What would you like to see on Learn Viet?

I don't know why I've never thought of this before. What would you like to learn about?
  • Is there something new you'd like me to cover?
  • Was there something unclear and you'd like me to go in more depth?
Love to hear your suggestions for upcoming posts! Just drop a comment below!

Once again, don't hesitate to email me at mn_pisces93 [AT] hotmail.com with any questions or comments.

- Michael


Asking where someone is from or what their cultural background is, is always a great way to start a conversation. A lot of countries don't actually have names in Vietnamese but rather are just pronounced in a native way.

A bit of research showed me that a lot of these countries have a Han-Viet name and not everyone is familiar with them. So instead, I present the common, most familiar name for each of the countries.

Please refer back to the post on Addressing People, in order to answer and ask questions correctly.

V = Bạn từ nước nào?
P = B'an' (as in t'an'trum) teu neurk now?
E = Which country are you from?

V = Tôi từ...
P = Toy teu...
E = I am from...


V = Bạn là người nước gì?
P = B'an' lah nguh-ee neurk zee?
E = What is your nationality?

V = Tôi là người...(remove the word 'nước')
P = Toy lah nguh-ee...
E = I am...


V = Nước Úc
P = Neurk 'Oo'p (as in p'oo'l)
E = Australia

V = Nước Ba Tây
P = Neurk Baah Tey
E = Brazil

V = Ca-na-da / Gia Nả Đại
P = Ga-na-da
E = Canada

V = Nước Trung Quốc
P = Neurk Joom Gwook
E = China

V = Nước Anh
P = Neurk 'Ang' (as in s'ang')
E = England

V = Nước Pháp
P = Neurk Fahp
E = France

V = Nước Đức
P = Neurk Deuk
E = Germany

V = Nước Hồng Kong
P = Nuerk Holm Kolm
E = Hong Kong

V = Nước Ấn Độ
P = Neurk Uhn Door
E = India

V = Nước Inđônêsia
P = Neurk In-door-neh-see-ah
E = Indonesia

V = Nước Ái-len
P = Neurk Eye-lehn
E = Ireland

V = Nước Ý
P = Neurk 'Ea' (as in 'ea'sy)
E = Italy

V = Nước Nhật Bản
P = Neurk Nhuh-t Bahn
E = Japan

V = Nước Hàn Quốc
P = Neurk Hand Gwook
E = Korea

V = Nước Mã Lai
P = Neurk Mah Lie
E = Malaysia

V = Nước Mêhicô
P = Neurk Mê-he-gaw
E = Mexico

V = Nước Niu Di-lân
P = Neurk Nee-ew Zee-l'un' (as in n'un')
E = New Zealand

V = Nước Phi
P = Neurk Fee
E = Philippines 

V = Nước Nga
P = Neurk 'Ng'aa (as in si'ng')
E = Russia

V = Nước Tân Gia Ba
P = Neurk Tun Zaa Baa
E = Singapore

V = Nước Mỹ
P = Neurk Mee
E = USA 

Numbers 1 to 10

I remember back in primary school, I had taught my Greek friend how to count 1 to 10 in Vietnamese and she had taught me how to count 1 to 10 in Greek. Till this day, I can still count 1 to 10 in Greek. Funny enough, I've needed it but I guess you'll never know when it comes in handy.

Counting from 1 to 10 will get you started and familiar with the numbers and pronunciations, beyond 10. Whenever you've got a moment to yourself, jogging, on the bus, queuing at a bank, etc. Run the numbers through your head.

Remember: don't hesitate to email me if you need help with pronunciations and/or translations.

V = Không
P = Kolm

V = Một
P = Moht

V = Hai
P = Hi

V = Ba
P = Baah

V = Bốn
P = Born

V = Năm
P = Numb

V = Sáu
P = Ssow

V = Bảy
P = Baay

V = Tám
P = Dam

V = Chín
P = Chin

V = Mười
P = Muh-ee

Vietnamese Cuisine

Chào các bạn.

I though for this post we'll look at the key ingredients that go into Vietnamese food. I've grown up with all these flavours and any Vietnamese household would have a good supply all year round. If you've never had Vietnamese food, go out to your local Vietnamese restaurant. It's not posh but down to earth and makes for good eating. 

V = Nước mắm
P = Neurk mum
E = Fish sauce

A clear salty sauce used for flavouring savoury dishes and for dipping.

V = Xì dàu
P = See zoh
E = Soy sauce

Soy sauce is also used to flavour dishes and as a dipping sauce. 

V = Cơm
P = Guhm
E = Rice

Good ole rice. As a kid, I was taught that there are two names for rice. The first is cơm, used to call cooked rice while the other is gạo (P = gow), used to call uncooked rice.

V = Bún
P = Boon
E = Rice vermicelli

Rice vermicelli can be used in dry or soup dishes, but you'll have to boil/blanch it first. Either way, delicious and very good for you.

V = Bánh phở
P = Bang fuh
E = Rice stick (It never occured to me what it's called in English)

This sort of noodle is used specifically for phở or beef noodle soup. They come in dry or fresh packs, are notably flat as opposed to cylindrical and needs to be blanched before serving.

V = Bánh tráng
P = Bang chang
E = Rice paper

Rice paper is made by breaking down rice until it becomes a liquid. A thin layer is spread, steamed and dried. Before eating this, you have to soak it in warm water and then you can wrap all sorts of good things in it.

Fresh herbs are also well used, not only as garnishes but as condiments. As a kid, I use to hate the herbs that my mum put into her cooking but as I grew older, my taste buds developed and I became less repulsed by herbs.

Fresh Herbs = Rau Sống = Zow Solm

V = Sả
P = Ssah
E = Lemongrass

V = Rau ngò
P = Zow ngo
E = Coriander

V = Hành tây
P = Hang t'ey' in hey
E = Spring onion

V = Rau quế
P = Zow gwhere
E = Thai basil

V = Rau răm
P = Zow zum 
E = Vietnamese mint

Addressing People

E = English, V = Vietnamese, P = Pronunciation

Unfortunately in Vietnamese, it isn't as simple as 'you' and 'me' or 'he' and 'she'. There are different ways to address someone, depending on their age, gender and your relation to them. Learning and understanding when to use these will probably be the hardest of the lessons.

A lot of these titles literally refer to someone as if they are related to you, so just think of everyone as your family and hopefully, you'll understand the titles better.


Addressing Other People

V = Ông
P = Olm
E = Elderly man or Mr. (literally means grandpa)

V = Bà
P = Baa
E = Elderly woman or Mrs. / Ms. (literally means grandma)

V = Bác
P = Baack
E = Man or woman older than your parents or Mr. / Mrs. / Ms.

V = Chú
P = Choo
E = Man slightly younger or about the age of your parents or Mr. (literally means uncle)

V = Cô
P = Gore
E = Woman slightly younger or about the age of your parents or Miss (literally means aunty)

V = Anh
P = 'ang' in sang
E = Male teenager or young adult (literally means brother)

V = Chị
P = Chee
E = Female teenager or young adult (literally means sister)

V = Bạn
P = B'an' in tantrum
E = Male or female about your age (literally means friend or mate)

V = Em
P = Ehm
E = Male or female child or younger (literally means younger sibling)


Addressing Yourself

Below are different titles that can be used, depending on who you're speaking to, to refer to yourself.

V = Cháu
P =
E = Use if speaking to someone much older than you or your superior

V = Em
P = Ehm
E = Use if speaking to someone older than you

V = Bạn
P = B'an' in tantrum
E = use if speaking to friends

V = Tôi
P = Toy
E = Use this if completely unsure

V = Con
P = Gone
E = Use ONLY with your parents


Very Informal Titles

These titles are considered very informal and impolite, so should only be used with close friends.

V = Tao
P = Tow
E = I / Me / My

V = Mày
P = May-ee
E = You / Your

V = Nó
P = Noh
E = He / She / Him / Her

Vietnamese Alphabet

E = English, V = Vietnamese, P = Pronunciation

The Vietnamese Alphabet (V = Quốc Ngữ) has 29 letters and are based on the Latin alphabet, with the absence of the letters: 'f', 'j', 'w', 'z'. The following list will show you all the letters of the Vietnamese alphabet and how to pronounce them.

Also in Vietnamese, a word is read exactly the way it is written, unlike in English, how there are silent letters.


V = Xin chào
P = Sin chow
E = Hello

Unfortunately, there are a few letters that have the same pronunciation, therefore, two words can be pronounced the same way, yet have two separate meanings, like 'bear' and 'bare'. So it just takes time to get it right.


V = (1) Sôi / (2) Xôi
P = Soy
E = (1) To boil / (2) Vietnamese glutinous rice 



A a = 'a' in ham
Ă ă = 'a' in Pat
 â = uh in huh?
E e = eh
Ê ê = air
I i = 'ee' in see
O o = 'o' in porridge
Ô ô = or
Ơ ơ = 'ur' in fur
U u = 'oo' in pool
Ư ư = eu
Y y = 'ee' in see



B b = 'b' in bat
C c = 'g' in gone
D d = 'z' in zebra
Đ đ = 'd' in dog
G g = 'g' in gap
H h = 'h' in hat
K k = 'g' in gone
L l = 'l' in lemon
M m = 'm' in man
N n = 'n' in nun
P p = 'p' in pop
Q q = 'g' in gone
R r = 'z' in zebra
S s = 's' in snap
T t = 't' in tip
V v = 'v' in van
X x = 's' in snap


Common Letter Combinations

These aren't apart of the alphabet but are used a lot, to the point where they can be considered a letter in itself.

CH = (at the beginning of a word) 'ch' in chair / (at the end of a word) 'ck' in pick
GH = 'g' in gap
KH = 'c' in corn
NG and NGH = 'ng' in sing
PH = 'f' in fat
TH = 't' in time
TR = 'ch' in chair
GI = 'z' in zebra
QU = 'gw' in Gwen
UY = like the French word 'oui'

Simple Phrases

E = English, V = Vietnamese, P = Pronunciation

E / Hello
V / Xin chào
P / Sin chow

E / Goodbye
V / Xin chào
P / Sin chow

E / Please
V / Làm ơn
P / Lamb urn

E / Thank you
V / Cám ơn
P / Gam urn

E / Yes
V / Dạ Vâng
P / Zaa Vuhng

E / No
V / Không
P / Kolm

E / Sorry
V / Xin lỗi
P / Sin loy-ee

E / How are you?
V / Khỏe không?
P / Kwoe kolm?

Simple Questions

E = English, V = Vietnamese, P = Pronunciation

E / Who?
V/ Ai?
P / Eye?

E / What?
V / Cái gì?
P / Guy zee?

E / Where?
V / Ở đâu?
P / Uh doh?

E / When?
V / Bao giờ?
P / Bow zuh?

E / Why?
V / Tại sao?
P / Tai sow?

E / How?
V / Thế nào?
P / Tear (to rip) now?

Back, With A New Look

Let's be honest, I'm a lazy blogger.

I apologise to anyone who has visited this blog since February and expected updates but with a bit more motivation in me, I'm now aiming to post weekly entries and at the latest, fortnightly entries.

As always, I'm more than happy to help with translations and all the questions in between.


Michael Nguyen.

Hello There!

Chào Các Bạn! Which literally says, 'Hello Friends' (corny, I know) but basically means, 'Hello There!'.

My name is Michael Nguyen, I'm from Sydney, Australia and welcome to my blog 'Learn Viet', dedicated to teaching Vietnamese for beginners.

My aims are to make the content as clear as possible, in order to minimise any confusion and to ensure to add content that's handy and relevant in everyday life.

Hopefully, with plenty of practice and patience, you will soon be comfortable with speaking, reading and writing Vietnamese.

Through learning the Vietnamese language, I also hope you'll have a clearer insight into the rich and traditional culture of Vietnam.

A final note, hope you enjoy reading and I'd really appreciate any feedback and also be glad to answer any questions.


Michael Nguyen.

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