Vietnam

Vietnamese Language

 

Vietnamese is a tonal language; the meaning of a word depends on how high or low your voice is. Vietnamese is not related to Chinese, though it contains many loan words from Chinese due to centuries of Chinese rule in Vietnam, and even used Chinese-like characters as its writing system, called "ch? Nôm", until Vietnam was colonised by the French.

Vietnamese spelling is more or less phonetic, and generally similar to Portuguese (which it is based on). Once you figure out how to pronounce each letter and tone, you have a pretty good idea of how to pronounce Vietnamese, which has very few exceptions compared to English.

Unless otherwise indicated, pronunciation detailed below is for Southern (Saigon) Vietnamese, which is quite different from Northern (Hanoi), North Central (Vinh) or Central (Hue) Vietnamese.

ENGLISH

VIETNAMESE

Good Day / Hello = Chào (jow)
My name is… = Tôi tên là ______ . (Thoye theyn la _____ .)
Thank You = C?m on. (gam uhhn)
How much is it? = Bao nhiêu (ti?n)? (bahw nyee-oh thee-uhn...)
That’s too expensive = Ð?t quá. (daht?! kwahh?)
It’s Delicious = Ngon l?m. (nong lum)
I feel sick = Tôi b? b?nh. (Thoi bee binh)
I feel fine = Kho?, c?m on. (kweah, gam uhhn)
Where is the toilet? = C?u tiêu ? dâu? (goh thee-oh uh duh-oh)
Yes = Vâng (affirmative). (vuhng); D? (affirmative, respectful) (ya'a) ; Ðúng (correct) (duhn)
No = Không. (kohng)
I do not understand = Tôi không hi?u. (thoy kohng hee-oh)
Can you help me? = C?n giúp cho tôi. (Khan yip CHo Thoy)
Today / Tomorrow = hôm nay (home nye) / mai (my)
Turn left / Turn right = Qu?o trái / Qu?o ph?i

NUMBERS

One = m?t (mo'oht)
Two = hai ("high")
Three = ba (bah)
Four = b?n ("bone")
Five = nam ("nahm")
Six = sáu (sao)
Seven = b?y (bai-ee)
Eight = tám (tahm)
Nine = chín ("chean")
Ten = mu?i (meui)
Eleven = mu?i m?t (muh-uh-ee mo'oht)
Twelve = mu?i hai (muh-uh-ee hai)
Thirteen = mu?i ba (muh-uh-ee bah)
Twenty = hai muoi (hai muh-uh-ee)
Twenty one = hai muoi m?t (hai muh-uh-ee moht)
Thirty = ba muoi (bah muh-uh-ee)
Forty = b?n muoi (bohn muh-uh-ee)
Fifty = nam muoi (nahm muh-uh-ee)
One hundred = m?t tram (moht cham or often just "cham")
Two Hundred = hai tram (hai cham)
One thousand = m?t ngàn/nghìn (mo'oht ngang/ngeen...)
Two Thousand = hai ngàn/nghìn (hai ngang/ngeen...)
One million = m?t tri?u (mo'oht chee'ou)
One billion (1,000,000,000) = m?t t?/t? (mo'oht thee'ee?)
One trillion (1,000,000,000,000) = m?t ngàn/nghìn t?/t?