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Vietnamese Translation
15th-Sep-2008 01:16 pm(no subject)
twilight time
cross posted to translateplease

I am looking to translate some song lyrics from English to VietNamese.
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30th-Aug-2008 06:26 pm(no subject)
Hi, I'm Vietnamese but I was born in Australia and I speak both vietnamese and english fluently. If anyone's interested, I post translations of popular vietnamese songs from time to time, and if you've got a request, I'm happy to take it up.

Also, for the younger vietnamese community, http://mp3.zing.vn is a great website to listen & download free viet music. What are you waiting for? ^^
24th-Aug-2008 08:58 pm - Just a novice here!
Ao Dai, Non La
Hi everyone! I'm a third years student in VietNam. I'm now trying to make a blog about VietNamese culture, included Food, Drink, Travel... and so on.
I'm new here, so nice to meet you all.
8th-Aug-2008 03:08 pm - You and I
One of the biggest "barriers to entry" in learning Vietnamese is the complicated confusion of forms of address. Speakers of Western European languages are accustomed to have only a handful of pronouns. This post is a listing of many of the forms of address used in Vietnamese.

First a bit of grammar: Most languages have three "persons". The first person pronoun refers to the speaker (I, we), the second person is the listener (you), and the third person is not the speaker or the listener (he, she, it, they). There are usually more than one pronoun for each person. Most often because there are separate singular and plural forms, but some languages also have formal and informal forms. In Vietnamese, the same word can be used in first, second, or third person because its usage is not based on who is speaking, but instead is based on the relationships between the speaker, listener, and the described. There are only a few words that are limited to one grammatical person. For example, when I talk to my friend Hiền, I call myself "anh" and I call her "em". She also refers to herself as "em" and calls me "anh". When she talks to our mutual friend Linh, she calls Linh "em" and she calls herself "chị". "Anh" means "older brother" so they both call me that and I call myself that when I talk to them. They both call themselves "em" which is "younger sibling" when they talk to me, but only Linh uses "em" when they talk to each other because they can't both be "em" to each other. Hiền is older so she is "chị" or "older sister" when they talk to each other. Most forms of address are family terms.

Let's start with the most common ones.

Tôi: First person. This is a formal way of referring to yourself when you are talking to people you aren't really familiar with. It literally means "servant" or "subject" and this is how people used to talk to kings. Today it just means "I". People in the city are less formal than in the countryside, so you can generally switch to another form of address fairly soon after meeting them.

Bạn: Second person. This literally means "friend". This word is used when you don't know what else to call someone. If you aren't sure of their age or gender, call them "bạn". Most often used in writing or broadcasting (where the communication is one-way and the audience is unknown). I've rarely heard this used in person except in the plural when addressing a crowd.

Anh: "Big brother". This is used as a title for a man under 50, like "Mister". When talking personally to people, this is used for men close to your own age but older. If they're much older, you can call them "chú" or "ông".

Chị: "Big Sister". This is used as a title for a woman under 45, like "Miss" or "Ms." This is used to talk to woman that are close to your age but older. According to proper etiquette, you should address any young woman you meet as "chị" even if you think she might be younger than you because it's more formal and polite. I've found that no woman wants to be called "chị" if she can be called "em". Every woman I call "chị" immediately asks how old I am and tells me to call her "em" if she's younger than me. It's the Vietnamese equivalent of "Do I look like a ma'am to you?"

Em: "Younger sibling". This is used as a title for minors. When speaking personally to people, this is used for people younger than you. It's impolite to use this with people you don't know unless they are obviously much, much younger than you or they are in a socially inferior position. For example, I'm a 32 year old man. When I meet a woman in her mid to late 20s, I would normally call her "chị" to be polite and let her tell me to call her "em", but if she's a waitress or a sales clerk or some other service person, then I'll just call her "em" in the first place unless she's obviously older than me. In romantic relationships, the woman is always called "em" and the man is "anh" even if the woman is older (although that rarely happens in Vietnam). I'm not sure how it works in gay relationships, but they probably just go by age.

Ông: "Grandfather". This is a title for men over 50. It's used to talk to men much older than yourself or who really outrank you. For example, if you worked for a big company, you might call your supervisor "anh" but the vice-president or director of the company would be "ông". This can also be used for younger men to show greater respect and formality.

Bà: "Grandmother". This is a title for women over 45 (women generally get married and have kids at a younger age than men). It's used when speaking to women much older than yourself or just old in general, like "ma'am".

The above phrases cover most cases that you will need when talking to new people.

Chú: "Uncle (father's younger brother)". This is used for a man much older than you but not as old as your father. It's less formal, but a bit more flattering in a way, than "ông". I use this when I talk to my landlord and the 14 year old boy that works at the noodle shop where I have lunch calls me this. This is also used as a title for talking animal characters in cartoons and comics.

Cô: "Aunt (father's younger sister)". This is used for talking to women older than you but not really old. It's a more formal way to refer to young woman than "chị" or "em" like saying "Miss" in English. It's also used to address female teachers.

Thầy: "Master/teacher". This is used to address male teachers and monks.

Bác: "Father's older sibling". This is used for men or women who are older than your parents. I like this one because it's really versatile.

Cụ: "Great-grandparent". This is used to address really old people. If an old lady looks like a 3 foot tall leather muppet, she's probably too old to be just "bà" so you can call her "cụ".

Tớ: First person used with close friends.
Cậu: "Mother's younger brother". Second person used with close friends.

Tao: Arrogant first person. Used when talking to animals or with people you consider to be inferior (usually used while swearing and saying rude things).
Mày: Inferior second person. Used when talking to animals or when telling someone off.

There are many other forms of address used with members of your family and there are many archaic forms of address that I've only encountered in movies set in the feudal past. Maybe I'll put those in another post later.
23rd-Jul-2008 07:11 pm - ?

i don't speak vietnamese, other than a few words, but i have several friends who do. i want to surprise them with having learned a few new words or phrases when i see them friday.

also, i'd like to know how to say "the line should be very thin" thin, or narrow

i have major problems pronouncing so any help with that would be appreciated too! thanks


Hi guys,

I am a fourth year student in Vietnam. I am doing a survey for my graduation paper from my university. The theme is to compare the compliment behavior between English speaking countries and Asian countries. I am desperated to look for as much as possible English speaking people (in Western countries better) to fill in my questionnaire. It is not too long, you can do it in around 4 minutes. But it means so much to me.


I send here the file (Word) of my questionnaire. If anyone from English speaking countries passing by and see it, pls help me.   I really appreciate it.

Thanks a lot and sorry if this is not allowed.


After that, pls send it back to me on my email : bewitchedman@gmail.com

Here the link:




(link from sunflower1343 - who is so kind to help me post on her journal)

Bouncing dots
sư biến mất. This means dissolving or disappearing right?
Also, how would one pronounce that phonetically? It would be helpful if English words were used for pronunciation help. I don't really understand how to read phonetics dictionary style. thanks.
Bouncing dots
Ok, I'm really not trying to spread hate, nor am I going to be irresponsible or immature with what I learn. This question is for an actual school art project to do with sexism, racism, etc.

If this post creates any problems or gives the wrong message I'd be glad to delete it (though I hope to at least get a point in the right direction first...)

In any case, does anyone know an internet site / source of reference for derogatory terms or modern insults in Vietnamese?

If anyone could give me some specific examples that would be great too. I'd even converse over email or instant messenger if the content would be inappropriate for this community.

I actually need a particular type of insult(s) but I worry that asking so on this community would be pushing some line. Is there anyone or anyway I can ask this too, without causing trouble?

Thank you great fully.
3rd-Apr-2008 01:02 pm - Feet Four Character Idioms
Here are a set of four character idioms about "chân" (leg or foot).

"Chân cứng đá mềm" is "hard foot, soft stone". This is used to describe a strong force.

"Chân giày chân dép" is "shoe foot, slipper foot". This means "to be in a great hurry" like someone who runs out the door half-dressed.

"Chân lấm tay bùn" is "spotted feet, muddy hands". This refers to toiling in the fields.

"Chân sơn mình rỗi" is "painted legs, free self". I don't really understand what this means. It is supposed to mean "not occupied with children". Maybe the idea is that busy mothers don't have time for pedicures.

"Chân tơ kẽ tóc" is "silk foot, hair interval". This refers to doing things in the fullest detail.

"Chân trong chân ngoài" is "one foot in, one foot out". It means half-hearted.

"Chân ướt chân ráo" is "wet foot, dry foot". It refers to a newcomer who is "fresh off the boat".
Greetings. I'm a student of Japanese history, art, culture, etc, with a strong interest in other parts of the region, particularly Vietnam. Among my various research interests/projects is early 17th century relations, interactions, trade between Tokugawa Japan and southern Viet Nam under the Nguyen lords. I'm afraid I have not yet had the opportunity to study Vietnamese, though I hope to in the future.

I don't know if anyone here knows much about historical terminology, or about the Vietnamese use/meanings of Han characters (Hán-Nôm?). The Nom Foundation lookup tool is wonderfully useful for looking up individual words, from Quốc ngữ to characters and back, but...

Just two questions for now - if it's no trouble, I may come back with more. In reading the letters sent between Nguyen Hoang and Tokugawa Ieyasu, along with the Japanese commentary on these documents, I am coming across the following terms of which I am not fully clear on the meaning or origin or connotation.

*都元帥 - this appears to refer to the post or title of Nguyen Hoang, though the precise meaning, and any relevant historical context, connotation, eludes me.
*瑞国 (thuỵ quốc?) - I'm guessing this refers to southern Viet Nam, i.e. the Nguyen territory. But what's this actually mean?

As long as we're here, what is the most common, or most correct, name for that political entity, which might otherwise be called southern Vietnam or Cochinchina, i.e. the lands under Nguyen rule which were not under Trinh rule? I've heard the words Quinam and Quang Nam used, but are either of these more correct than the other? Is there an even more correct term? What Han tu would be used to write these?

I apologize for the long post, and the very historical specialist nature of my questions. Any help you might offer would be most appreciated.

(x-posted to vietnamese)
25th-Mar-2008 11:54 pm - quick translation
嵐 ★  相葉ちゃん → ピッス

Could anyone translate for me the following questions? I know all the words, but overall meaning is unclear for me ;/

'Qua câu chuyện của cụ với tác giả, bạn cho biết cụ là ai? Đến công viên làm gì?'

Thanks in advance!
10th-Feb-2008 12:32 pm - WANTED: translators

We’re planning to publish a collection of translations of the poem “Might fame to descendents I leave…” by the late Gennady Grigoryev:



Might fame to descendents I leave in my will?

For any of you – bear in mind –

There is no inheritance, zero, nil,

There's nothing I’m leaving behind.


Crimea, the Baltic, the wash of the sea,

The yacht and the mast with a sail


This life when I go I am taking with me,

So live without life.

Live and wail.



11 Feb. 2003


Translated by Max Orkis © 2008

Our goal is to translate this poem into as many languages as possible – the more the merrier, including Latin and other ancient tongues.

Translators are invited to post their texts as separate entries. We urge you to use tags (e.g., Finnish, Spanish, correction, draft, etc.) and not to get carried away inventing new ones.

You’ll get what’s coming to you: your translation will be published (if it gets approved by our experts). NB: there will be no monetary reward; we can only afford publication expenses.

Only one translation into each of the languages will be published. Comments and collaboration are, therefore, strongly encouraged.

Heading this project are Yevgueniy Myakishev, Nutty Professor Bolduman, Gennady Grigoryev’s son, and Max Orkis.


For your convenience, we’ve opened a new community:





Come join us!


Please spread the word!




27th-Dec-2007 06:28 pm - Where's your finger?
I have been rather busy recently and just returned from a trip to Thailand. It's good to be home again. It's odd that I never feel homesick for America after being in Vietnam for over a year, but I was homesick for Vietnam after only a few days in Thailand.

Here are a couple of new words that I learned last night:

Móc: A hook. To hook or pick something out. If you snag your sleeve on a nail, this is the verb to describe what you did. This is also the equivalent of "pick" in English in the context of "pick your nose" or "pick a pocket".

Ngoáy: To swirl around in a hollow cavity. This is what you do with your spoon when you stir sugar into your coffee and this is what you do with your finger when you are trying to get something out of your nose or ear.

Ngoảy: Possibly related to the last word, this is a verb that means "to turn away in anger". If you double it (ngoay ngoảy), it is "to turn away in anger without saying a word".
27th-Nov-2007 11:58 pm - Just a couple of things...
Lâu rồi không gặp (Long time no see)

I've been rather busy lately, but I think I should make more of an effort to post some new vocabulary here once in a while. Like the title says, here are some words related to "couple".

Things that come in pairs are referred to as "đôi". For example, "chopstick" is "đua" and a "pair of chopsticks" is "đôi đua". This also works for shoes, tennis matches (men's doubles, women's doubles, or mixed doubles), and other things. The word "chiếc" is used as a classifier to indicate a single item that normally comes in pairs like "a single chopstick". "Chiếc" is also used like "cái" to refer to certain inanimate objects. I'm still not entirely clear on when you can use "chiếc" and when you have to use "cái". The only explanations I have heard or seen so far have said that "chiếc" is only used for "cute" objects or "nice things" like cars. If anyone out there can clarify "chiếc" for me, I would appreciate it. If not, I'm going to stick with using "cái". "Đôi" is combined with "khi" ("when") to form the equivalent of "sometimes" ("đôi khi") and with the number 3 ("ba") to make an equivalent of "a few" ("đôi ba"). When used with the number eight, it makes "đôi tám" ("a couple of eights") to refer to young people in their mid-teens (around 16 years old).

When talking about people, there is another word for "couple", which is easy to remember because it sounds like the beginning of "couple". That word is "cặp". I learned "cặp" from a sad young woman who speaks no English. I asked her how she was doing and she said "không khỏe". After repeated uses of "tại sao" on my part, I reached the root of the problem: "không có cặp" (she "doesn't have couple", or she's single). This is much easier for me to understand than "chiếc" because "cặp" is apparently only used with people (which is simpler and less objective to understand than "cute things").
15th-Nov-2007 12:04 pm - chao cac ban, toi la nguoi Nga
Nice to meet you all. Ten toi la Tuyet.
I am Russian, studied Vietnamese for 5 years, 1 year in Hanoi.

I translated several stories of Nam Cao.
I like Vietnamese literature a lot!
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