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.

    2 Aug 2013, 12:48pm
    Vietnamese language:

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  • 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].

    26 Jul 2013, 2:52pm
    Vietnamese language:

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  • Mấy vs bao nhiêu

    ‘Mấy’ and ‘bao nhiêu’ are very common question words which you can easily hear in everyday conversation. For example,

    Hôm nay là ngày mấy? (What’s the date today?)

    Anh muốn mua mấy cái bàn? (How many desks do you want to buy?)

    Chị ơi, cái này bao nhiêu tiền? (Excuse me, how much is this?)

    Although ‘mấy’ and ‘bao nhiêu’ can be heard daily, it’s still hard for foreigners to distinguish them and to use them correctly.  On this blog, I will make it clear for you to understand thoroughly.

    Firstly, ‘bao nhiêu’ and ‘mấy’, which mean ‘how much/how many’ in English, are the interrogative words used to ask about quantity. The word ‘mấy’ is used to ask about a certain quantity whose amount is not more than 10 or considered to be small by the speaker. However, the word ‘bao nhiêu’ is used to ask about a quantity whose amount is more than 10 or cannot estimate (much or few).


    Cậu có mấy cái bút? – Mình có hai cái.

    How many pens do you have? – I have two.

    Lớp anh có mấy người? – Tám người.

    How many students are there in your class? – Eight people.

    Công ty anh có bao nhiêu nhân viên? – Ba mươi.

    How many employees are there in your company? – Thirty.

    Chị đã học tiếng Việt mấy năm? – 5 năm.

    How many years have you studied Vietnamese? – 5 years.

    Ông ấy nói được mấy thứ tiếng?

    How many languages can he speak?

    For the reason above, Vietnamese people often use the expression ‘mấy tuổi’ to ask about the age of a child and ‘bao nhiêu tuổi’ to ask about the age of an adult. If you want be regarded as a polite person, you should know how to use ‘mấy’ and ‘bao nhiêu’ in different situations. Remember: do not use ‘mấy tuổi’ to ask the age of an elderly person.


    Năm nay con mấy tuổi? – Dạ, con 5 tuổi. (How old are you this year? – I’m 5 years old.)

    Ông bao nhiêu tuổi rồi? – Tôi đã sáu mươi tuổi. (How old are you? – I’m sixty years old.)

    Secondly, in most cases, however, ‘mấy’ and ‘bao nhiêu’ can be used to replace each other without any changes in meaning.


    Anh đi mấy người? (How many are you?)

    Anh đi bao nhiêu người? (How many are you?)

    Cô Mai đến Đài Loan mấy lần rồi? (How many times has Ms. Mai been to Taiwan?)

    Cô Mai đến Đài Loan bao nhiêu lần rồi? (How many times has Ms. Mai been to Taiwan?)

    Sinh nhật em ngày mấy? (What date is your birthday?)

    Sinh nhật em ngày bao nhiêu? (What date is your birthday?)

    Thirdly, there is a little difference in meaning when moving the position of ‘mấy’ and ‘bao nhiêu’ in a sentence.

    + The structure “mấy / bao nhiêu + noun” is used to ask for a certain number.


    Anh đi mấy ngày? (How many days did you go?)

    Chị muốn mua bao nhiêu cái bánh? (How many cakes would you like to buy?)

    + The structure “noun + mấy / bao nhiêu” is used to ask for an order or an ordinal number.

    Hôm nay ngày mấy? (What’s the date today?)

    Bạn đứng hạng mấy trong lớp mình? (Where are you on the ranking table of our class?)

    Finally, I have to note that Vietnamese people do not use ‘mấy tiền’ to ask for price of something. Instead, they often say ‘bao nhiêu tiền’.


    Cái đó bao nhiêu tiền? (How much is that?)

    Cô ấy kiếm được bao nhiêu tiền? (How much does she earn?)

    However, Vietnamese people often say ‘mấy ngàn, mấy trăm ngàn, mấy triệu’ in order to ask about exact numbers of the cost of something.


    Bánh mì mấy ngàn một ổ? (How much does a loaf of bread cost?)

    Cái điện thoại di động này mấy triệu vậy? (How much is this mobile phone?)