Just Curious…


I get a ton of visitors from Vietnam lately, and I assume that Vietnamese in Vietnam speaks the language, so… is someone trying to learn English instead?????


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.

Happy Thanksgiving!


Eat a ton of turkey today!

For your amusement, the Vietnamese has this popular children’s song about chicken (close enough to the turkey). It’s been parodied so many times that I don’t even know the original lyrics any more.
It’ll give my soft-hearted friend a heart attack, so I’ll spare her today 🙂

Gà mà không gáy là con gà chiên.
Gà mà hay gáy là con gà điên.
Đi lang thang trong sân , bắt con gà , bỏ vô nồi.
Mua 2 lon Tiger , nhắm chân gà , nhắm chân gà.

Gà mà không gáy là con gà gay.
Gà mà không gáy là con gà toi.
Đi lang thang trong sân, bắt con gà, ướp tiêu hành,
Ăn xong lăn quay ra, chết tui rùi, cúm gia cầm.

The rooster that doesn’t roost is the fried one
The rooster that roost too often is the cuckoo one
Wander around the yard, catch a rooster, put into the pot
Buy 2 Tiger beers, eat chicken leg, eat chicken leg

The rooster that doesn’t roost is the troubled / gay one
The rooster that doesn’t roost is a goner
Wander around the yard, catch a rooster, marinate with pepper scallion
Finish eating and collapse, I’m done for, (I got) avian flu

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