20 Sep 2013, 4:07pm
Vietnamese language:


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  • Comparison related to animals

    One of the interesting features of Vietnamese language is a change of semantics; same word can have different meanings, figurative senses or be synonymous or antonymous, and so on. Furthermore, there are a lot of interesting comparisons and metaphors in Vietnamese by using animals to insinuate what speakers want to say.

    For examples: “lừa, cò, bò, heo, cáy, chó, mèo, cua, trâu, cọp, and so forth…

    Take “lừa” as an example: the word has two original meanings: a) a mammal, its scientific name is Equus asinus, belong to Equidae or horse family,  and b) both noun and verbs means lừa lọc (cheat), lừa đảo (fraud), lừa gạt, deception, lừa phỉnh, đánh lừa, etc. (all have bad implications, not transparent).

    If they say “đồ con lừa!”, it means they want to imply that someone is so stupid.


    Ốm như đói (thin like a stork)

    Anh ta là một gã nhà (the “cò” here has no connection with a stork, it means he is a real estate broker)

    Ngu như (stupid like a cow)

    Em bé bảy tháng đã biết (the word “bò” has no connection with a cow, it means the baby can crawl at 7 months of age)

    Mập như heo (fat like a pig), ăn như heo (eat like a pig)

    Gió heo may (the word “heo” has no connection with any pig, it indicates a slightly cold and dry wind blowing in Autumn)

    Nhát như cáy (timid like a rabbit/ a fiddler crab)

    Bánh cáy (it has no connection with a fiddler crab, it is a cake which is made of rice crispies, popcorn, molasses)

    Ngang như cua (obstinate like a crab)

    Cua gái (it has no connection with a crab, it means wooing a girl)


    …and some psychic images, too, such as: ma, quỷ, etc…

    Xấu như ma (ugly like a ghost)

    Có ma nào ở đây đâu (it means there is nobody in the place)

    Ranh như quỷ (sly like an evil)

    Quái quỷ thật! (Something make you angry and you say it, just like “damn it!” in English)

    Sometimes, it is quite easy to learn Vietnamese if know how to apply it. You can do the same to the above examples if you know any animal’s characteristic such as:

    Rửa mặt như mèo (wash face like a cat)

    Lỳ như trâu (dogged like a buffalo)

    Dữ như cọp (fierce like a tiger)

    To understand and learn more, let’s join us in easyvietnamese.com/en


    13 Sep 2013, 11:25am
    Vietnamese language:


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  • “Vua” – “Chúa”

    Dictionary defines the word “Vua” as “The man that holds power and  rules one country, hereditary”. Vua masters all the people and things, the social regulation of Vua is Monarchy.

    “Vua” is also used to call the people that master one area.


    -       Họ Đinh đã từng làm vua một cõi.

    In Vietnamese, the word “vua” is used to mention something different, depending on each particular case.

    “Vua” is used when talking about someone who is very skilful in something, including both meaning: good or bad, with a very high degree.


    -       Anh ấy là vua về đàn dương cầm. (He is very good at Piano.) – good

    -       Nó là vua về nhạc Rock. (He is a professional in Rock music field.) – good

    -       Anh ta là vua cờ bạc. (He plays gambling very well.) – bad

    -       Ông ấy là vua nhà đất. (He is real estimate magnate.) – good

    -       Cô ấy là vua phá lưới. (It does not mean that she breaks the net, but she scores a lot of goals for her football team.) – good

    Vietnamese has many synonyms of “Vua”: Thiên tử, hoàng đế, hoàng thượng, thượng hoàng, bệ hạ, đấng hoàng gia, đấng quân vương, đại vương, thánh quân, thánh thượng, chúa thượng, chúa công, ngài ngự, …

    When vua talks to other people, he refers to himself as “trẫm”.

    The two words “vua” and “chúa” have a close relationship:

    In Vietnamese Idioms, we have the phrase “ông hoàng bà chúa” to call the people who have great authority.

    -       Chúa công: used to call the King, or the leader of a group that wants to fight against the King to usurp his throne.

    -       Công chúa: used to call daughters of the King.

    6 Sep 2013, 3:07pm

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  • “Lợi hại”

    Today I will talk a bit about how to use the word “lợi” of Vietnamese. As you know, the wording of Vietnamese people is very flexible and each has its own different meaning.

    “Lợi” standing alone means: benefit / get benefit from something. And when becoming a compound word, it also means gaining benefit from something depending on which word it goes with.
    For example:
    Lợi ích: Bring you good things (money, material, ect.)
    Lợi nhuận: Earn money from an investment in something.
    Lợi lộc: Inherit something from others or get benefit from a certain action.
    Lợi thế: have an advantage of something over others when competing in a field, a game.
    There are many compound words like that and most of them mean to receive benefits from something, but there is a common compound word in Vietnamese which contains “lợi”, but has a completely different meaning. It is “lợi hại.” You can separate it into “lợi” (benefit) and “hại” (damage), but when you combine the two words to each other, it has a completely different meaning describing something very excellent, extraordinary.

    For example:

    A: Mình vừa giải được bài toán khó thầy giao hôm thứ sáu.

    B: Bạn thật là “lợi hại”.

    (A: I have just solved the difficult problem the teacher gave us on Friday.
    B: You are really excellent!)
    I have three girlfriends at a same time.
    You rock!

    The “lợi hại” is not relevant to “benefit” or “damage”, but it means “good or excellent.”

    You see, the wording of the Vietnamese people is very rich, so I hope that this is useful for you.