of ancestors are the two most
important principles ruling the Vietnamese family. Despite many
changes that have led to the loosening of traditional family structures,
the family clan with all its rules and traditions still represents a major
element in the life of every Vietnamese.
As a contrast to English, in Vietnamese the terms describing family
relationships differentiate between older and younger siblings and
between relatives on the father's and the mother's side.
anh (tral) older brother
ch! (g&1il) older sister
em trai younger brother
em g&1il younger sister
b6, cha father
m,mother
Ong grandfather
ba grandmother
Ong n(li grandfather (father's side)
Ong ngo~i grandfather (mother's side)
ch6ng husband

Vf!Wife
b&1ic, chCI, c•u uncle
cO, ell aunt
ch&1iu grandchild
anh r~, em r~ brother-in-law
con r~ son-in-law
ch! dAu, em dAu sister-in-law
con dAu daughter-in-law

40

Notes

Age
Stating age in Vietnamese is done by using the word tucSi (years of age).
For example:

M' tO I 63 tucSi.
Anh

bao nhiiu

you-older brother how many

tucSi?

My mother is 63 years old.
How old are you?

years of age

....................................................................................................

Insight

Don't be surprised if many Vietnamese whom you have only just
met start inundating you with personal questions about your age,
marital status etc. This is not a sign of tactlessness on their part but
a necessity dictated by the nature of Vietnamese language: they
need to get an idea about your age, marital status etc. to determine
how to address you.

ln·a~!~:~~~=~·:~·:::~:~~~.:·:~~-~~:·~~:~·::::~·:~~:·····················1
tucSi (years of age); you cannot use the word nAm (year) in this
context.

....................................................................................................
Nha Spouse
In colloquial Vietnamese, nha is often used to mean spouse. Its use is
limited to situations when one partner from a married couple refers to
the other partner. For example:

Nha tOI tin Ia Mal.
Nha tOI Ia b'c si.

My wife is called Mai.
My husband/wife is a doctor.

Unit 4 Do you want to see a photograph of my famllyl

41

Insight
The word nha has several additional meanings, one of the most
frequently used meanings is a house. Only context will help
you determine which of the many meanings of nha is used in a
particular sentence.

Phrases referring to couples
Take care when translating the following:
a hal Vf1 ch6ng (m(lt Vf1 + m(lt ch6ng); husband and wife, Mr and Mrs
b hal Vf1 ch6ng tOI my husband and //my wife and I
c hal Vf1 ch6ng Ong Baker Mr and Mrs Baker
d hal Vf1 ch6ng anh Hang Mr Hung and his wife
e hal Vf1 ch6ng chj Mal Mrs Mai and her husband
f anh em (m(lt anh + m(lt em)
(hal anh em tOI = my older brother and Vmy younger brother and I)
g hal m, con (m(lt m, + m(lt con)
(hal m, con tO I my mother and //my child and I
hal m, con ba Mal Mrs Mai and her child)
(The numeral indicates the number of persons; what follows specifies
these persons and the family relationship between them.)

Points of the compass
b'c
nam

north
south

dOng
tiy

east
west

When stating a direction which lies between two main points on the
compass (e.g. southeast, northwest), Vietnamese lists the main directions
in reverse order.

crong-nam
(east-south) southeast

tiy-b'c
(west-north) northwest

Vietnam is geographically divided into three parts- North Vietnam,
Central Vietnam and South Vietnam. These are referred to in
Vietnamese in several ways, e.g. using the word mi~n area, region:
mi~n B'c (North Vietnam), mi~n Trung (Central Vietnam), mi~n Nam

42

(South Vietnam). Other terms used to denote the three parts ofVietnam
are B'c B(l (North Vietnam), Trung B(l (Central Vietnam) and Nam B(l
(South Vietnam).

Grammatical points
1 (e1) diu? (where?); gl? (what?); ai? (who?); bao liu?
(how long?); nao? (which?)

The above question words are used when identifying someone,
something, some place or some time.
In a question, they occupy the same position as the words specifically
replying to them in the answer.

Where do you live?
/live in Hanoi.

Anh O'diu?
T61 6' Ha N(li.

NgUO'i gia kla Ia al?
Who is that old man?
NgUO'I gla kla Ia 6ng HCmg. That old man is Mr Hung.
ChjO'VItt Nam bao liu?
T61 O'VItt Nam ba th,ng.

How long have you been living in Vietnam?
I have been in Vietnam three months.

Chj mu6n gl?
T61 mu6n g~p 6ng Baker.

What do you want?
I want to meet Mr Baker.

Anh thkh c" nha nao?
T61 thkh c" nha nay.

Which house do you like?
/like this house.

.0 TR 5, 1.32

2 More numbers

In the previous unit, we learnt numbers from 1 to 10. As you can see from
the following table, numbers higher than 10 are formed by a combination
of two numbers: e.g. number 11 is formed by combining number 10 with
Unit 4 Do you want to see a photograph of my famllyl

43

number 1, 12 is 10 plus 2, etc. In the same way numbers 20, 30, 40, etc. are
created. (20 is a combination of number 2 and 10, 30 is 3 and 10 etc.).
11
12
13
14
15
16
17
18
19
20
30
40
50
60
70

Bo
90
100
21
22
31
32
100
200
500
1,000
2,000

mUO'I mOt
mUO'I hal
mUO'I ba
mUO'I b6n
mUO'IIim
mUO'I sau
mUO'I biy
mUO'I tam
mUO'I chrn
hal mUO'I
ba mUO'I
b6n mUO'I
nim mUO'I
sau mual
biy mUO'I
tam mual
chrn mual
mOttrim
hal mUO'I m6t
hal mUO'I hal
ba mUO'I m6t
ba mUO'I hal
(mOt) trim
hal trim
nim trim
(mOt) nghln/(m0t) ngan
hal nghln/hal ngan

Pay attention to the following irregularities:
1 Notice the change from nim to lim. Nim changes into lim after mUO'I
or mUO'I (nim means 5 or a year in Vietnamese.) MUO'I nim means 10 years
(instead of15 as we would expect) and therefore 15 must be mUO'IIim.
2 Although 10 in Vietnamese is mUO'I, in numbers from 20 upwards
this changes to mUO'I (the tone changes from dfu huy~n into kh6ng

44

d'u), or to put it in another way, mUO'I after another number becomes
mUO'I.

3 m(lt in numbers from

21

upwards becomes m6t (e.g. 11- biy mUO'I

m6t, 91- chrn mUO'I m6t)

4 Zero between other numbers is read as llnh or le e.g. 108 = m(lt trim
llnh t~m. 207 = hal trim le biy, etc.
5 As an alternative for number b6n (4), tu is often used in higher
numbers (hal mUO'I tu, b6n mUO'I tu, etc.)
In colloquial Vietnamese you also often hear the following expressions:
him= hal mUO'I20
bAm = ba mUO'I3o

ch1,1c 70
v~m 1o,ooo

hal Chi,IC20
hal v~m 2o,ooo

lr15"f9iit························································································
Some of the exceptions in the system of numerals may cause you
problems. Make sure you remember that number five (nim)
becomes lim when it is preceeded by another number (i.e. in
combinations such as fifty, twenty-five etc.) and mUO'i turns into
mUO'I when it is preceeded by another number (ba mUO'I thirty).
3

£>a ... chua? Haveyoudonesomethingyet?

In unit 3, we learnt a regular question construction. In this unit's
conversation, we find another question containing era ... chu'a? This type
of question expresses the meaning Have you done something yet?
Anh (da) l•p gla Cllnh chua?

Are you already married?

mt. Have you formed a family yet?)

This question requires a different reply. An affirmative reply uses
r61 already, instead of normal vAng yes, and the whole reply can be
emphasized by an additional r61 at the very end of the sentence:
R61

t61 (da) l•p gla Cllnh r61.

Yes

I am already married.
Unit 4 Do you want to see a photograph of my famllyl

45

A negative answer to this type of question uses chua not yet, which is
positioned before the verb it relates to. The initial no, not, where we
would normally use khOng no, not, is in these types of question replaced
by chua (suggesting that there is a possibility of the action concerned
taking place in the future).
For example:
Chua,

t61 chua l•p

gla

d'lnh.

(Not yet) (I) (not yet)
I am not married yet.

(form)

(family)

Chua,

g~p

6ng HCmg.

t61 chua

(Not yet) (I) (not yet) (meet)
I have not met Mr Hung yet.

(MrHung)

[ ·····i;;~~~~::·=~~-~-~~:~~:~·::~~-:~·=~-~~-~~~:::·:~::::~·············

should not be kh6ng but chua .
.....................................................................................................
H~i

tho' I 2 Conversation 2

Mark and Nam are discussing their families.
Nam
Mark
Nam
Mark
Nam
Mark
Nam

B;

Anh Mark, anh l~p gia dlnh chua?
Chua, tOi chua l~p gia din h. TOi c6 ngUbi y~u nhung
ch~ng tOi chua cU&i. Con anh Nam?
TOi c6 vq r6i. NM tOi t~n I~ PhUang. C6 le ng Ubi Vi~t Na m
la'y vq s&m han ngUbi chau Au.
Nam nay anh bao nhi~u tu6i?
Hai muai ba. Vq tOi tre han tOi.
Anh c6 con chua?
TOi c6 hai con- m¢t con gai v~ m¢t con trai. Con gai tOi
t~n I~ Mai con con trai tOi t~n I~ Quang.

l•p gia d'lnh to form a family, to get married
ngUO'i yiu girlfriend/boyfriend
cU6'1 to wed

vqwife
nha (here) spouse
c6 li perhaps, maybe
s6'm early (earlier)

tre hO'n younger
con gal daughter
con trai son

Exercises
1 Answer the following questions, using the expressions suggested in
the brackets.
a Ong E>lmg O'diu? (Hal Phong)
b Anh David hQc gl? (tl~ngVI.t)
c Bac si Hung lam vi•c 6' diu? (E>a N~ng)
d Kim dQc gl? (bao 'Ha N~i M6'11
e BaLan sinh O'diu? (lang)
f Anh Peter hQc ti~ng Vi•t bao liu? (mu'O'I thang)
g Chi Liin u6ng gl? (ca phi)
h Khach s~n BO' H6 6' diu? (trung tim Thanh ph6 H6
chrMinh)
I Nha bao Quang tlm ai? (lu•t su' Dung)
J Nha xuA't ban 6' diu? (g'n H6 Hoan Ki~m)
k Anh Richard 6' Hu~ bao liu? (ba thang)
I Chj Mal di diu? (dl hQc)
m B•nh vi•n 6' diu? (g'n khach s~n)
2 Translate into Vietnamese:
a How old are you? I am 26.
b Where do you live? /live in the Hotel Ba H6.
c Where is the hotel? It is in the centre of Hanoi.
d Who is this? This is Doctor Hung.
e /s Peter married? No, he is still single.
f My parents live in North Vietnam but my older sister lives in
South Vietnam.

Unit 4 Do you want to see a photograph of my famllyl

47

3 Give Vietnamese equivalents:
a Have you met Miss Lan? No, not yet.
b Have you visited Central Vietnam? Yes, I have already visited
Central Vietnam but I have not yet visited South Vietnam.
c Have you seen a photograph of my family? Yes, I have.
d Have you ever been far from your family?
e Are you married yet? Not yet.
4 Ask questions, using the following example:
Anh David (dl xrch 10)
Anh David da dl xrch 10 (bao giO') chua?
a Ong HC.ng (dl thAm chAu Au)

b cO Mal (g~p nha vAn TrO
c em Llin (vl~t thu' cho b6 m,)

d ch! Helen (hQc tl~ng Vl.t)
e die b~n (che11 b6ng ban)
f anh David (u6ng ca phi Vl•t Nam)
xkh 10
chAu Au
chO'I
b6ng ban

cyclo, pedicab, rickshaw
Europe
to play
table tennis

5 State that the person has never done the suggested activity. For example:
Ch! Mal dl thAm chAu Au.
Ch! Mal chua dl thAm chAu Au.
86 m, tO I g~p th'y glao Tu,n.
Anh tOI chCta xe d~p.
CO Llin l'y ch6ng.
ChOng tOI xem phlm Vl•t Nam.
David hQc bal nay.
f M' tOI thAm ml~n Nam Vl•t Nam.
g 86 tOI n61 chuy•n v611u•t su' Quang.

a
b
c
d
e

chCta repair

6 Give English equivalents for the following dialogue:
a QuA anh & diu?
b QuA tOI & Hil Phong.
c Hil Phong & diu?
d Hi\ I Phong & ml~n B'c Vl•t Nam.
7 Translate into Vietnamese:
a Where do you live?
I /live in London, the capital of England.
II What is London like?
Ill London is very big but beautiful.
b Where were you born?
I In Hanoi.
II How old are you?
Ill I am 36 years old.
c What does Martin do?
I He is a student, he studies Vietnamese.
II How long has he been studying Vietnamese?
Ill Six months.
d How many brothers and sisters have you got?
I I have one younger brother and one older brother.
II /s your older brother married?
Ill No, he is divorced.

ly hOn, ly dj divorce

ngUO'IIy dj vQ'/ch6ng divorcee

8 a Write down the following numbers in Vietnamese:
56, 87, 21, 106, 65, 1996, 40, 88, 94, 104, 55, 608, 31, 17, 2735,
410, 91,10

b Read and translate the following numbers:

hal mUO'IIAm, chrn muo1 hal, nAm trAm, t'm trAm llnh ba, mUO'I
t,m, b6n mUO'I m6t, nAm trAm llnh nAm, ~m muo11Am, s'u
mUO'I, mUO'I ba, mOt trAm, bi\y mUO'I bi\y, ba mUO'I tu, nAm mUO'I
lAm, mUO'I chrn, b6n trAm le chrn, b6n nghln, s'u mual m6t,
mUO'I mOt. bi\y nghln ba trAm s'u muo11Am, nAm trAm llnh s,u,

Unit 4 Do you want to see a photograph of my famllyl

49

9 Practise your times tables in Vietnamese.
For example:
a Hall'n mOt Ia hal.
Two times one is two.
b Hall'n hal Ia b6n.
c Ba l'n bily Ia hal mu'O'I m6t.
10 Translate into Vietnamese:
Hoa lives in Hue but her birthplace is HaiPhOng. HaiPhOng is
in North Vietnam. Hue is in Central Vietnam. Hoa is young and
beautiful. She has one younger brother named and one younger
sister named Mai.
is a journalist and Mai is a student.
is
already married; his wife is a nurse. They have one son. He is three
years old.

va

va

va

11 Using a family photograph describe all the members of your family
to a friend.
12 Have a look at the map ofVietnam that you see here and say in
which part ofVietnam the named places are. Note also the correct
Vietnamese spelling of geographical locations.

d6ng bling delta

a

a

For example: Hue c1du? Hue mi~n Trung Vi~t Nam.

Unit 4 Do you want to see a photograph of my family?

51

Reading
Read the following text carefully and answer the questions.
Ong Binh Ia chong cua ba Hlldng. HQ song
l1 mien B~c Vi~t Nam. HQ co 2 nguoi con:
m9t con trai ten Ia Tuan va m9t con gai ten
Ia Mai. Nim nay Tuan 19 tuoi va Mai 23 tuoi.
Tuan chua co gia dinh nhllng Mai co gia
dinh roi. Chong cua Mai ten Ia Chung. Mai
va Chung chua co con.

Co Loan Ia thu kj. Nim nay co ay 19 tuoi.
Co ay con d9c than va con song vOi bo m~.
Co lam vi~c l1 m9t cong ty thudng m.,i l1 Ha
NQi. Co thuang phai di mien Nam Vi~t Nam.

Emanuelle Ia nglloi Phap. Chj ay dang hqc
tieng Vi~t l1 Ha NQi. Nim nay Emanuelle 24
tuoi. Emanuelle chua co gia din h. Bo m~ cua
Emanuelle song l1 Pa-ri, thu do nlloc Phap.
Bo con lam vi~c nhllng m~ cua Emanuelle
ve huu roi.

d9c than single

thlldng m.,i trade, commerce

Can you find answers to these questions?
a Ong Binh co gia dinh chua?
b Chi Emanuelle da lay chong chua?
c Co Loan song voi bo m~ phai khong?
d Ba Hlldng Ia ai?
e Ong ba Binh co may dua con?

52

ve hllu retire

f Chung Ia al?
g CO Loan lam vltc O'dAu?
h 86 m, cua Emanuelle con lam vltc, phil khOng?
I Mal c6 con chua?
j Loan thUO'ng phii di diu?

Unit 4 Do you want to see a photograph of my famllyl

53

SUMMARY
Once again you have reached the end of the unit and it is time to test
your knowledge.
1 Which of the following numbers indicates the number of days in a
year?
a Ba trim sau mu'O'I tam
b Ba trim sau mu'O'I lim
c Ba trim b6n mu'O'I lim
2 Identify the following numbers:
a MOt nghln chrn trim tam mu'O'I biy
b Ba trim llnh sau
c Chrn mu'o'illm
d B6n ngim hal trim ba mu'O'I m6t
e Nlm trim li nlm
f Mu'O'I biy nghln
g Nlm trim nlm mu'O'I lim
3 How would you ask your colleague where he was born?
a Anh sinh nlm nao?
b Anh sinh O'dAu?
c Sinh nh•t b~n vao ngay nao?
4 Your roommate aks you: 'Anh da thlm mi~n Nam Vi•t Nam
chua?' Does he want to know
a if you have travelled to Central Vietnam?
b which part of VIetnam you like most?
c if you have ever visited South Vietnam?
5 Your Vietnamese boss asks you: 'Anh s6ng 6' £)0ng Nam A bao
IAu?' Does he want to know
a if you have ever travelled around Southeast Asia.
b when did you arrive in Southeast Asia.
c how long have you been living in Southeast Asia.

Final checklist

Here is a summary of some useful questions you can use to enquire
about your friends and their family:
Tin anh/chj Ia gl? What is your name?
Anh/chj Ia ngu'O'i nu'6'c nao? Where are you from (which country
are you from)?
Nim nay anh/chj bao nhiiu tu6i? How old are you this year?
Anh/chl c6 mAy anh chj em? How many brothers and sisters
do you have?
Anh/chjl•p gla dlnh chua? Do you have a family yet?
Anh/chj s6ng diu? Where do you live?
Anh/chjlam nghi gl? What do you do?
Anh/chj lam vi•c ~diu? Where do you work?

a

1 b 2 (a) 1987 (b) 306 (c) 95 (d) 4231 (e) 505 (f) 17 000 (g) 555
3 (b) 4 (a) 5 (c)

Unit 4 Do you want to see a photograph of my famllyl

5
Ngay mai Ia thu may?
What day is it tomorrow?
In this unit you will learn
How to say the days of the week and months of the year
How to form ordinal numbers
How to use demonstrative pronouns
How to form the comparative and superlative degree of
adjectives

HQi tho~i hang ngay Everyday conversation
Richard wants to invite Dung to the cinema. Finding a suitable time is
proving rather difficult.
Richard
Dung

Richard
Dung

Richard
Dung

Ng~y mai anh c6 r6i khOng?
Sao anh hoi v~y?
TOi djnh mbi anh di xem phim vai tOi.
Th~ ~. Ng~y mai I~ thcr mgy?
Thcrnam.
Thcr nam ~? £>~ tOi nghi xem sang mai tOi phai di chq
mua thl,(c phgm, vi~t thlt cho gia dlnh tOi, bu6i chi~u tOi
phai l~n lap ti~ng Anh v~ sau d6 tOi c~n ch11a xe d~p.
Con bu6i t6i tOi phai di thLtvi~n. TOi rgt thlch di xem
phim vai anh nhltng hlnh nhlt ng~y mai tOi b~n l~m!

.
: Richard
.
: Dung
: Richard

Thet ti~c qu~! Anh lam vi~c nhi~u qu~! Anh n~n nghT.
Con ngay kia? Anh c6 ben gl khOng?
Thl1 b~y, chi~u th11 b~y tOi thllong chai b6ng d~
nhllng bu6i t6i, tOi r6i.
T6t qu~! Th~ thl chdng ta se di xem phim t6i th11 b~y.

ngay mai tomorrow
roi spare time, free
(t\'1) sao why?
v•y (like) so
djnh to decide
mO'I to invite
Thi a. Is that so? Really?
Ngay mai Ia thl1 m'y? What day (in a week) is it tomorrow?
di xem phim to go to the cinema
thl1 sau Friday
d~ t6i nghi xem let me (think and) see
chQ'market
mua to buy
thl,l'c ph'm food
l~n l6'p go to school
chua to repair
xe d\'P bicycle
(bucSI) t61 evening
thll vi•n library
hlnh nhll it looks like
b•n busy
tii'c qua what a pity!
nin should, ought to
nghi to have a rest
ngay kla the day after tomorrow
thl1 biy Saturday
(bucSI) chl~u afternoon
chO'I to play
b6ng da football

Unit 5 What day Is It tomorrow?

57

Activity
1 True or false?
a Richard mu6n mO'i anh Nam di xem phim.
b S&1ing thll' nlm anh Dung phil vhft thu' cho gla Cllnh.
c Chi~u thll' bily anh phil lin 16'p hQc thfng Anh.
d Thll' nlm anh Dung roi.
e S&1ing thll' bily anh b•n I'm.
f Anh Dung khOng thrch chai b6ng d&1i.

Notes
VIetnamese calendar

Vietnam uses a solar calendar (du'O'ng l!ch) for official purposes but
religious activities and celebrations are governed by the lunar calendar
(Am l!ch) formed by a 6o-year cycle divided into five 12-year groups.
Each year is associated with an animal. (The names of the animals are
traditionally referred to using a Sino-Vietnamese expression.) The table
on the following page lists one 12-year cycle and the Sino-Vietnamese
terms together with their Vietnamese and English equivalents.
The New Year festival

The Vietnamese have many festivals and celebrations but without
doubt the biggest one is the New Year festival (Tift nguyin d&1in). The
Vietnamese celebrate the New Year according to the lunar calendar.
Tift nguyin d&1in is an opportunity for the whole family to meet together.
It is a festival that marks the beginning of the spring and it is filled with
hopes and expectations that the new year will be happier and better than
the previous one. Tift nguyin d&1in is rich in customs and traditions
and many special dishes are prepared. Firecrackers (ph&1io) are set off to
welcome in the new year.
Vietnamese folk prints are used to decorate houses on the occasion of
Tift. These are £)0ng HcS prints made in a village of the same name.

Sino-Vietnamese

Vietnamese

ty

chu~t

situ
cMn
mio
thln

triu

h&
meo
r6ng

ty

~'in

ng9
mui
than

ngl:fa
eli
khl

~u

ga

~t

ch6
l.;m

hl1!

mouse, rat
ox
tiger
cat
dragon
snake
horse
goat
monkey
rooster
dog
pig

The year 2010 is known as Canh ~n In Vietnamese.

Vletnamesefolk prints.

Grammatical points
1 Ordinal numbers

Ordinal numbers are formed from cardinal numbers by adding the
ordinal designator tha This element precedes the cardinal numbet:

Unit 5 What day Is It tomorrow?

59

thl:i'
thl:i'
thl:i'
thl:i'
thll'
thll'
thll'
thll'
thll'
thl:i'

nh't
hal*
ba
tU**
nAm
sau
bi\y
tam
chrn
mUO'I

first
second
third
fourth
fifth
sixth
seventh
eighth
ninth
tenth

thl:i'
thl:i'
thl:i'
thl:i'
thll'
thll'
thll'

mUO'I m(lt
mUO'I hal
mUO'IIAm
hal mUO'I
b6n mUO'I
m(lttrAm
m(lt trAm sau
mUO'I ba

eleventh
twelfth
fifteenth
twentieth
fortieth
hundredth
163rd

* thll' nhl is sometimes used instead ofthll' hal (second)
** -note that tu rather than b6n is used in ordinal number fourth
(thll'tU)

·····i;;~~9~!:~::::::~:~·;~-~~~~~-:~~-=~-~~~::~::~:~-~~:~··············
[ ....................................................................................................
2 Parts of a day
Parts of a day make use of the word bucS I time, session, thus bucSI
t61 evening.The main distinction between the daytime and night-time
is expressed in Vietnamese by ban ngay (daytime) and ban dim
(night-time).

bucSI time, session
t61

sang

trua

chl~u

morning

lunch

afternoon

evening

dim, khuya
night, late night

o@TR6,0.57

3 Days of the week
a In Vietnamese, the terms denoting the days of the week are, with the
exception of Sunday, ordinal numbers. Their week starts from Sunday,
and therefore Monday is the second day in the week, Thesday the third
day, Wednesday the fourth day, etc.

6o

Sunday
Monday
Tuesday
Wednesday

chu nh•t
thll'hal
thll'ba
thll'tU

thll'nAm
thll's'u
thll'biy

Thursday
Friday
Saturday

The expression for Sunday (chu nh.t) means the Master's Day.
b The following question is used to ask What day is it today? (What day
in a week is it today?)

Ia
(to be)

(ngay)
(day)

HOm nay Ia
(today)
(to be)
Today is Tuesday.

(ngay)
(day)

HOm nay
(today)

Ngay mal Ia thll' m'y?
Ngay mal Ia chu nh.t.
hOm nay
hOm qua
ngaymal
hOm kla
ngay kla

thll'
m'y?
(ordinal
(how many)
designator)
thll' ba.
(Tuesday)

What day is it tomorrow?
Tomorrow is Sunday.
today
yesterday
tomorrow
the day before yesterday
the day after tomorrow

On Monday, on Wednesday in Vietnamese use the preposition vao: vao
thll' hal, vao thll' tu, etc.

4 Demonstratives nd,Yt dy, kia
Demonstratives nay this, 'y that and kla that one over there are placed
after a noun.
For example:

kh,ch s~n nay
kh,chs~n 'y
kh,ch s~n kla

this hotel
that hotel
that hotel over there

Unit 5 What day Is It tomorrowl

61

The difference between 'Y and kia: 'Y is used to refer to something that
is far from the speaker but near to the person being spoken to; kia refers
to something or somebody located far away from both the speaker and
the person being spoken to.
The correct word order, if the noun is already modified by an adjective,
is as follows:
noun

adjective

kh,ch S\'n
kh,ch S\'n
kh,ch S\'n

demonstrative

nay this nice hotel
that nice hotel
that nice hotel (over there)

'ykia

It is important to distinguish between kh,ch S\'n ct,p nay this nice hotel
and Kh,ch S\'n nay cr,p This hotel is nice.

····y.;s-f9iii···················································································
Students ofVietnamese have often problems with the correct word
order, especially when a word is modified by several grammatical
words. Remember that adjective comes immediately after a noun
and only then comes a demonstrative, for example cO g" cr,p nay

(this beautiful girl).

To express that something or somebody is equal to something or
somebody else, the Vietnamese use the word bllng be equal:

Helen tri bllng Peter.
M, tOi gia bling b6 tOi.

Helen is as young as Peter.
My mother is as old as my father.

6 Adjectives- comparative and superlative
1 comparative: han more than
Han is used in Vietnamese to form the comparative. Its position (after
the adjective) is illustrated in the following examples:

62

Helen

tre

h<1n

Peter.

(Helen)
(to be young) (more than)
Helen is younger than Peter.

Peter.

Ha N9i

SaiGon.

nho

h<1n

(Hanoi)
(to be small)
(more than)
Hanoi is smaller than Saigon.

(Saigon)

2 superlative: nhat

The superlative is formed using nhat. The position of nhat (after the
adjective) is illustrated in the following examples:

an nhat b Vitt Nam.

sai Gon Ia m9t thanh pho I

Saigon is the largest city in Vietnam.

Helen tre nhat trong lap hQc.
Helen is the youngest in the class.

HQi tho,i 2 Conversation 2
David and Thao are making plans for the weekend.
Thao
David

Thao
David
Thao

David

TrOi hom nay n6ng l~m! Anh c6 thfch di chdi dau khong?
C6, toi rat thfch di ch<1i. Toi biet roil Ngay mai Ia thli bay
con ngay kia Ia chu nh~t-nghia Ia hai ngay nghf. Chung
ta co the di ra bien.
Tot l~m. Chung ta di vjnh H~ Long dil
Baogiodi?
Chung ta di sang mai.
Chieu mai chung ta c6
the ~m bien dll~C roil
Con toi mai chung ta di
d~o d9c bo bien. Toi
nghe n6i H~ Long c6
nhieu hitu an ngon!

0

...""!

"'
•
lliC
....

(Contd)

Unit 5 What day Is It tomorrow?

63

.
: Thio
.
...: David

Sang chu nMt chang ta c6 th~ thu~ thuy~n va di tham
quan vjnh Hi;~ Long .
0, tOi qu~n m!t! T6i chu nMt tOi ph~i di san bay d6n
anh bi;ln tOi. Bao gib chllng ta tr~ v~ Ha N¢i?
Th~ thl chi~u chu nh~t ch(ing ta tr~v~.

: Thio

trO'IIiterally, sky (here: the weather)

n6ngwarm
nghia Ia it means ...
ngay nghi holiday
c6 th4 can, be able to
bl4n (ra bl4n) sea (go [out] to the sea)
vjnh (vjnh H~ Long) bay (H~ Long bay)
bao giO'? when?
., t'm (c6 th4 t'm du'Q'c) bath, bathe (to be able to bathe)
~ dl d~o go for a walk
IS dQc along
j nghe n61 they say
hl•u An restaurant
ngon tasty
thui to rent

••

thuy~n

boat

tham quan to go on a trip, excursion
quin mAt forget
sin bay airport
d6n welcome, meet
trO' v~ to return

Exercises
1 Answer the following questions, using today as your starting point.
HOm nay Ia ngay tha mAy?
Ngay mal Ia tha mAy?
HOm kia Ia thl1 mAy?
HOm qua Ia thl1 mAy?
Anh sinh ngay thl1 mAy?

2 Translate into English:
HOm nay tOI mu6n dl cho'l.
BucSI s'ng tOI thrch u6ng ca phi.
Ngay kla anh Quang phil dl sAn bay.
BucSI t61 ba Phu'O'ng thkh xem vO tuy~n hay nghe ra-dl-0.
Ngay mal tOI phil chila xe d~p.
HOm nay Ia chu nh.t, tO I khOng phil d•y s6'm.
T61 qua cO Blnh dl thu' vl.n.
vo tuy~n truyin hlnh

television nghe listen to, hear

3 Using the clues provided, ask what somebody does at a certain time
and then reply following the example:
t61 chu nh•t (6' nha)
T61 chu nh•t anh thu'O'ng lam gl? (6' nha)
T61 chu nh•t tO I thu'O'ng 6' nha.
a
b
c
d
e

f
g
h
I

cO Hoa/thll' biy (khOng dl lam vl.c)
em g'l tOI/bucSI s'ng (t•p th41 d1,1c)
tOI/thll' hal (hQc tl~ng An h)
anh Nam/chliu thll's'u (chO'I b6ng d')
cO Mal/chU nh•t (dl thAm m(lt ngu'O'I b~n dmg lam vl.c)
tOI/khuya (dQc s'ch)
b'c si HCmg/s,ng thll' hal (phil d•y s6'm)
lu•t su'Tu,n/chliu thll' tu' (dl hQp)
tOI va anh b~n t01/t61 thll' biy (dl hl•u An)

t•p th41 d1,1c do physical exercises
b6ng d' football
hQp meeting
m(lt ngu'O'I b~n dmg lam vl•c colleague
hl•u An restaurant

4 Can you provide an English translation of these sentences?
SOng Cll'u Long dal hO'n sOng H6ng.
M' tO I gla hO'n b6 tO I.
ChQ'E>6ng XuAn nho hO'n chQ' B~n Thanh.
Thanh ph6 Hu~ nho hO'n Ha N(ll.
Ch! lan tre nh't trong 16'p hQC nay.
Unit 5 What day Is It tomorrow?

65

Hltu An Qui Huang ngon b'ng hltu An BOng Sen.
Xe d~p Trung Qu6c teSt han xe d~p Vltt Nam.
Thanh ph6 H6 Chr Minh l6'n nh't & ml~n Nam Vltt Nam.
£)1 xem phlm hay han cho1 b6ng ban.
Tl~ng Vltt kh6 b'ng tl~ng Nh•t
Alia ngUO'I tre nh't trong gla dlnh anh?
May bay nhanh han tau hoa.
HOm nay ch! Nguytt vul han hOm qua.
Khach s~n Metro pole sang trQng nh't & Ha N~l.
NU6'c Anh nhO han nu6'c Phap.

5 Give Vietnamese equivalents:
a What are you doing tonight?
I am going to the cinema.
And tomorrow night?
I have to go to the airport to meet a friend.
b Are you free in the afternoon?
No, I have to go to the library.
And in the evening?
In the evening I am free.
c I want to meet Mr Smith. Is he free tomorrow morning?
Tomorrow morning he is busy but in the afternoon he is free.
d What is the largest city in Vietnam?
Saigon or, more correctly, Ho Chi Minh City.
And what about Hue?
Hue is smaller than Saigon and also smaller than Hanoi.
(d(mg = correct, right)
6 Imagine that you are Mr Hung's secretary. Consult his diary and then
answer the following questions.

thll' hal

thll' ba

thll'tU

thll'nAm

g~p 6ng
Baker

d•ys6'm
d' dl sAn
bayd6n
kh,ch

vitft billi
b'o cho
b'o'Kinh
ttfVi.t
Nam'
thAm b'c si
Thao
19.00-dl
xem h't

gQi di•n
th0\'1 dl
LuAn£>6n

cu~c

14-00 -

hQp

b•nhvi•n

thll's'u

thll' bay

chu nh•t

ra Hutf
g~p nha b'o
£>1l'c d'
thaolu•n
bal b'ocho
b'o'Kinh
ttfVI.t Nam'

mua b'n ~ chQ'
18.00hi.uAn
B6ng Sen
(An t61)
v61 b\'n)

nghi
14.00chO'i
ten-nrt

thao lu•n discuss
a
b
c
d
e

An trua v6'i
lu.tsUDung

klnh ttf economy

S'ng thll' hal 6ng c6 rol kh6ng?
Anh dl thAm b'c si vao ngay nao? Vao lllc nao?
Tu'n nay 6ng si gQI c:h•n tho\' I dl LuAn £>6n phal kh6ng?
Chi~u thll' s'u 6ng H~ng si lam gl?
Bao giO' H~ng si chO'i ten-nrt?

7 Compare the following objects and people, using the example.
s6ng Clhl Long/sling H6ng/r~ng.
S6ng Clhl Long r~ng hO'n s6ng H6ng.

a
b
c
d
e
f

thanh ph6 Ha N~l
hQC tltfng Ph'p
m,t61
bal dQc h6m nay
trung tAm Ha N~i
di nha h't

Thanh ph6 H6 chr Minh
hQC tltfng Vl.t
b6t61
bal dQc h6m qua
trung tAm Hutf
di r\'P chitfu b6ng