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Vietnamese phrasebook

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Vietnamese is one of the most spoken languages in the world, with around 90 million native speakers. It is the official language in Vietnam and also widely spoken in places where the Vietnamese have immigrated such as the United States and Australia. Vietnamese grammar is very simple: nouns and adjectives don't have genders, and verbs aren't conjugated. 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 "chữ Nôm", until Vietnam was colonised by the French.

Pronunciation guide[edit]

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 throughout this phrasebook is for Northern (Hanoi) Vietnamese, which is quite different from Southern (Saigon), North Central (Vinh) or Central (Hue) Vietnamese.

Vowels[edit]

a
like 'a' in "hat": ba (means "father").
ă
like 'u' in "cut": chăn (means "blanket").
â
like 'o' in "person": sân (means "yard" in front of back of a house).
e
like 'e' in "set": tre (means "bamboo").
ê
like 'ay' in "say": cà phê (means "coffee").
i
in the North, like 'ee' in "see" or "deed"; in the South, like 'ay' in "day": thi (means "test/exam").
o
like 'aw' in "law": lý do (means "reason").
ô
like 'o' in "go": (means "aunt", "miss" or "madam").
ơ
like 'ir' in "bird" (British English): (means "avocado" or "butter").
u
in the North, like 'oo' in "food"; in the North, like 'o' in "no": thu (means "autumn").
ư
like 'oo' in "book", with a hint of the 'i' in "lick", or like pronouncing "oo" without rounding your lips: thư (means "mail" or "letter").
y
like 'ee' in "see".

Consonants[edit]

like 'b' in "bed". Used only at the beginning of a syllable.
like 'k' in "sky".
in the South (Ho Chi Minh City), like 'y' in "yes"; in the North (Hanoi), like 'z' in "zip". Used only at the beginning of a syllable.
đ 
like 'd' in "dog". Used only at the beginning of a syllable.
like 'g' in "go". Used only at the beginning of a syllable.
like 'h' in "help". Used only at the beginning of a syllable.
like 'k' in "sky". Used only at the beginning of a syllable.
like 'l' in "love". Used only at the beginning of a syllable.
like 'm' in "mother".
like 'n' in "nice".
like 'p' in "sport". Used only at the end of a syllable, except loan words.
in the South (Ho Chi Minh City), like 'r' in "red" or 's' in "pleasure"; in the North (Hanoi), like 'z' in "zip". Used only at the beginning of a syllable.
in the North, like 's' in "set"; in the South, like 'sh' in "show". Used only at the beginning of a syllable.
like 't' in "stop".
in the North, like 'v' in "victory"; in the South, like 'y' in "yes". Used only at the beginning of a syllable.
like 's' in "set". Used only at the beginning of a syllable.
ch 
at the beginning of a syllable, like 'ch' in "touch"; at the end, like 'ck' in "sick" (but it is never enunciated) in the North and like 't' in "sit" (but it is never enunciated) in the South.
gh 
like 'g' in "go". Used only at the beginning of a syllable.
kh 
like 'ch' in "loch" or 'c' in "cat". Used only at the beginning of a syllable.
ng, ngh 
like 'ng' in "singer": Nga.
ph 
like 'f' in "fat". Used only at the beginning of a syllable.
th 
like 't' in "time". Used only at the beginning of a syllable.
tr 
like 'ch' in "chat". Used only at the beginning of a syllable.
gi 
in the North, like 'z' in "zip"; in the South, like 'y' in "yes". Used only at the beginning of a syllable.
qu 
in the North, like 'qu' in "square"; in the South, like 'w' in "we". Used only at the beginning of a syllable.

Other combinations[edit]

uy 
like 'wi' in "win".
ai 
like 'i' in "high".
ao 
like 'ow' in "now".
ay 
in the North, like 'i' in "fight"; in the South, like 'i' in "high".
au 
in the North, like 'ou' in "out"; in the South, like 'ow' in "now".
ây 
in the North, like 'ay' in "day"; in the South, like 'i' in "fight".
âu 
in the North, like 'o' in "so; in the South, like 'ou' in "out".
ia, iê 
like 'ea' in "idea".
ua, uô 
like 'ure' in "sure" (British English).
ach 
in the North, like 'ack' in "back"; in the South, like 'ut' in "cut".
êch 
in the North, like 'ake' in "cake"; in the South, like 'urt' in "hurt" (British English).
ich 
in the North, like 'ick' in "sick; in the South, like 'ot' in "carrot".
anh 
in the North, like 'ang' in "gang"; in the South, like 'un' in "fun".
ênh 
in the North, like 'ain' in "main"; in the South, like 'urn' in "turn" (British English).
inh 
in the North, like 'ing' in "sing; in the South, like 'on' in "person".

Tones[edit]

In Vietnamese, syllables can have six different tones, with five of them indicated by tone marks applied to the syllable's main vowel. Tone marks can be combined with the other diacritics.

flat
á 
high rising; example: đấy, like saying "day?"
à 
low
ã 
creaky
ả 
falling, then rising
ạ 
a low "a'ah"

Grammar[edit]

One important difference between Vietnamese and Western languages is that Vietnamese has no polite equivalent of the second-person pronoun, "you." Only very close acquaintances and friends use the second-person pronoun "May" (pronounced "mhay" with a heavy A and accentuated Y), as it is considered very impolite between strangers. It is roughly equivalent to the pronoun "Omae" in Japanese. Consider it the extreme version of misusing "Toi" in place of "Vous" in French, except there is no equivalent of "Vous" in Vietnamese. Like with many other Asian cultures, it is more socially acceptable to be aware of your formal/informal relationship to another person, and imply it through the word you use to address them.

Strange as it might sound, conversational Vietnamese takes place almost entirely in the second and third persons. For example, instead of saying "I think you are very beautiful" to a girl you like, you might say, "This older male thinks you (the younger female) very beautiful" or abridge it to "You (the younger female) are very beautiful." There is always an overt implication in how you address someone according to their age and sex.

To Western ears, talking in the third person sounds stilted and pretentious, but to Vietnamese ears, it is the social norm. Vietnamese has a word for "I", tôi, but Vietnamese would use it only in abstract or formal situations (such as public speaking, addressing a television camera, or writing in a book.) Only foreigners use tôi in conversation, which sounds stilted to Vietnamese, but they understand why it is done and come to expect it.

In conversational Vietnamese, the proper way to refer to yourself and others depends on a hierarchy of age and sex. Many of the terms have a literal meaning of family relationships, though they are used for all people on all occasions. Options include:

  • Ban (friend, pronounced "bhang" with a heavy A. Easily confused with the word "table" to hilarious effect.)
  • Con (child, pronounced "ghone", and – parents will be amused – also means animal, for example "Con chim" literally means "(that) animal (which is a) bird", and as comedic sex slang, "Con chim" also means "young boy's penis".)
  • Em (literally, younger person, generally reserved for a younger sister, younger female relative, or a female acquaintance whom you consider equal to or younger than you – refers to anyone younger than you but older than a child. It is the usual way to address your wife, girlfriend, or female lover, regardless of your own age or sex, with implications of endearment beyond daily usage of the word. Can be considered the equivalent of "my dear".)
  • Anh (older brother – man older than you by up to 10-20 years depending on how close they are. Or refers to a man of the same age as you, but whom you hold in high regard even if you are slightly older. It is also the usual way to address a husband, boyfriend, or male lover, regardless of your own age or sex, with implications of endearment beyond daily usage.)
  • Chị (older sister – woman older than you by up to 10-20 years depending on how close they are, with the implication that you feel the age between you and her does not matter. Generally only used for females slightly older than you.)
  • Chú (literally, "Mister" with implications toward "uncle". Also used to address your father's younger brother – man older than you and who you feel deserves the distinction beyond "Anh".)
  • (literally, "Miss" or "Young Mrs." – woman older than you by 10+ years, or your female teacher prior to college. Implies that you feel she is a generation older than you, but you still think she is too young to be called "Madam" or "Mrs.")
  • Bác (unisex term, used for both Sir and Madam, – refers to a mature person, generally 40 to 60 years old. Polite in that it implies you do not think the person is a senior or elderly yet.)
  • Ông (literally, "old gentleman", grandfather – refers specifically to a senior man, 50-60+ years old depending on how close you are.)
  • (literally, "Madam" or "elderly lady", grandmother – refers specifically to a senior woman, 50-60+ years old depending on how close you are.)

Choose one from the list to represent yourself, and one to represent the person you are talking to, depending on sex and relative age. For example, to get the attention of a waiter or waitress in a restaurant, say em/anh/chi oi (oi being the ubiquitous Vietnamese term for "hey"). If you listen closely, when people address you or talk about you in Vietnamese, they will be using these terms. They will be very impressed if you can master this! Nonetheless, even between natural Vietnamese people, it can get awkward when you try to figure out how to address someone who appears to be the same sex and, as far as you can tell, about the same age as you. Once you figure out their age and sex, they may have you use one of the above terms, or simply be amiable and ask you to call them "Ban", or "friend".

For simplicity, however, many phrases below are are translated without the relevant terms for you and/or your listener: For example, "How are you" is literally translated as "Healthy or not?" It is generally impolite to speak to a person without directly addressing them unless they're a subordinate, but Vietnamese usually don't take offense when foreigners omit this. Wherever you see tôi below, you can substitute one of the words above according to the circumstance.

Phrase list[edit]

The following are very commonly-used phrases. They are listed in a general order of importance:

Basics[edit]

Common signs

OPEN 
mở
CLOSED 
đóng
ENTRANCE 
lối vào
EXIT 
lối ra
PUSH 
đẩy
PULL 
kéo
TOILET 
nhà vệ sinh/wc
MEN 
nam
WOMEN 
phụ nữ
FORBIDDEN 
cấm
STOP 
thôi/dừng :


Hello. 
Xin chào. (seen chow)
Hi. 
Chào. (chow)
Hello. (on the phone
A-lô. (AH-loh)
How are you? 
Khỏe không? (kweh kohng?)
Fine, thank you. 
Khoẻ, cảm ơn. (kweh, kuhm uhhn)
What is your name? (formal, to a man (forties or older, depending on the sensitivity of the person you address)
Ông tên là gì? (ohng ten la zee)
What is your name? (formal, to a woman (forties or older, depending on the sensitivity of the person you address)
Bà tên là gì? (ba ten la zee)
What is your name? (informal, to a male who is not quite middle-aged AND/OR is not significantly older than you
Anh tên là gì? (ang ten la zee)
Note: Anh is an umbrella term for any older male figure. It's literal meaning is "older brother".
What is your name? (informal and also flattering, to a female who is not quite middle-aged AND not significantly older than you
Cô tên là gì? (koh ten la zee)
Note: There is a distinction between this and the last phrase, because in Vietnamese culture, one generally assumes that a woman, regardless of whether she looks middle-aged or not, is either not yet married, or does not yet have children, or is younger than she looks. Using "Cô" instead of "Bà" implies that you are giving her the benefit of your lack of knowledge about her. Thus, if she feels the need, she will (as a result of your flattery and politeness) correct you to use the mature "Bà" or the gender-disregarding term for an adult who is anywhere in their late thirties to fifties, "Bac" which is equivalent to "Sir" or "Madam". Some men and women prefer to be addressed as the polite and age-ambiguous "Bac" indefinitely, until they feel it is appropriate to be addressed in more mature terms.
My name is ______ . 
Tôi tên là ______ . (Toy ten la _____ .)
Please. 
Làm ơn. (lam uhhn)
Thank you. 
Cảm ơn. (kuhm uhhn)
You're welcome. 
Không sao đâu. (kohng sao doh)
Yes (affirmative)
Vâng (vuhng)
Yes (affirmative, respectful)
Dạ (Northern : zah, Southern : yah)
Yes (correct)
Đúng (doong)
No. 
Không. (kohng)
I'm sorry. 
Xin lỗi. (seen loy)
Goodbye 
Tạm biệt (tam byet)
I can't speak Vietnamese [well]. 
Tôi không biết nói tiếng Việt [giỏi lắm]. (thoy kohng byet noy tyeng vyet [zoy luhm])
Do you speak English? 
Biết nói tiếng Anh không? (byet noy tyeng ang kohng)
Is there someone here who speaks English? 
Có ai đây biết nói tiếng Anh không? (KAW eye day byet noy tyeng ang kohng)
Help! 
Cứu (tôi) với! (gih-OO (thoy) vuh-y!)
Look out! 
Cẩn thận! (guhn tuh'n!)
Good night (to sleep
Chúc ngủ ngon. (chook ngoo ngawn)
I don't understand. 
Tôi không hiểu. (toy kohng hee-oh)
Where is the toilet? (this phrase may be considered impolite)
Cầu tiêu ở đâu? (koh tee-oh uh doh). More formal and common: Nhà vệ sinh/wc ở đâu?
Be back soon 
Sẽ quay lại sớm (se-ay kway lie-ay sohm)

Problems[edit]

Leave me alone. 
Đừng làm phiền tôi. (DUHung LAHm fien Toy)
Don't touch me! 
Đừng đụng vào tôi! (DUHung DUHooung vaw Toy)
I'll call the police. 
Tôi sẽ gọi cảnh sát./Tôi sẽ gọi công an. (Toy seEh Goy Kang Sat/ Toy seEH GAWoy Kong an)
Police! 
Công an!/Cảnh sát! (Kong an!/Kang Sat)
Stop! Thief! 
Ngừng lại! Ăn trộm! (GNoong LAai! Anh Chohm!)
I need your help. 
Giúp tôi với. (zoop Toy vowi)
It's an emergency. 
Việc này khẩn cấp. (Vuec nai Kun cup)
I'm lost. 
Tôi bị lạc. (Toi bee lack)
I lost my bag. 
Tôi bị mất túi. (Toy bee mUHtt tui)
I lost my wallet. 
Tôi bị mất cái ví. (Toy bee mUHtt kai vee)
I'm sick. 
Tôi bị ốm. (Thoi bee oom)
I've been injured. 
Tôi đã bị thương. (Toy DAH bee tew-ung)
I need a doctor. 
Tôi cần một bác sĩ. (Toy Kuhn moht back see)
Can I use your phone? 
Tôi dùng điện thoại của (second person pronoun) được không? (Toi zoong dyen twai KOOuh... DUHuc KHong)

Numbers[edit]

(Phonetic approximations are in italics, and English words that sound very similar are in quotes.) When giving your age, it is common to say just the digits, e.g., "three-one" instead of "thirty-one".

Note: SV = Southern Vietnamese

     NV = Northern Vietnamese
không (kohng)
một (Northern : moht, Southern : mohk)
hai ("high")
ba (bah)
bốn ("bone")
năm ("nuhm")
sáu (sao)
bảy (bye)
tám (tahm)
chín ("cheen")
10 
mười (meui)
11 
mười một (muh-uh-ee mo'oht)
12 
mười hai (muh-uh-ee high)
13 
mười ba (muh-uh-ee bah)
14 
mười bốn (muh-uh-ee bohn?)
15 
mười lăm (muh-uh-ee lahm)
16 
mười sáu (muh-uh-ee sao?)
17 
mười bảy (muh-uh-ee bye)
18 
mười tám (muh-uh-ee thahm?)
19 
mười chín (muh-uh-ee cheen?)
20 
hai mươi (high muh-uh-ee)
21 
hai mươi mốt (high muh-uh-ee moht?)
22 
hai mươi hai (high muh-uh-ee hai)
23 
hai mươi ba (high muh-uh-ee bah)
30 
ba mươi (bah muh-uh-ee)
40 
bốn mươi (bone? muh-uh-ee)
50 
năm mươi (nahm muh-uh-ee)
60 
sáu mươi (sao? muh-uh-ee)
70 
bảy mươi (buh-ee muh-uh-ee)
80 
tám mươi (thahm? muh-uh-ee)
90 
chín mươi (cheen? muh-uh-ee)
100 
một trăm (moht cham or often just "cham")
200 
hai trăm (hai cham)
300 
ba trăm (bah cham)
1000 
một ngàn (SV)/nghìn(NV) (mo'oht ngang/ngeen...)
2000 
hai ngàn (SV)/nghìn (NV) (hai ngang/ngeen...)
1,000,000 
một triệu (mo'oht chee'ou)
1,000,000,000 
một tỷ (mo'oht thee'ee?)
1,000,000,000,000 
một ngàn (SV)/nghìn (NV) tỷ
number _____ (train, bus, etc.
số _____ ("so?")
half 
nửa (neu-uh?)
less 
ít hơn (eet huhhhn)
more 
hơn (huhn), thêm (tehm)

Time[edit]

now 
bây giờ (bay zuh...)
later 
lát nữa (laht? neu'uh?)
before 
trước (cheuck?)
morning 
sáng (sang?)
afternoon 
chiều (chew)
evening, night 
tối (toy), đêm (dehm)

Clock time[edit]

one o'clock AM 
một giờ sáng (moht zuh sahng?)
two o'clock AM 
hai giờ sáng (high zuh sahng?)
noon 
trưa (cheu-uh)
one o'clock PM 
một giờ chiều (moht zuh chew)
two o'clock PM 
hai giờ chiều (high zuh chew)
midnight 
nửa đêm (neu-uh dehm)

Duration[edit]

_____ minute(s) 
_____ phút (foot)
_____ hour(s) 
_____ tiếng (tyeng?)
_____ day(s) 
_____ ngày (ngai)
_____ week(s) 
_____ tuần (twuhn)
_____ month(s) 
_____ tháng (tahng?)
_____ year(s) 
_____ năm (num)

Days[edit]

today 
hôm nay (home nai)
yesterday 
hôm qua (hohm quah)
tomorrow 
mai (my)
the day after tomorrow, 
ngày mốt (SV) (ngay moak)/ ngày kia
this week 
tuần nay (twuhn nai)
last week 
tuần qua (twuhn quah)
next week 
tuần sau (twuhn sao)

The days of the week are simply numbered, with the exception of Sunday:

Sunday 
chủ nhật (choo nyuht.)
Monday 
thứ hai (teu? hai)
Tuesday 
thứ ba (teu? ba)
Wednesday 
thứ tư (teu? teu)
Thursday 
thứ năm (teu? nuhm!)
Friday 
thứ sáu (teu? sao?!)
Saturday 
thứ bảy (teu? bai?)

Months[edit]

Vietnamese does not have special names for each month. Instead, the months are simply numbered. Take the word tháng and add the month's number (see #Numbers above). For example:

March
tháng 3 / tháng ba (tahng? ba)

Writing time and date[edit]

Friday, December 17, 2004
Thứ sáu, ngày 17 tháng 12 năm 2004
12/17/2004
17/12/2004
2:36 AM
Hai giờ 36 sáng
2:36 PM
Hai giờ 36 chiều
Two in the morning
Hai giờ sáng
Two in the afternoon
Hai giờ chiều
Ten in the evening
Mười giờ đêm
Half past two
Hai giờ rưỡi
Noon
Trưa; 12 giờ trưa
Evening
Nửa đêm; 12 giờ đêm

Colors[edit]

When describing the color of an object etc., use the word below. When referring to the color itself, use màu or mầu followed by the word below.

black 
đen (den)
white 
trắng (chung?!)
gray 
xám (sam?)
red 
đỏ (daw... aw?)
blue 
xanh nước (sang neu-uhk?)
yellow 
vàng (vang...)
green 
xanh (lá cây) (sang lah? kay)
orange 
cam (kahm)
purple 
tím (teem)
brown 
nâu (no)

Transportation[edit]

Bus and train[edit]

How much is a ticket to _____? 
Một vé đến _____ là bao nhiêu? (mo'oht veah? dehn? _____ lah... bao nyee-oh)
One ticket to _____, please. 
Xin cho tôi một vé đến _____. (seen chaw toy mo'oht veah? dehn? _____)
Where does this train/bus go? 
Tàu/xe này đi đâu? (tao.../seh nay...! dee doh)
Where is the train/bus to _____? 
Tàu/xe đi đến _____ ở đâu? (tao.../seh dee dehn _____ uh...uh? doh)
Does this train/bus stop in _____? 
Tàu/xe này có ngừng tại _____ không? (tao.../seh nay...! kaw? ngeung... thah'ee _____ kohng)
When does the train/bus for _____ leave? 
Tàu/xe đi _____ chạy lúc nào? (tao.../seh dee _____ chai loohk? nahh-oh...)
When will this train/bus arrive in _____? 
Khi nào tàu/xe này xẽ đến _____? (kee now tao.../seh nay...! seh'uh? dehn? _____)

Directions[edit]

How do I get to _____ ? 
Làm sao tôi đến được _____ ? (...)
...the train station? 
...nhà ga? (niah gah)
...the bus station? 
...trạm xe buýt? (cham seh bweet)
...the airport? 
...phi trường (SV) (fee cheu-uhng...); ...sân bay? (NV) (...)
...downtown? 
...thành phố? (...)

How do I get downtown?

Xuống thành phố làm sao? (Soo-uhng? thanh foh? lahm... sao)
...the youth hostel? 
...nhà trọ cho khách du lịch? (...)
...the _____ hotel? 
...khách sạn _____? (...)
...the American/Canadian/Australian/British consulate? 
...tòa lãnh sự Mỹ/Canada/Úc/Anh? (...)
Where are there a lot of... 
Nơi nào có nhiều... (...)
...hotels? 
...khách sạn? (Northern : kack san, Southern : cut sang)
...restaurants? 
...nhà hàng? (nyah hang)
...bars? 
...quán rượu? (...)
...sites to see? 
...thắng cảnh? (...)
Can you show me on the map? 
Chỉ trên bản đồ cho tôi được không? (...)
street 
đường (dew-uhng)
Turn left. 
Quẹo trái. (SV) (...)/rẽ trái (NV)
Turn right. 
Quẹo phải. (SV) (...)/ rẽ phải (NV)
left 
trái(...)
right 
phải (...)
straight ahead 
trước mặt (...)
towards the _____ 
tiến đến _____ (...)
past the _____ 
qua _____ (...)
before the _____ 
trước _____ (...)
Watch for the _____. 
Canh chừng _____. (SV)(...)/ Cẩn thận ______ (NV)
intersection 
ngã ba/tư/năm/sáu/bảy (3/4/5/6/7-way intersection) (...)
north 
bắc (buck)
south 
nam (nam)
east 
đông (dohng)
west 
tây (tay)
uphill 
lên dốc (len dohk)
downhill 
xuống dốc (soo-uhng dohk)

Taxi[edit]

Taxi! 
Tắc xi! (tuck see)
Take me to _____, please. 
Làm ơn đưa/chở tôi đến______. (...)
How much does it cost to get to _____? 
Mất bao nhiêu tiền để đến________? (...)
Take me there, please. 
Làm ơn đưa tôi đến đó/đấy. (...)

Lodging[edit]

Do you have any rooms available? 
Có còn phòng không? (...)
How much is a room for one person/two people? 
Giá phòng cho một/hai người là bao nhiêu? (...)
Does the room come with... 
Trong phòng có ... không? (...)
...bedsheets? 
...ga trải gường? (...)
...a bathroom? 
...phòng vệ sinh? (...); ...phòng tắm
...a telephone? 
...phôn ("phone"); ...điện thoại? (dee-uhn twai)
...a TV? 
...tivi? (tee vee)
May I see the room first? 
Tôi xem phòng trước có được không? (...)
Do you have anything quieter? 
Có phòng nào yên tĩnh hơn không? (...)
...bigger? 
...lớn hơn không? (...)
...cleaner? 
...sạch hơn không? (...)
...cheaper? 
...rẻ hơn không? (...)
OK, I'll take it. 
OK, tôi lấy phòng này. (...)
I will stay for _____ night(s). 
Tôi sẽ ở _____ đêm. (...)
Can you suggest another hotel? 
Có thể giới thiệu cho tôi một khách sạn khác được không? (...)
Do you have a safe? 
Có két an toàn không? (...)
...lockers? 
... tủ gửi đồ? (...)
Is breakfast/supper included? 
Có kèm theo bữa sáng/tối không? (...)
What time is breakfast/supper? 
Ăn sáng/tối lúc mấy giờ? (...)
Please clean my room. 
Xin hãy dọn phòng tôi. (...)
Can you wake me at _____? | Xin đánh thức tôi dậy lúc _____? (...)
I want to check out. 
Tôi muốn check out. (...)

Money[edit]

Do you accept American/Australian/Canadian dollars? 
Có lấy đô la Mỹ/Úc/Canada không? (...)
Do you accept British pounds? 
Có lấy bảng Anh không? (...)
Do you accept credit cards? 
Có nhận thẻ tín dụng không? (...)
Can you change money for me? 
Đổi tiền cho tôi được không? (...)
Where can I get money changed? 
Tôi có thể đi đổi tiền ở đâu? (...)
Can you change a traveler's check for me? 
Có thể đổi séc du lịch cho tôi được không? (...)
Where can I get a traveler's check changed? 
Tôi có thể đổi séc du lịch ở đâu? (...)
What is the exchange rate? 
Tỷ giá là bao nhiêu? (...)
Where is an automatic teller machine (ATM)? 
Máy rút tiền (ATM) ở đâu? (...)

Eating[edit]

A table for one person/two people, please. 
Cho tôi một bàn cho một/hai người. (...)
Can I look at the menu, please? 
Cho tôi xem menu? (...)
Can I look in the kitchen? 
Cho tôi xem nhà bếp được không? (...)
Is there a house specialty? 
Quán ăn này có món đặc sản nào không? (...)
Is there a local specialty? 
Ở vùng này có món đặc sản nào không? (...)
I'm a vegetarian. 
Tôi ăn chay. (...)
I don't eat pork. 
Tôi không ăn thịt heo (SV)/lợn (NV). (...)
I don't eat beef. 
Tôi không ăn thịt bò. (...)
I eat only kosher food. 
Tôi chỉ ăn thức ăn kosher thôi. (...)
Can you make it "lite", please? (less oil/butter/lard
Can you make it "lite", please? (...)
fixed-price meal 
bữa ăn giá cố định (...)
à la carte 
gọi theo món (...)
breakfast 
bữa sáng (boo... ee? sahng?)
lunch 
bữa trưa (boo-uh? cheu-uh)
tea (meal
nước trà (nook chah)
supper 
bữa chiều (boo... ee? chee-oh...)
I want _____. 
Tôi muốn _____.
I want a dish containing _____. 
Tôi muốn/xin một đĩa có _____. (...)
chicken 
(thịt) gà (teet. gah...)
beef 
(thịt) bò (teet. baw...)
fish 
cá (kah?)
ham 
giăm bông (zuhm bohng)
sausage 
xúc xích (sook? sick?)
cheese 
pho mát (faw maht?)
eggs 
trứng (chuhng?)
salad 
xà lách (sah... lack?)
(fresh) vegetables 
rau (tươi) (zao theu-uh-ee)
(fresh) fruit 
trái cây (tươi) (chai? kai)
bread 
bánh mì (bang mee...)
toast 
bánh mì nướng (bang mee... neu-uhng?)
noodles 
mì (mee...)
rice (cooked; as a dish) 
cơm (kuhm)
rice (uncooked) 
gạo ("gah-ow.")
beans (like mung beans) 
đậu (doe.)
beans (like coffee beans) 
hột (hoht.)
May I have a glass of _____? 
Cho tôi xin một ly (SV)/cố (NV) _____? (...)
May I have a cup of _____? 
Cho tôi xin một ly (SV)/cố (NV) _____? (...)
May I have a bottle of _____? 
Cho tôi xin một chai _____? (...)
coffee 
cà phê (ka... fay)
tea (drink
nước trà (neu-uk? chah...)
_____ juice 
nước _____ (neu-uk?)
bubbly water 
nước ngọt (neu-uk? ngawt.)
water 
nước (neu-uk?)
wine 
rượu vang (Northern Vietnamese : zew vang, Southern Vietnamese : ro vang)
beer 
bia (bee-uh)
red/white wine 
rượu đỏ/trắng (zew. daw... aw? / chahng?!)
May I have some _____? 
Cho tôi xin một ít_____? (seen)
salt 
muối (moo-ee?)
black pepper 
hạt tiêu (haht. tew)
butter 
bơ (buh)
Excuse me, waiter? (getting attention of server)
Em ơi! Làm ơn... (...)
I'm finished. 
Xong rồi. (saong zoy...)
It was delicious. 
Ngon lắm. (ngawn luhm)
Please clear the plates. 
Xin hãy dọn đĩa đi. (...)
The check, please. 
Thanh toán tiền. (...)

Bars[edit]

Do you serve alcohol? 
Có rượu ở đây không? (...)
Is there table service? 
(...)
A beer/two beers, please. 
Xin một/hai ly rượu. (...)
A glass of red/white wine, please. 
Xin một ly rượu đỏ/trắng. (...)
A pint, please. 
(...)
A bottle, please. 
Xin một chai. (...)
_____ (hard liquor) and _____ (mixer), please. 
(...)
whiskey 
uýt-ky (weet-kee)
vodka 
rượu vôtca (Northern : zew vote-kah, Southern : ro vawt-kah)
champagne 
sâm banh (shum bang)
cognac 
cô nhắc (ko nyuck)
rum 
rượu rum (Northern : zew room, Southern : ro ruhm)
water 
nước (neu-uhck?)
soda pop 
nước ngọt (neu-uhck? ngawt.)
club soda 
(...)
tonic water 
(...)
orange juice 
nước cam (neu-uhck? kam)
cola 
côla (koh-lah)
Do you have any bar snacks? 
(...)
One more, please. 
Xin một ly/chai nữa. (...)
Another round, please. 
(...)
When is closing time? 
Bao giờ đóng cửa? (Bow zuh... downg? keu-uh?)

Shopping[edit]

Do you have this in my size? 
Có size của tôi không?
How much (money) is this? 
Bao nhiêu (tiền)? (bahw ngew tee-uhn...)
That's too expensive. 
Đắt quá. (daht?! kwahh?)
Would you take _____? 
Lấy giúp tôi _____ được không? (lay? _____ deu'uhk kohng)
expensive 
đắt (daht?!)
cheap 
rẻ (zeh?)
I can't afford it. 
Tôi không có đủ tiền mua. (toy kohng kaw? doo...oo? tee-uhn... moo-uh)
I don't want it. 
Tôi không muốn. (toy kohng moo-uhn?)
You're cheating me. 
Cô/Bạn/Anh/Chị/Chú/Bác đang lừa tôi.
I'm not interested. 
Tôi không quan tâm. (Toy cohng kwan taam)
OK, I'll take it. 
Ô-kê, tôi lấy. (Oh-kay, toy lay)
Can I have a bag? 
Có bao (SV)/túi (NV) không? (kaw? bahw kohng)
Do you ship (overseas)? 
Có thể gởi (SV)/gửi (NV) đồ ra (nước ngoài) không? (...)
I need... 
Tôi cần... (toy cuhn...)
...toothpaste. 
...kem đánh răng. (kem dang? zung)
...a toothbrush. 
...bàn chải đánh răng. (bahn... chah-ee? dang? zung)
...tampons. 
băng vệ sinh
...soap. 
...xà bông. (sah... bohng)
...shampoo. 
...dầu gội. (...)
...pain reliever. (e.g., aspirin or ibuprofen
...thuốc giảm đau. (too-uhc? zah...ahm? dahw!)
...cold medicine. 
...thuốc cảm. (...)
...stomach medicine. 
...thuốc đau bụng. (...)
...a razor. 
...dao cạo râu. (zahw kah'oh zoh)
...an umbrella. 
...dù (SV)/ ô (NV). (zoo...)
...sunblock lotion. 
...kem chống nắng. (...)
...a postcard. 
...bưu thiếp. (...)
...postage stamps. 
...tem. (tem)
...batteries. 
...pin. (peen)
...writing paper. 
...giấy. (yay?!)
...a pen. 
...bút mực. (boot?! muck)
...a pencil. 
...bút chì. (boot?! chee...)
...English-language books. 
sách tiếng Anh. (...)
...English-language magazines. 
...tạp chí Anh ngữ (formal)/tiếng anh (informal). (tahp chee? ang-ngeu'eu?)
...an English-language newspaper. 
...báo Anh ngữ (formal)/tiếng Anh (informal). (bahw? ang-ngeu'eu?)
...an English-English dictionary. 
...từ điển Anh-Anh. (theu... dee-en? ang-ang)

Driving[edit]

I want to rent a car. 
Tôi muốn thuê xe. (toy moo-uhn? thuee seh)
Can I get insurance? 
Có bảo hiểm cho tôi không? (kaw? bah...oo hee...m? chaw toy khohng)
stop (on a street sign
ngừng/dừng (ngung/dung)
one way 
một chiều (mote chew)
yield 
sản lượng (san loong)
no parking 
đừng/không đậu (SV)/đỗ (NV) xe (dung doh seh)
speed limit 
giới hạn tốc độ (zuh-ee han toke doe)
gas (petrol) station 
cây xăng (kay sung!)
petrol 
xăng (sung!)
diesel 
động cơ điêzen ("dohng kuh dee-eh-zen ")

Authority[edit]

I haven't done anything wrong. 
Tôi chưa làm gì sai. (toy cheu-uh lam zee sai?)
It was a misunderstanding. 
Chỉ là hiểu lầm thôi. (chee...ee? lah... hee...oh? luhm... toy)
Where are you taking me? 
Ông đang dẫn tôi đi đâu? (ohng dahng yuh'n? toy dee duhw)
I am an American/Australian/British/Canadian citizen. 
Tôi là công dân Mỹ/Úc/Anh/Ca-na-đa. (toy lah... kohng yuhn mee'ee? / ook / ang / kah-nah-dah)
I want to talk to the (American/Australian/British/Canadian) (embassy/consulate). 
Tôi cần phải nói chuyện với (đại sứ quán/lãnh sự) (Mỹ/Úc/Anh/Ca-na-đa). (toy kuhn... fah...ee? naw-ee? cheu-ee'n vuh-ee? (dah'i seu? kwahn?/lay'ng? seu'eu) (mee'ee?/ook/ang/kah-nah-dah)
I want to talk to a lawyer. 
Tôi muốn nói chuyện với luật sư. (...)
Can I just pay a fine now? 
Tôi chỉ trả tiền phạt thôi được không? (...)

Learning more[edit]

This is a usable phrasebook. It explains pronunciation and the bare essentials of travel communication. An adventurous person could use it to get by, but please plunge forward and help it grow!

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