Category Archives: Pronunciation & Listening

Ô Long Viện – Black Dragon Martial Arts Temple


This is a comic for fans of martial arts and period drama.
I’ve been hooked on to this series for a few months now.
It’s absolutely hilarious. The story is set in a martial art temple with 2 teachers and 2 students.
The only catch? It requires advanced Vietnamese (lots of ancient vocabulary).
If you can read it, it’s totally worth a try.
Ô Long Viện

If you don’t know enough Vietnamese yet, here’s an excerpt (which doesn’t have the main characters).

Click to play audio

Cloud: Này điện hạ mặt trời (hey, Your Majesty the Sun)
Sun: Gì thế, mây ngốc (What’s up, silly cloud?)
Cloud: Tôi… muốn tỉ thí với điện hạ (I… want to duel with you)
Sun: hé hé, ngươi dám…? (hehe, you dare?)
Cloud: Tối nay tôi đợi ở chỗ này, không đến coi như thua (This evening I will wait here, the one that doesn’t show up loses)
Cloud: Hẹn buổi tối nhé (Let’s meet in the evening)
Sun: Ơ…này… Ta… (er…hey… I…)


Instant Holiday Greetings in Vietnamese


T’is the season to load up on holiday greetings!

1. Chúc mừng năm mới!
Happy New Year.
This is the easiest greeting.
If you remember nothing else, hold on to this one.
It works for both Jan 1 New Year and Lunar New Year (Tết), and you don’t need to know any pronouns.

2. Chúc (anh) năm mới vui vẻ!
Wish you a happy new year. Replace (anh) with the appropriate pronoun and you have your greeting.

3. Chúc (em) Giáng Sinh vui vẻ!
Merry Christmas!
4. Chúc (chị) Nô-en vui vẻ!
Merry Christmas!

Christmas is known as lễ Giáng Sinh or lễ Nô-en (from the French word Noel).
Chúc – to wish
Vui vẻ – happy

Chúc (you) Giáng Sinh / Nô-en vui vẻ!
As usual, use the appropriate Vietnamese pronoun for “you”.

5. Chúc mừng sinh nhật!
Happy birthday!
6. Chúc (anh) sinh nhật vui vẻ!
Wish you a happy birthday!

1. For the Lunar New Year (Tết, Tết Nguyên Đán), aside from the simple chúc mừng năm mới, there are many more elaborate Vietnamese Tết greetings here.
2. If you’re completely new and don’t know any pronouns, learn to address people properly in Vietnamese here.

Guess who? Ai đây? (1)


Since we’ve just had a lesson on how to describe people, can you read the description below and guess who this person is? Answer will be posted in the next lesson about describing people.

Người này cao tuổi, râu tóc bạc trắng, béo tròn, và thích mặc quần áo đỏ.
Người này tính tình vui vẻ, hay cười, cũng rất tốt bụng và hào phóng.
Người này sống ở Bắc Cực và nuôi rất nhiều tuần lộc.

Người này cao tuổi, râu tóc bạc trắng
Person this high age beard hair silver white
béo tròn, thích mặc quần áo đỏ
fat round, and like wear clothes (pant shirt) red
Người này tính tình vui vẻ, hay cười
Person this personality cheerful, often laugh
cũng rất tốt bụng hào phóng
also very kind-hearted and generous
Người này sống Bắc Cực nuôi rất nhiều tuần lộc
This person live at the North Pole and raise very many reindeers

What’s in Your Wallet?


Click to play audio

That’s the tag line for a bank in the US. I’m not that curious about what everyone carries everyday, but common knowledge in Vietnam is that whatever you have on you can be mất trộm. Read below for tips against trộm cắp.

1. túi, bao any kind of bag (handbag, groceries bag, shopping bag)
2. wallet, purse
3. tiền money
4. thẻ tín dụng credit or debit card
5. thẻ học sinh / thẻ sinh viên high school / university student card
6. bằng lái xe driver’s license (“permit drive vehicle”)
7. chứng minh nhân dân, commonly abbreviated CMND – the Vietnamese state-issued ID card
8. hộ chiếu passport
9. thị thực visa – people just say “visa” as well
10. đồng hồ clock, watch
11. máy ảnh, máy chụp hình camera (“machine picture”)

One word of caution: if you travel in Vietnam, anything on you can be (bị) mất (trộm) (to lose, to get stolen). Ví, tiền, bằng lái xe, điện thoại di động are the most common.

Anh bị mất gì? Anh bị mất tiền
You get stolen what? I get stolen money

You can also bị cướp (get robbed) or bị lừa mất (get swindled and lose something).
It’s really that bad, and công an (the police) will never help you recover anything (from my personal experience).

When in Vietnam, I usually stuff just a couple of bills and bằng lái xe into a pant or shirt pocket. Putting everything in or túi makes it convenient to lose credit cards, cash, and driver’s license all at once.
I also make photocopy of all my IDs (passport, visa, etc) and hide them somewhere safe for the day I become yet another theft victim and have to reapply for everything.

Bonus: makeup is mỹ phẩm or đồ trang điểm.
Lipstick is son môi. Sunscreen is kem chống nắng (“cream against sunlight”). Sunglasses are kính râm.
Women skincare products are usually called kem dưỡng da (literally “cream to preserve skin”).

Last but not least, if you ride a scooter in Vietnam, mũ bảo hiểm (helmet) is a must-have. Don’t have one? Traffic police will gladly slap you with a hefty fine and the inconvenience of confiscating your ride. No kidding, traffic in Vietnam gets worse every year, but traffic laws get ridiculous even faster.

Beauty, the Beast, and the Laundry List – Part 2/2


From this point on, we will venture into territory that no Vietnamese textbook ever dare touch in a 100 years: How to say bad things about people, and how to say things about bad people.
Let’s get started.

Click to play audio

The Beast

1. Xấu – ugly
2. Xấu trai – ugly (for men)
3.Lùn, thấp – short
4. Béo, mập, tròn – fat, chubby
5. Ngu, đần – dumb, stupid, stupid-looking

Personality / Characteristics
1. Dữ – aggressive (Dữ như cọp – fierce like a tiger)
2. Xấu tính – nasty character
3. Khó tính – difficult (to get along with)
4. Kỹ tính – OCD obsessive
5. Nóng tính – hot-tempered
6. Ích kỷ – selfish
7. Keo kiệt, keo bẩn – stingy, penny pinching
8. Lười – lazy
9. Dễ giận – easily offended
10. Dễ dỗi – easily offended
11. Kiêu căng – arrogant
12. Tinh vi – know-it-all show-off
13. Đanh đá – aggressive, in your face
14. Tọc mạch – nosy
15. Chậm, chậm chạp – slow (in this day and age, slowness is considered a bad thing)
16. Đồng bóng – prissy (most likely used to describe a difficult to please gay guy)
17. Vũ phu – violent (for men; this is the wife-beater)
18. Ác, độc ác – mean, nasty, evil

People in this category include the stepmothers of Cinderella, Snow White, and Aurora.
Can you think of anyone else who has nothing but bad quality?

Beauty, the Beast, and the Laundry List – Part 1/2


This is the first part of a 2-part lesson on how to describe people.
This first lesson concentrates on pure flattery 🙂



1. Đẹp – beautiful
2. Đẹp trai – handsome
3. Xinh (xắn) – pretty
4. Dễ thương – cute
5. Cao – tall
6. Gầy – skinny
7. Mảnh mai / thon thả – thin, slender
Further along this lesson, you will note that I list few words under Beauty / Appearance. It’s not because Vietnamese doesn’t appreciate beauty, it’s because “beauty is in the eye of the beholder” and the beholders these days decides that beauty is “đẹp, cao, gầy.” To describe a Victoria’s Secret model, just add “số đo 3 vòng chuẩn” (perfect 3 size measurement).

Personality / Characteristics
1. Hiền – nice, mellow, docile
2. Vui vẻ / vui tính – a cheerful character
3. Dễ chịu – pleasant
4. Dễ tính – easy going
5. Cởi mở, thân thiện – open, friendly
6. Mặt mũi sáng sủa – bright looking person
7. Tốt bụng – kind, nice
8. Thích học hỏi – inquisitive (like to learn)
9. Ưa mạo hiểm – adventurous
10.Nữ tính – feminine, girly
11. Nam tính – masculine, manly
12. Thông minh – clever
13. Nhanh nhẹn – get things done fast
14. Tháo vát – resourceful
15. Quân tâm đến mọi người – caring (about everyone)
16. Sạch sẽ – clean, tidy
17. Gọn gàng – neat
18. Ngoan – obedient

Anyway, now that we have all the vocab, let’s try it on some people by describing them (hopefully without stepping on anyone’s toes in the process).Shrek and Fiona
We’ll learn to talk about Shrek in the next lesson. For now, let’s test the new vocab on Fiona 🙂
In case you don’t know Fiona, for this exercise, describe someone whom you like very much.

Dân IT tuyển vợ – Tech guy’s wife specifications


Click to play audio

Yêu cầu phần cứng:
1- Chạy nhanh, bền, tốt, kích cỡ nhỏ gọn, thiết kế trang nhã
2- Còn nguyên tem bảo hành, không được trầy xước dù là vết nhỏ
3- Tương thích dễ dàng với các thiết bị ngoại vi như: bếp, chổi quét nhà…
4- Hoạt động tốt trong môi trường như chợ, siêu thị……

As this is at advanced Vietnamese reading level, let’s dive right into it.

Dân IT tuyển vợ Tech guy recruiting a wife
Yêu cầu phần cứng: Hardware requirements:
Chạy nhanh, bền, tốt, kích cỡ nhỏ gọn, thiết kế trang nhã Run fast, durable, well, compact size, elegant design
Còn nguyên tem bảo hành, không được trầy xước dù là vết nhỏ Warranty stamp intact, no blemish no matter how small (the blemish)
Tương thích dễ dàng với các thiết bị ngoại vi như: bếp, chổi quét nhà… Easily compatible with peripherals such as kitchen, house sweeper…
Hoạt động tốt trong môi trường như chợ, siêu thị…… Operate well in environments such as stores, supermarket,…

This makes me think about the spouses of Bill Gates, Steve Jobs, Mark Zuckenberg and the likes. 😀

And you, yêu cầu phần cứng của bạn là gì?

Story from TruyenCuoi.Vn