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Learn Vietnamese

Learn Vietnamese reading, Vietnamese writing and Vietnamese speaking with these free words and sentences about greetings, saying Hello and common phrases. All words and sentences are spoken by real Vietnamese natives and this helps you in learning the correct pronunciation.

Our ten Vietnamese lessons teach you some of the most important Vietnamese words and phrases. We will try to make your learning Vietnamese as easy as possible and give you a lot of resources about Vietnamese.

If you like the lessons, you can subscribe to our free seven days email course which will give you Vietnamese grammar notes, top 1000 Vietnamese words and much more!

Lesson 1: Introduction

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Chào anh

Hello


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Chị khỏe không?

How are you?


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Tôi khỏe, cảm ơn

I'm fine, thank you.


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Tôi tên Tanja

My name is Tanja.


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Hân hạnh được biết chị

Nice to meet you.


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Tạm biệt

Goodbye


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Anh có nói tiếng Anh không?

Do you speak English?


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Có, tôi nói tiếng Anh.

Yes, I speak English.


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Không, tôi không nói tiếng Anh.

No, I don't speak English.


→ Continue learning Vietnamese with L-Lingo, which has pictures!

How to learn Vietnamese?

  1. Get a Vietnamese Phrasebook and write simple phrases and words on Flashcards and memorize them.
  2. Study the Vietnamese fundamentals, e.g. how to construct questions, pronunciation etc. In general the Vietnamese grammar is quite easy as it does not change the verb form for cases, genders, numbers or tenses but uses additional words to indicate these.
  3. Try and find a good Vietnamese teacher or other person to talk with you or enroll in a Vietnamese language class or visit Vietnam for more immersion
  4. Southern and Northern Vietnamese Dialect are very different. Decide which dialect you want to learn. We use the Southern Dialect as it is more common in the media (TV shows etc).
  5. Focus on learning the six (Northern) or five (other districts) tones correctly early on as the wrong tones can change the meaning of words completely

Check out our comprehensive Vietnamese learning App L-Lingo which contains 105 lessons with grammar notes, thousands of words and high quality audio.

Vietnamese Grammar

When compared to other languages, on a fundamental level the Vietnamese grammar is actually very simple.

Firstly, the words in Vietnamese exist separately. Each word is pronounced independently without sound connection or sound deglutition as in English. For example, in the English sentence "I miss you." the sounds of the two words "miss you" are connected while in Vietnamese we pronounce three sounds separately, "Anh/ nhớ/ em”.

Secondly, Vietnamese words do not undergo morphological changes (no conjugations, no plural form, do not change word class, no sex ...).

For example, in English, the verb "to go" can be written in many forms such as "go”, “went", "goes” or “going". In Vietnamese there is only one form which is "đi" and it does not change according to context.

The meaning of sentences is determined by the order and arrangement of words and formal words (đã, sẽ, đang, nhiều, ít, rất, quá, lắm…).


Two Groups of Sounds

The most difficult part is to pronounce words exactly and read the sound symbols correctly including the 6 marks placed above each word. Based on the similarities in high and low accent degree we divide the 6 marks into two groups: 

The high accent group of sounds consists of the cross accent (no mark) (for example "ca"), the tilde accent (for example "cã"), and the acute accent (for example "cá"). 


The low accent group of sounds consists of the grave accent (for example "cà"), the question accent (for example "cả"), and the heavy accent (for example"cạ"). 


The best way to practice is to look at the positions of the marks on the word and read by following above instructions. 

Nouns

A noun is used to refer to people, objects, events or concepts. Vietnamese nouns do not distinguish between singular and plural. So the nouns actually never change their form and thus are very easy to use.

In order to built the plural form of a noun, you just add the number to it. However Nouns require the use of measure words in front of them. When used in the abstract sense, measure words are not used.

Verbs

Similar to the Nouns, the Verbs also do not change its forms according to subject and context (present, past, future ...).

The meaning of the sentence is determined by the nouns/phrase of time or formal words which are placed in front of the verb: "đã" (for actions that happened in the past), "đang" (for actions happening in the present), "sẽ" (for actions that will take place in the future).

We can see this in the following example: 


Người phụ nữ đang đứng. 

The woman is standing. 


n Vietnamese, verbs are often used as a predicative placed after the subject (a noun or pronoun). In the previous example the verb "đứng" (stand) is the predicative and after the subject is a noun “người phụ nữ" (the woman). 


Identifying Tenses

The tense in Vietnamese does not change the verb or sentence structure as in English. The tense is recognized and distinguished by words such as:


“Đang” for an action that is currently taking place or is in the present tense. 


Con mèo đang uống nước. 
The cat is drinking.


“Đã” for an action that happened in the past or is in the past tense. 


Con mèo đã uống nước. 
The cat drank.


“Chuẩn bị” for an action that will take place in the future, or something that is still to occur. 


Con mèo chuẩn bị uống nước. 
The cat is going to drink.


Another word that we can use to describe something that will take place in the future is the word “sẽ”.

Adjectives

Adjectives in Vietnamese and in other languages are used to indicate the character of things, facts, and people, for example "đẹp" (beautiful), "xấu xí" (ugly), "cao"(tall), “xanh lá cây” (green), "đỏ” (red). 

In a phrase with nouns and adjectives the adjective is placed after the noun: "cô gái đẹp" (beautiful girl). It is the exact opposite to English where the adjective is placed before the noun: "beautiful girl ".

In a Vietnamese sentence adjectives often have a predicative function and stand after the noun:

Con chó xấu xí. 
The dog is ugly.


Sometimes the adjective is connected to the noun through the word "thì". Therefore, the word "thì" has the function of a predicate such as "is" and "are" in English: 


Cậu bé thì thấp. 
The boy is short.


When speaking we can use or omit the word "thì" since the meaning of the sentence does not change: 


Cậu bé thấp.
 
The boy is short.


Comparisons

In comparative sentences in Vietnamese we use the word "hơn" (than) to express comparisons. The word "hơn" is placed between the two objects we compare and after an adjective. Unlike in English, the adjective does not change its form as shown in the following examples: 


Người đàn ông mập hơn người phụ nữ. 
The man is fatter than the woman.


Cô bé thì thấp hơn cậu bé. 
The girl is shorter than the boy.


Questions

There are different ways of forming a question in Vietnamese.


General Question

The general question is used to confirm information. This type of question includes question words such as “không”, “chưa”, “được không”, “phải không”, “được chứ”, “à” … which are placed at the end of the sentence.


Anh khỏe không?
 
How are you?


Anh giúp tôi được không?
 
Can you help me?


Chị ăn chưa? 
Did you eat?


Specific Question - WHAT

The specific question is used to ask about specific information. This type of question often includes question words such as “ai”, “gì”, “nào”, “lúc nào”, “vì sao”, “tại sao”, “thế nào”, “như thế nào”, “đâu”, “mấy”.

Người phụ nữ đang làm gì? 
What is the woman doing?


The example question above is in the present continuous tense because it contains the word “đang”. This question is used to ask about specific information on what the woman is currently doing. 


Thus, the question with the word “gì” is used to ask about specific information on activities, situation, differences, people, things or events.

Specific Question - WHERE

This type of question includes the word "đâu" (where), which is used to ask for specific information about a place or location. You can see this in the following example: 


Cậu bé ở đâu? 
Where is the boy?


Specific Question - WHAT

In this section we shall learn more about the specific question type using the word “gì” (what). The questions in the examples are used to ask about differences between things and their color. Take this sentence for example:

Xe ô tô màu gì? 
What color is the car?


Asking or Answering Questions Politely

When you need to ask or answer questions politely or when meeting with older people, you should show respect. The person asking or answering should add the word "ạ"at the end of sentence.

Anh cần bao nhiêu phòng ạ? 
How many rooms do you need? 


Cháu đang làm gì đấy? 
What are you doing?

Cháu đang đọc sách ạ. 
I am reading.



This is just a short introduction to Vietnamese. If you like to get a free comprehensive Vietnamese Grammar, subscribe to our Seven Day Email Course which includes a 20 page Grammar Book!

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