Greetings In Vietnamese: 6 Phrases You Need To Know

Greetings In Vietnamese Ling App Girl Hand Sign

Vietnamese is a beautiful language with unique sounds that can be difficult for learners to master. But hey, no worries! We’re here to help you learn greetings in Vietnamese so you can talk to native speakers and make new friends.

As you know, the Vietnamese language can be challenging to learn. It’s full of tones, has different writing systems, and relies heavily on context for meaning.

So, if you want to make a good impression on Vietnamese speakers, it’s important to know some basic greetings. Read more to find out how to greet people in Vietnam and learn some useful phrases that will help you get around.

Basics Of Vietnamese Greetings

Vietnamese greetings are relatively simple and direct. However, it can be tricky to know how to say “hello” in Vietnamese correctly since you must choose the correct pronoun. And the Vietnamese language has a lot of pronouns that can be used in different ways.

Xin chào is perhaps the most proper and courteous way to say “hello” in Vietnamese. It can be used to greet anybody. Moreover, chào sounds quite similar to the Italian salutation “ciao,” making it simple to recall. The emphasis on the word “chào” indicates that it should be spoken with a “falling tone.”

Now that we have chào at our disposal, it’s time to explore the crazy realm of pronouns briefly to learn Vietnamese thoroughly.


Greetings In Vietnamese ling app person with bike

Using Vietnamese Pronouns

One of the most interesting things about the Vietnamese language is it doesn’t have a word equivalent for “you.” Though you’d believe it would be helpful to have it, the Vietnamese people live without it.

Alternatively, they use familial pronouns like “aunt,” “sister,” or “grandpa” to greet others and refer to themselves. These phrases don’t just pertain to their biological family. They like using them with everyone, including complete strangers.

This can be confusing for a foreigner from the western culture, who may not know how to respond.

But don’t worry! We’re here to help you with some handy translations.

Here are a few examples:

EnglishVietnameseWhen To UseSound
Younger siblingEmWhen greeting a younger person or young people
FriendBạnWhen greeting close friends of the same age
Older brotherAnhWhen greeting a man who is quite older than you
Brother sisterChịWhen greeting a woman who is quite older than you
UncleChúWhen greeting an adult man
AuntWhen greeting an adult woman
GrandpaôngWhen greeting an elderly man or someone much older than you
GrandmaWhen greeting an elderly woman or someone much older than you

Just as Vietnamese has no exact word for “you” that can be used in all situations, it also lacks a word for “I”. The word you use for “I” depends on who is speaking to you. If a person uses the same word for “you” that they use for themselves, then “I” and “you” are also interchangeable when referring to this individual.

This may sound complicated, but don’t worry. Most Vietnamese people won’t take offense if you use the wrong word. In fact, they might even be impressed that you’re trying to speak their language!

Greetings In Vietnamese ling app eye contact

Greetings You Should Learn In Vietnamese

Learning to greet people in a new language can be one of the most intimidating parts of learning a new tongue. In Vietnamese, there are many different ways to say hello and goodbye, depending on the person’s gender, age, social status, and the time of day. Here are some of the most common Vietnamese greetings you should learn:

Hello

Vietnamese people use chào or xin chào to say hello. However, they never greet someone by saying just chào. There’s always a pronoun or noun added to it, like what we’ve learned earlier.

Once you’ve learned the right pronouns to address people in Vietnamese, all you have to do is add chào in front of their title to say hello.

Xin chào

For example:

EnglishVietnameseSound
Hello older brotherChào anh
Hello older sisterChào chị
Hello younger peopleChào em
Hello uncleChào chú
Hello auntieChào cô
Hello grandfatherChào ông
Hello grandmotherChào bà
Hello close friendChào bạn
Hello everyoneChào cả nhà

Xin chào is a polite greeting used in formal situations, especially when meeting complete strangers. For example, you can use it when greeting someone you don’t know very well, like a waiter or someone working at the reception desk of your hotel. 

You can also greet someone with respect by saying, “Xin Chào,” if you do not remember how to say the appropriate pronoun.

Good Morning, Good Afternoon, And Good Evening

If you’re confused by the many pronouns in this language, here are some safer options:

  • Chào buổi sáng means “good morning”
  • Chào buổi chiều means “good afternoon”
  • Chào buổi tối means “good evening”

Although chào bạn is the more common greeting, these are still worth knowing.

Greetings In Vietnamese ling app friends

How Are You?

In Vietnamese, the way to ask someone how they are is by saying “Khỏe không?” which literally means “Are you healthy?” You can also add a pronoun to be more polite. For example, you could ask an older man, “anh khỏe không?” or brother, are you healthy?

Khỏe không?

I Am Fine

In Vietnamese, there is no exact word that precisely corresponds to the English “yes.” To answer a question affirmatively, simply repeat the word from that question. 

Hence, the positive reply to “khỏe không?” is simply khỏe! “(I’m) healthy.”

Không by itself just means “no.” So, if you’re feeling well, your reply might be: Không!

Khỏe!

Không!

What Is Your Name

When meeting someone for the first time, learning their name is an important social gesture. “Name” in Vietnamese is tên. So, to ask for it say tên của bạn là gì?, or the simpler bạn tên gì?

When you have introduced yourselves and learned each other’s names, dropping the pronoun might be a good idea. In Vietnamese culture, it is considered polite to refer to yourself in the third person, even when this would sound odd if translated literally into English.

Tên của bạn là gì?

Bạn tên gì?

For Example:

Phưc: Phưc là ngừơi Việt. John là ngừơi Mỹ, phải không?

George: Không phãi, John là ngừơi Anh.

Translation:

Phưc: Phưc is Vietnamese. Is John American?

George: No, John is English.


Greetings In Vietnamese ling app good bye

Goodbye

We’ve learned to say “hello” in Vietnamese, but what about saying “goodbye”? Tạm biệt, which translates to “goodbye,” is the key term to grasp in this context.

Tạm sounds similar to tam, with a brief down-tone on the ạ. This indicates that the pitch is rapid and low, almost aggressive. Biệt has two double-syllables, similar to “bee-et,” but is spoken quickly.

The trick for English speakers whenever saying Tạm biệt is to avoid using a joyous high-pitch tone, as you would when saying goodbye to a friend. Doing so would erroneously alter the word’s meaning.

Tạm biệt

Ace Your Vietnamese Greetings With Ease

So there you have it, a quick rundown of some of the most important greetings in Vietnamese and how to use them correctly. Now that you’ve got a handle on the basics, it’s time to practice what you’ve learned.

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Learn Vietnamese With The Ling App

It’s time to put all these new words and phrases into practice. But if you still need help with your pronunciation, we’ve got you covered.

Ling is an app that can help you learn Vietnamese from the ground up. With over 200 lessons, you’ll be able to master the basics of Vietnamese in no time.

Check out the Ling app at the Play Store or App Store. With Ling, you’ll learn to speak Vietnamese like a native. The app will teach you the basics of pronunciation and grammar in an easy-to-follow format that’s fun and engaging.

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