If you travel to Vietnam, you might get some friends for a drink or hang out sometimes. Drinking is a fun and easy way to get to know people. You can also make friends with local people without knowing a lot of Vietnamese words.
I'm sure that they will teach you how to cheers in Vietnamese when they have a chance, but why don't we learn some today so you can impress them?
If in English, you say Cheers!, in Vietnamese we say 'Dzô!' (sounds like Yo!). Dzô is actually not a correctly written word according to the Vietnamese writing system. However, everyone nowadays accepts it and it is widely used.
Dzô is pronounced like Yo in English. This pronunciation is from the south of Vietnam. In the North, people pronounce it as 'zô' with the sound of /z/.
To help everyone around a table cheers at the same time, people will count from one to three before saying 'dzô'. To count in Vietnamese, you can say 'một, hai, ba' with correct tones or if it's too hard, just say 'mot, hai, ba' without tones. People can still understand you.
So, the full sentence will be 'Một, hai, ba, dzô!' or 'mot, hai, ba, yo!'. After that, you can smile and put your glass to the center of the crowd.
There is a longer version to cheers this way. People will say:
Một, hai, ba, dzô!
Hai, ba, dzô!
Hai, ba, uống!
'Uống' means to drink. Only after the word is spoken, everyone starts to drink.
'Trăm phần trăm' or 'Một trăm phần trăm' both mean a hundred percent (100%). You will drink all the alcohol you have in your glass.
If you don't want to drink a hundred percent, try to bargain with the next phrase 'năm mươi phần trăm'.
'Năm mươi phần trăm' is translated as fifty percent (50%). You can bargain with your friends to drink just half of your glass.
You can also reduce it to 'hai lăm phần trăm' (twenty-five percent, 25%). It is a fun way to drink less and save alcohol for more rounds.
With the similar meaning to 'trăm phần trăm', people also use 'cạn chén' or 'cạn ly'. 'Cạn' means drying out. 'Chén' or 'ly' both mean glass but one is in Northern dialect and the other one is in Southern dialect respectively.
'Cạn chén' or 'cạn ly' sound a bit less fun and exciting than 'trăm phần trăm' but they are also widely used.
'Không say không về' is spoken when you and your friends want to have a long drinking session. It means that you will only go home when you are drunk. This phrase is used just for fun so you don't need to freak out when you hear someone saying it.
'Cụm' can be translated as a group of something. It also means to put many things together. 'Cụm chén' is used in the North of Vietnam while 'cụm ly' is used in the South.
It is nice to say 'chúc sức khoẻ' that means 'to your health' or 'I wish you good health'. The phrase is useful when you cheer with an older person to show your respect. In this situation, you will rarely use 'dzô' or 'một, hai, ba, dzô!'.
'Nâng ly' means to lift up your glass, usually a glass of wine or champagne. It is a formal phrase so people usually say it at formal events like a wedding party or a company's event.
You can also make friends with local people without drinking alcohol. Let's learn some beverage names to order when you hang out with friends.
Below are more words used in drinking alcohol. You might hear your friends saying them a lot so it's good to learn and understand them now.
Drinking is a popular thing in Vietnamese culture. If you compare the prices of beer in Vietnam and nearby countries like Thailand, you will see that beer in Vietnam is much cheaper.
Drinking (or 'nhậu') is especially popular in the South of Vietnam. People can drink and hangout from 10 am to midnight or from 2 pm to early morning the next day easily.
Vietnamese usually cheer many times. They can take any reasons just to cheer and have fun together. When they say '1, 2, 3, cheers!', usually a person in the group will shout out loud and everyone else can follow.
When Vietnamese people cheer, they rarely look into each other's eyes. Probably they are too shy to do that. But in general, you can still have fun and a good time with them.
Now you can go party and practice new Vietnamese phrases you just learned. You can also learn Vietnamese with the Ling app before or after the party as well 😉