5 Jan 2013, 9:45am
Vietnamese language

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  • 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.

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