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.

    9 Aug 2013, 8:38am
    Vietnamese language:

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  • “Chết”

    As you known, the way of using words in Vietnam is very rich, meaningful. To indicate one thing they can express it by many ways. Or one word can be used in many situations and each has their own meanings.

    Typically, I give you the word “chết” for example. The word “chết” in Vietnamese does not only express the normal death of someone or of a certain kind of animal, but it also has many different meanings which could make learners using it confused.

    For instance:

    Ông ấy chết rồi.  (He died.)

    Con chó nhà tôi mới chết. (My dog has jurt died.)

    Thôi chết rồi!, chết tôi rồi!,…

    (Used in a exclamation sentence to directly express the speaker’s feelings, such as “Oh my God” in English)

    Đập chết nó đi!

    (It means beating someone or an animal to death, but can also mean hitting someone for what they have done, etc …)

    Chết mày chưa!

    (Used to indicate that someone deserves what they get for doing something wrong)

    Chết tiệt!

    (An exclamation sentence used to express one’s anger)

    Vợ mày mà biết mày ngoại tình là chết.

    The word “chết” here does not mean his wife is going to kill him, but she can get furious and mess it up or even divorce.

    Now we will expand a little about the expression of the word “chết” of Vietnamese.

    To mean somebody who has died we can say:


    Ông ấy chết rồi.

    Ông ấy tiêu rồi.

    Ông ấy toi rồi.

    Ông ấy đi rồi.


    Ông ấy qua đời rồi.

    Ông ấy đã về với ông bà rồi.

    Ông ấy yên nghỉ rồi.

    Ông ấy xuống suối vàng rồi.


    Ông ấy đi bán muối rồi.

    Ông ấy đi gặp thần chết rồi.

    Ông ấy xuống địa ngục rồi.

    Ông ấy thăng thiên rồi.

    Ông ấy lên bàn thờ ngồi rồi.

    And so forth…

    All the above sentences have the same meaning.

    You see, just a sense with a dozens of expressions, or a word with many meanings, every language has its own characteristics, and this is Vietnamese’s. Explore more to be a fluent Vietnamese speaker.