Ever heard a word in Vietnamese and thought, “Wait a minute! That sounds like English!”? Language, in its diverse beauty, often presents us with such surprises. Let’s dive into some Vietnamese words that sound like English.
There are plenty of reasons why Vietnamese words easily capture the hearts of tourists. Despite not using the English alphabet, many foreigners still love the idea of spending their time in Vietnam. Aside from the beautiful landscapes, many Vietnamese people are very friendly and welcoming, so you’d surely enjoy every bit of your daily conversation with them!
However, upon learning new words from a native speaker, you can’t help but notice how some words are pronounced similarly to certain English words. Do you want to know which pure Vietnamese words sound like English? Read further to learn more about them!
Vietnamese Words That Sound Like English
The sound of these words can be pretty confusing. On some occasions, they may even sound like English words which don’t have the same meaning. The phonetic symbols and their pronunciation can get really confusing sometimes.
So, let’s check what this hullabaloo is all about! Here are some Vietnamese words you need to look out for, as they can really sound like English words!
1. Boar – Bơ
Imagine yourself misunderstanding the word Bơ for “Boar” in English. Won’t that be a little embarrassing? It surely would be. However, it often results in a good laugh as one tries to match the sound with the accompanying visual imagery! Do note that this word mainly refers to a piece of fruit and not a scary, wild pig!
2. Car – Cá
Another word that could probably confuse you at first is cá. If you don’t pay attention to the context of the conversation, then you might think this Vietnamese word pertains to a vehicle like “Car.” In reality, it simply means “Fish” in the Vietnamese language.
3. Di – Đi
If your name starts with the letter “D” and you were thinking that they called you Đi to give you a cute nickname, then you’re mistaken. Sure, it does sound like a cute way to address you, but in Vietnamese, these two letters mean “Go” in English.
4. Bone – Bốn
The way Vietnamese words are pronounced can be quite confusing for someone who doesn’t speak the language. Plus, the fact that they are a tonal language and literally use six tones for certain words, makes it harder! Bốn refers to the Vietnamese number four (4), and you might have it mistaken for “Bone” in the English language.
5. Hi/ High – Hai
Here’s another number that’s disguised as an English word! If you hear your friends pronounce this word, you might think of two words like “High” as in elevated, or “Hi” which serves as a greeting in English. Pretty confusing, right? But still, this word is translated to the number “Two.” Always pay attention to the details of your conversation!
6. Sow – Sáu
It’s interesting how modern Vietnamese numbers easily sound like English words. Here we have Sáu which translates to “Six” (6) but is pronounced similarly to “Sow.”
7. My – Mai
One of the best stories ever told at sleepovers would be the one with ghosts in it. In Vietnam, they call them “Mai” in the Vietnamese language. Upon hearing this word from native speakers, you may assume that they’re talking about the word “My” in English.
8. Doc/ Dock – Đọc
There are two things that come to mind after seeing this word. You’d either see it as “Doc” as in the shortened version of “Doctor,” simply ignoring the fact that it uses the Vietnamese alphabet, or think of it as “Dock” like the structure along the shore. Alas! It’s neither of the two! In Vietnamese, this means read.
9. To Do – Tự Do
You’re probably aware of the roots of certain Vietnamese words, just like how China had a ton of influence on their vocabulary. Here we have a Sino-Vietnamese word that sounds like “To do” in English, but literally has the English meaning “Freedom.”
10. Hack – Hack Não
The Western media has influenced many languages, and that includes Vietnamese. They also borrowed words from English, French, and Chinese. Here we have Hack não, an English loan word that literally translates to “Brain hack.” People use it to describe something mind-blowing or confusing. The first syllable sounds like how you’d actually pronounce “Hack” in the universal language.
11. Mum – Mâm
How do you pronounce “Mum” in English? It comes in different versions depending on your accent, but once you hear Mâm in Vietnamese, it will surely get you thinking— are they talking about their mom? Hilariously, they’re not! In their native language, they call the object ‘tray’ as “Mâm.” Does that address your confusion?
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Asian languages like Vietnamese have a way of confusing tourists. From Vietnamese slang to Sino-Vietnamese words, you’d surely need a lot of patience to master these words. However, nothing can stop you from wanting to connect with Vietnamese culture and its people, right? So, come along and learn Vietnamese today with Ling!
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