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Vietnamese Translation
Grammar Lesson: Classifier "con" 
8th-Nov-2009 02:08 pm
Vietnamese uses words called classifiers (loại từ) with most nouns to differentiate them. The classifier "cái" is used with things and "con" is used with animals. However, "con" is also used with certain "animal-like things" which are exceptions to the rule. These exceptions just need to be learned by heart and include the following words:

con dường: road
con dao: knife
con sông: river
con đê: dyke
con thuyền: boat
con tàu: ship
con mắt: eye
con ngươi: pupil (in the center of the eye)
con bài: playing card
con cù: top (spinning toy)
con quay: another word for "con cù"
con cúi: a roll of cotton
con giống: little toy animals
con lắc: pendulum
con nước: tide
con rối: puppet
con số: a number or numeral
con tính: a mathematical problem
con khăng: the "cat" in a game of tip-cat
con lăn: roller

I'm not sure why most of these things are considered "animal-like" (the puppets and toy animals are obvious), but I guess it's similar to how ships are referred to as "she" in English.
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