When traveling in Vietnam, you can have a fantastic experience with local people if you can communicate with them in their native language, Vietnamese. You do not need to be fluent or at an advanced level in the Vietnamese language in order to talk with them. In fact, knowing the following 80 useful Vietnamese phrases can get you started in basic conversation.
To start a conversation with anyone, the first thing you should do is to say hi, then introduce yourself. Vietnamese words and phrases, like 'thank you,' 'goodbye,' and 'sorry,' should be your priority to learn. You can see how easy they are!
'Xin chào' is a basic way to say hi, hello to a new friend in daily conversation. To sound like a native speaker, you can say something like 'chào anh', 'chào chị', with the word 'chào' (to greet) with a pronoun referring to the listener.
To introduce your name, say 'tên tôi là' (my name is), then add your name afterward. You can also say 'tôi là ___' which is similar to 'I am ___).
To ask someone's name in Vietnamese, say 'bạn tên là gì?' or 'bạn tên gì?'. Vietnamese people usually use their first name in daily conversation. They also use their nickname sometimes, especially in online chat.
When you don't understand a Vietnamese person, try to ask if they speak English. This helps you continue the conversation without misunderstandings. You can ask 'Bạn có nói Tiếng Anh không?' which means 'Do you speak English?'.
When you need to apologize to a Vietnamese person, it is good if you can say it in Vietnamese. 'Xin lỗi!' or 'Tôi xin lỗi!' are common and short ways to say sorry.
'Cảm ơn' and 'cám ơn' are both okay to thank someone in Vietnamese. They are pronounced in different tones, just for your information.
'Bạn có khoẻ không?' is used as 'How are you?' in English. It literally means 'Are you good?' or 'Are you healthy?'. Vietnamese people usually ask this question when it is the first time they meet, or when they didn't see each other for a long time. This phrase is not regularly used when you see someone every day.
If you don't understand something, you can say 'Tôi không hiểu.' (I don't understand), then ask them to explain more or speak English if they can.
In Vietnamese, the word 'làm ơn' and 'vui lòng' are used when you ask someone for a favor. However, this saying is not spoken very often.
There are many ways to goodbye in Vietnamese. 'Tạm biệt!' is the most common ones. You can also say 'Chào!' as a goodbye.
Knowing how to count Vietnamese numbers should be considered because numbers are used a lot in daily life, from ordering food to paying for taxis. Below are the basic numbers you should know when learning Vietnamese:
0 - Không - Zero
1 - Một - One
2 - Hai - Two
3 - Ba - Three
4 - Bốn / Tư - Four
5 -Năm - Five
6 - Sáu - Six
7 - Bảy - Seven
8 - Tám - Eight
9 - Chín - Nine
10 - Mười - Ten
11 - Mười Một - Eleven
12 - Mười Hai - Twelve
20 - Hai Mươi - Twenty
21 - Hai Mươi Mốt - Twenty-One
100 - Một Trăm - A Hundred
1,000 - Một Nghìn / Một Ngàn - A Thousand
1,000,000 - Một Triệu - A Million
You may need to ask for direction, address or give the direction to a driver. The following common Vietnamese phrases can help you:
Vietnamese food is delicious! When you eat at a local restaurant, use the following phrases for ordering food and drink in Vietnam!
Remember to ask for prices before you buy anything. In local markets, you can ask for discounts sometimes. Bargaining the prices when shopping at local markets is famous in Vietnam. However, it would be best if you didn't do it at the shops where they display the prices on the shelves or at a shopping mall.
When you travel, even with good preparation, you cannot control everything or foresee all risks. Because of that, you should be able to ask for help from local people when in an emergency. Remember the following helpful phrases to help yourself in Vietnam:
I hope you can remember the phrases you have learned. I suggest that you practice these common phrases as much as you can, especially with native speakers. You can also learn more phrases as well as practice with the Ling App. The app has dialogue at the end of each lesson and mini-games that help you learn Vietnamese more fun.