2 Aug 2013, 12:48pm
Vietnamese language:

leave a comment

  • Sign up

  • The changing of Vietnamese accent from the North to the South

    Vietnam has 54 ethnic groups, and also has a lot of languages. But in this article, I just want to talk about the orthodox language of Vietnamese. When making a research, you will recognize that there is a changing of Vietnamese accent from the North to the South of Vietnam, this changing is gradational  between close areas. However, Vietnamese accent can be divide clearly into three regions: Northern accent, Central accent and Southern accent

    PART 1: NORTHERN ACCENT: including provinces, cities from Thanh Hoa to the last at north pole.

    The people living in the North have an ethereal voice. An ancient document that a Chinese mandarin wrote to report to China Court described how the Vietnamese like the chirp of birds. That voice is certain Northern accent, because at that time, the Central and the South were not belonged to Vietnam yet.

    However, even within the North scale, the voice also change from region to region. Northern accent has a little bit lisp and pronounce [L] and [N] is /n/.


    Lẫn lộn (wrong) is pronounced: nẫn nộn.

    Làng nước (village) is pronounced: nàng nước.

    But northern accent has strong points: the discrimination of ending consonants: [C] and [T], [N] and [NG], beginning consonants [D] and [Gi].

    Example: Northern people never confuse between :

    Cắc in bạc cắc (small change) and cắt in cắt thịt (to cut meat)

    Khăn in cái khăn (towel) and khăng in khăng khăng (persist)

    Giây in giây phút (second of time) and dây in dây thừng (rope)

    As regards the timbre, northern accent distinguish the diacritic: dấu hỏi (   ) and dấu ngã (~). It should be noted that the symbol (~) at the beginning is used not only to pronounce from low soar to high, but also to replace for the ending consonant [NG]


    In some ancient documents, instead of writing: đi cùng (to go with), they wrote: đi cũ.

    Is it true that this shows the effect of the people use northern accent in the formation of today Vietnamese scrip.

    Besides, weak points of northern accent are that it does not distinguish some beginning consonants:

    [CH] and [Tr] is pronounced [CH]

    [S] and [X] is pronounced [X]


    Châu in Châu Á (Asia) and trâu in con trâu (buffalo) is all pronounced [châu]

    Sanh in sanh sản (bear) and xanh in màu xanh (green) is all pronounced [xanh].

    19 Jul 2013, 4:20pm

    leave a comment

  • Sign up

  • “Chạy”

    When comparing about the equivalent moving, we can see that English have the word “run”; “courir” and “filer” in French and in Russian is “begat’”,…, they are all in the meaning of moving (have the direction or not). However, in Vietnamese, the word “chạy” has a lot of meaning, depending on the word following it. Let’s take a look at these two groups:

    Group 1: chạy giặc, chạy bão, chạy mưa, chạy tội, chạy án…

    Group 2: chạy gạo, chạy tiền, chạy việc, chạy điểm, chạy thầy, chạy thuốc…

    The same thing in these two groups is that they have the same structure: “chạy + X”, “X” is often a single word. But we can easy recognize the difference in their meanings.

    In group 1, these words have the meaning of running away from the object is mentioned. Chạy giặc (to run away from the war), chạy mưa (to find a place to shelter from the rain), chạy tội, chạy án (to find the way to be innocent)

    Vice versa, in group 2, we use the word “chạy” with the meaning of hoping to have those objects. Chạy gạo (to earn one’s living), chạy việc (to go in search of a job), chạy thầy, chạy thuốc (to go in search of a doctor and medicine).

    Well, This is just a few examples but there are so many complicated things.

    Now a day, in many cases, people don’t have to “chạy” with their legs. They “chạy” by speaking skill, familiar relationships, power, money… so many ways. The best thing is they do not need to go anywhere.

    5 Jan 2013, 9:45am
    Vietnamese language

    leave a comment

  • Sign up

  • Black colour in Vietnamese

    In English, we just have the word “black” to call all the things, animals are in black colour.
    In Vietnamese, there are some special ways to call something in black:
    black horse: ngựa đen
    black dog: chó mực
    black cat: mèo mun
    013 Black colour in Vietnamese

    Mèo mun

    black chicken: gà quạ
    the dust of smoke clings on the wall: bồ hóng
    black ink: mực tàu
    black hair: tóc nhung, tóc huyền
    black eye: mắt huyền
    black cuttlefish: mực xạ
    black buffalo: trâu mốc
    black trousers: quần thâm:

    Some Vietnamese idioms
    cột nhà cháy: (burned column of a house) – a funny way to call black skin
    tóc xanh: (green hair) – a way to call the people still young

    Besides, when using the word “đen” to call someone or something, it’s usually has the bad meaning:
    sổ đen: a book use to report name of bad people
    xã hội đen: criminal world, demimonde.
    vận đen: misfortune, unlucky
    đen đủi: unlucky
    dân đen: the people who have no power, no social standing in the country
    đen đỏ or đỏ đen: Gambling.
    web đen: websites that have the bad content, usually about debauchery.
    tim đen: something in mind that you don’t want the other know.
    rùa đen: the people who did the bad things
    chợ đen: illegal market
    tối đen: very dark
    đen bạc: in this sentence: ăn ở đen bạc, it has the meaning of ungratefulness, But in the sentence đen bạc đỏ tình: it’s not the above meaning, but that is unlucky in this field (gambling), but lucky in the other (love).

    And when mention about the level, Vietnamese has a lot of levels of “đen” (black colour):
    đen bóng, đen giòn, đen kịt, đen nhánh, đen sì, đen thủi, đen thui. Đen tuyền, đen thắm, tím đen, đen ngắt, đen thẳm, đen thùi lùi, đen óng: usually used to call somebody or something’s skin color.
    đen ngòm, Đen nghịt: very black, the dark,
    con sông đen ngòm – the river is very black, very dusty.
    but đen nghịt is also đông nghịt: used to call a place that have too much people.
    đen tối: use to call the bad thinking of somebody.(ex: “tư tưởng đen tối”) It was also used to call the dark period in history, there were a lot of terrorisms, bloody massacres.
    đen đét is not a color, that’s the sound when using hand or rod slap on skin
    But when you double this word
    đen đen: It mean just a little black color, a light black.