Vietnamese phrasebook

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Vietnamese is one of the most spoken languages in the world, with around 90 million native speakers. It is the official language in Vietnam and also widely spoken in places where the Vietnamese have immigrated such as the United States, France, and Australia. Vietnamese grammar is very simple: nouns and adjectives don't have genders, and verbs aren't conjugated. Vietnamese is a tonal language; the meaning of a word depends on how high or low your voice is. Vietnamese is not related to Chinese, though it contains many loan words from Chinese due to centuries of Chinese rule in Vietnam, and even used Chinese-like characters as its writing system, called "chữ Nôm", until Vietnam was colonised by the French.

Pronunciation guide[edit]

Vietnamese spelling is more or less phonetic, and generally similar to Portuguese (which it is based on). Once you figure out how to pronounce each letter and tone, you have a pretty good idea of how to pronounce Vietnamese, which has very few exceptions compared to English.

Unless otherwise indicated, pronunciation throughout this phrasebook is for Southern (Saigon) Vietnamese, which is quite different from Northern (Hanoi), North Central (Vinh) or Central (Hue) Vietnamese.

Vowels[edit]

a
like 'a' in "laugh": ba (means "father").
ă
like 'u' in "cut": chăn (means "blanket").
â
like 'o' in "person": sân (means "yard" in front of back of a house).
e
like 'eah' in "yeah": tre (means "bamboo").
ê
like 'ay' in "say": cà phê (means "coffee").
i
like 'ee' in "see" or "deed": thi (means "test/exam").
o
like 'o' in "dog": lý do (means "reason").
ô
like the first component of the diphthong 'ow' in "low" or 'o' in "go": á-lô ("Hello" on the phone).
ơ
like â, except longer, or 'ir' in "bird": (means "avocado" or "butter").
u
like 'oo' in "hoop": thu (means "autumn").
ư
like 'oo' in "book", with a hint of the 'i' in "lick", or like saying "you" without moving your lips, keeping your mouth wide open: thư (means "mail" or "letter").

Consonants[edit]

like 'b' in "bed". Used only at the beginning of a syllable.
like 'c' in "cat", with a hint of the 'g' in "gone".
in the South (Ho Chi Minh City), like 'y' in "yes"; in the North (Hanoi), like 'z' in "zip". Used only at the beginning of a syllable.
đ 
like 'd' in "dog". Used only at the beginning of a syllable.
like 'g' in "go".
like 'h' in "help".
like 'c' in "cat", with a hint of the 'g' in "gone". Used only at the beginning of a syllable.
like 'l' in "love". Used only at the beginning of a syllable.
like 'm' in "mother".
like 'n' in "nice".
like 'p' in "pig".
in the South (Ho Chi Minh City), like 'r' in "red" or 's' in "pleasure"; in the North (Hanoi), like 'z' in "zip". Used only at the beginning of a syllable.
like 'ss' in "hiss". Used only at the beginning of a syllable.
like French 't', i.e. stronger then English "t", 't' in 'thé' not 't' in 'tea'.
in the North, like 'v' in "victory"; in the South, like 'y' in "yes". Used only at the beginning of a syllable.
like 's' in "kicks". Used only at the beginning of a syllable.
like 'y' in "yes".
ch 
at the beginning of a syllable, like 'ch' in "touch"; at the end, like 'ck' in "sick" (but it is never enunciated).
gh 
like 'g' in "go". Used only at the beginning of a syllable.
kh 
somewhat like 'c' in "cat" (enunciated). Identical to the "ach-Laut" sound in German. Used only at the beginning of a syllable.
ng, ngh 
like 'ng' in "sing-along": Nga.
ph 
like 'ph' in "phone".
th 
like 't' in "time". Used only at the beginning of a syllable.
tr 
like 'ch' in "chat". Used only at the beginning of a syllable.
ch 
like 'ch' in "chat". Used only at the beginning of a syllable.

Other combinations[edit]

gi 
in the North, like 'z' in "zip"; in the South, like 'y' in "yes". Used only at the beginning of a syllable.
qu 
like 'qu' in "quest". Used only at the beginning of a syllable.
uy 
like 'wi' in "win".

Tones[edit]

In Vietnamese, syllables can have six different tones, with five of them indicated by tone marks applied to the syllable's main vowel. Tone marks can be combined with the other diacritics.

flat
á 
high rising; example: đấy, like saying "day?"
à 
low
ã 
creaky
ả 
falling, then rising
ạ 
a low "a'ah"

Grammar[edit]

One important difference between Vietnamese and Western languages is that Vietnamese has no polite equivalent of the second-person pronoun, "you." Only very close acquaintances and friends use the second-person pronoun "Mày" (pronounced "mhay" with a heavy A and accentuated Y), as it is considered very impolite between strangers. It is roughly equivalent to the pronoun "Omae" in Japanese. Consider it the extreme version of misusing "Toi" in place of "Vous" in French, except there is no equivalent of "Vous" in Vietnamese. Like with many other Asian cultures, it is more socially acceptable to be aware of your formal/informal relationship to another person, and imply it through the word you use to address them.

Strange as it might sound, conversational Vietnamese takes place almost entirely in the second and third persons. For example, instead of saying "I think you are very beautiful" to a girl you like, you might say, "This older male thinks you (the younger female) very beautiful" or abridge it to "You (the younger female) are very beautiful." There is always an overt implication in how you address someone according to their age and sex.

To Western ears, talking in the third person sounds stilted and pretentious, but to Vietnamese ears, it is the social norm. Vietnamese has a word for "I", tôi, but Vietnamese would use it only in abstract or formal situations (such as public speaking, addressing a television camera, or writing in a book.) Only foreigners use tôi in conversation, which sounds stilted to Vietnamese, but they understand why it is done and come to expect it.

In conversational Vietnamese, the proper way to refer to yourself and others depends on a hierarchy of age and sex. Many of the terms have a literal meaning of family relationships, though they are used for all people on all occasions. Options include:

  • Bạn (friend, pronounced "bhang" with a heavy A. Easily confused with the word "table" to hilarious effect.)
  • Con (child, pronounced "kon", and – parents will be amused – also means animal, for example "Con chim" literally means "(that) animal (which is a) bird", and as comedic sex slang, "Con chim" also means "young boy's penis".)
  • Em (literally, younger person, generally reserved for a younger sister, younger female relative, or a female acquaintance whom you consider equal to or younger than you – refers to anyone younger than you but older than a child. It is the usual way to address your wife, girlfriend, or female lover, regardless of your own age or sex, with implications of endearment beyond daily usage of the word. Can be considered the equivalent of "my dear".)
  • Anh (older brother – man older than you by up to 10-20 years depending on how close they are. Or refers to a man of the same age as you, but whom you hold in high regard even if you are slightly older. It is also the usual way to address a husband, boyfriend, or male lover, regardless of your own age or sex, with implications of endearment beyond daily usage.)
  • Chị (older sister – woman older than you by up to 10-20 years depending on how close they are, with the implication that you feel the age between you and her does not matter. Generally only used for females slightly older than you.)
  • Chú (literally, "Mister" with implications toward "uncle". Also used to address your father's younger brother – man older than you and who you feel deserves the distinction beyond "Anh".)
  • (literally, "Miss" or "Young Mrs." – woman older than you by 10+ years, or your female teacher prior to college. Implies that you feel she is a generation older than you, but you still think she is too young to be called "Madam" or "Mrs.")
  • Bác (unisex term, used for both Sir and Madam, – refers to a mature person, generally 40 to 60 years old. Polite in that it implies you do not think the person is a senior or elderly yet.)
  • Ông (literally, "old gentleman", grandfather – refers specifically to a senior man, 50-60+ years old depending on how close you are.)
  • (literally, "Madam" or "elderly lady", grandmother – refers specifically to a senior woman, 50-60+ years old depending on how close you are.)

Choose one from the list to represent yourself, and one to represent the person you are talking to, depending on sex and relative age. For example, to get the attention of a waiter or waitress in a restaurant, say em/anh/chị ơi (ơi being the ubiquitous Vietnamese term for "hey"). If you listen closely, when people address you or talk about you in Vietnamese, they will be using these terms. They will be very impressed if you can master this! Nonetheless, even between natural Vietnamese people, it can get awkward when you try to figure out how to address someone who appears to be the same sex and, as far as you can tell, about the same age as you. Once you figure out their age and sex, they may have you use one of the above terms, or simply be amiable and ask you to call them "Ban", or "friend".

For simplicity, however, many phrases below are are translated without the relevant terms for you and/or your listener: For example, "How are you" is literally translated as "Healthy or not?" It is generally impolite to speak to a person without directly addressing them unless they're a subordinate, but Vietnamese usually don't take offense when foreigners omit this. Wherever you see tôi below, you can substitute one of the words above according to the circumstance.

Phrase list[edit]

The following are very commonly-used phrases. They are listed in a general order of importance:

Basics[edit]

Common signs


OPEN 
Mở cửa
CLOSED 
Đóng cửa
ENTRANCE 
Lối vào
EXIT 
Lối ra
PUSH 
Đẩy
PULL 
Kéo
TOILET 
Toilet or WC or Nhà vệ sinh
MEN 
Nam or Quý ông
WOMEN 
Nữ or Quý bà
FORBIDDEN 
Cấm
Hello. 
Chào. (jow)
Hello. (on the phone
Á-lô. (AH-loh)
How are you? (Are you healthy?) 
Khỏe không? (kweah kohng?)
Fine, thank you. (I am healthy, thank you.) 
Khoẻ, cảm ơn. (kweah, gam uhhn)
What is your name? (formal, to a man (forties or older, depending on the sensitivity of the person you address)
Ông tên là gì? (ohng theyn la yi)
What is your name? (formal, to a woman (forties or older, depending on the sensitivity of the person you address)
Bà tên là gì? (ba theyn la yi)
What is your name? (informal, to a male who is not quite middle-aged AND/OR is not significantly older than you
Anh tên là gì? (ayng theyn la yi) Anh is an umbrella term for any older male figure. It's literal meaning is "older brother".
What is your name? (informal and also flattering, to a female who is not quite middle-aged AND not significantly older than you
Cô tên là gì? (goh theyn la yi) There is a distinction between this and the last phrase, because in Vietnamese culture, one generally assumes that a woman, regardless of whether she looks middle-aged or not, is either not yet married, or does not yet have children, or is younger than she looks. Using "Cô" instead of "Bà" implies that you are giving her the benefit of your lack of knowledge about her. Thus, if she feels the need, she will (as a result of your flattery and politeness) correct you to use the mature "Bà" or the gender-disregarding term for an adult who is anywhere in their late thirties to fifties, "Bac" which is equivalent to "Sir" or "Madam". Some men and women prefer to be addressed as the polite and age-ambiguous "Bac" indefinitely, until they feel it is appropriate to be addressed in more mature terms.
My name is ______ . 
Tôi tên là ______ . (Thoye theyn la _____ .)
Please. 
Làm ơn. (lam uhhn)
Thank you. 
Cảm ơn. (gam uhhn)
You're welcome. 
Không sao đâu. (kohng sao doh)
Yes. 
Vâng (affirmative). (vuhng); Dạ (affirmative, respectful) (ya'a) ; Đúng (correct) (duhn)
No. 
Không. (kohng)
I'm sorry. 
Xin lỗi. (seen loh'EE)
Goodbye 
Chào. (jow), Tambiet
I can't speak Vietnamese [well]. 
Tôi không biết nói tiếng Việt [giỏi lắm]. (thoy kohng bee-IT noh-Y thee-IHNG vee'it [yi-oh-i lahm])
Do you speak English? 
Biết nói tiếng Anh không? (bee-IT noh-Y thee-IHNG ayng kohng)
Is there someone here who speaks English? 
Có ai đây biết nói tiếng Anh không? (GAW ai dey bee-IT noh-Y thee-IHNG ayng kohng)
Help! 
Cứu (tôi) với! (gih-OO (thoy) vuh-y!) Thoi cang nguoi giup toi.
Look out! 
Cẩn thận! (guhn tuh'n!)
I don't understand. 
Tôi không hiểu. (thoy kohng hee-oh)
Where is the toilet? 
Cầu tiêu ở đâu? (goh thee-oh uh duh-oh) (this phrase may be considered impolite)
Be back soon 
Sẽ quay lại sớm (...)

Problems[edit]

Leave me alone. 
Đừng làm phiền tôi. (DUHung LAHm fien Thoy) (beware that "Thoi" with a fat and long sounding "T" translates to "enough!" in standard Vietnamese)
Don't touch me! 
Đừng đụng tôi! (DUHung DUHooung Thoy)
I'll call the police. 
Tôi sẽ gọi cảnh sát./Tôi sẽ gọi công an. (Thoy seEh GAWoy Kanh Sat/ Thoy seEH GAWoy Kong aanh)
Police! 
Công an!/Cảnh sát! (Kong aanh!/Kanh Sat)
Stop! Thief! 
Ngừng lại! Ăn trộm! (GNoong LAai! Anh Chom!)
I need your help. 
Cần (second person pronoun) giúp cho tôi. (Khan yip CHo Thoy)
It's an emergency. 
Việc này khẩn cấp. (VAHech nuhay Khan gup)
I'm lost. 
Tôi bị lạc. (Thoi bee lack)
I lost my bag. 
Tôi bị mất cái giỏ. (Thoi bee mUHtt kai yah)
I lost my wallet. 
Tôi bị mất cái ví. (Thoi bee mUHtt kai veee)
I'm sick. 
Tôi bị bệnh. (Thoi bee binh)
I've been injured. 
Tôi đã bị thương. (Thoi DAH bee Tahuung)
I need a doctor. 
Tôi cần một bác sĩ. (Thoi Khan moat back see)
Can I use your phone? 
Tôi dùng điện thoại của (second person pronoun) được không? (Thoi young dean tahoaI KOOa DUHuc KHAong)

Numbers[edit]

(Phonetic approximations are in italics, and English words that sound very similar are in quotes.) When giving your age, it is common to say just the digits, e.g., "three-one" instead of "thirty-one".

cê-rô (seh roh)/không (kumm, kowm, humm, or howm depending on the speaker and adjacent words)
một (mo'oht, though most of the time comes out "moke" with a very slight swallowing of the final "k" sound)
hai ("high")
ba (bah)
bốn ("bone")
năm ("nahm")
sáu (sao)
bảy (bai-ee, almost like "buy" in English)
tám (tahm)
chín ("chean")
10 
mười (meui)
11 
mười một (muh-uh-ee mo'oht)
12 
mười hai (muh-uh-ee hai)
13 
mười ba (muh-uh-ee bah)
14 
mười bốn (muh-uh-ee bohn?)
15 
mười lăm (muh-uh-ee lahm)
16 
mười sáu (muh-uh-ee sao?)
17 
mười bảy (muh-uh-ee buh-ee)
18 
mười tám (muh-uh-ee thahm?)
19 
mười chín (muh-uh-ee jeen?)
20 
hai mươi (hai muh-uh-ee)
21 
hai mươi mốt (hai muh-uh-ee moht?)
22 
hai mươi hai (hai muh-uh-ee hai)
23 
hai mươi ba (hai muh-uh-ee bah)
30 
ba mươi (bah muh-uh-ee)
40 
bốn mươi (bohn? muh-uh-ee)
50 
năm mươi (nahm muh-uh-ee)
60 
sáu mươi (sao? muh-uh-ee)
70 
bảy mươi (buh-ee muh-uh-ee)
80 
tám mươi (thahm? muh-uh-ee)
90 
chín mươi (jeen? muh-uh-ee)
100 
một trăm (moht cham or often just "cham")
200 
hai trăm (hai cham)
300 
ba trăm (bah cham)
1000 
một ngàn/nghìn (mo'oht ngang/ngeen...)
2000 
hai ngàn/nghìn (hai ngang/ngeen...)
1,000,000 
một triệu (mo'oht chee'ou)
1,000,000,000 
một tỹ/tỷ (mo'oht thee'ee?)
1,000,000,000,000 
một ngàn/nghìn tỹ/tỷ
number _____ (train, bus, etc.
số _____ ("so?")
half 
nửa (neu-uh?)
less 
ít hơn (eet huhhhn)
more 
hơn (huhhhn), thêm (tehm)

Time[edit]

now 
bây giờ (bee yuh...)(northern dialect example: 'buy zaa')
later 
lát nữa (laht? neu'uh?)
before 
trước (jyeuck?)(northern dialect example: 'Tchuck')
morning 
sáng (sahng?)
afternoon 
chiều (jee-oh)(northern dialect example: hard 'ch', like TR down tone)
evening, night 
tối (thoh-ee), đêm (dehm)

Clock time[edit]

one o'clock AM 
một giờ sáng (moht. yuh sahng?)
two o'clock AM 
hai giờ sáng (hai yuh sahng?)
noon 
trưa (jyeu-uh)
one o'clock PM 
một giờ chiều (moht. yuh jee-oh)
two o'clock PM 
hai giờ chiều (hai yuh jee-oh)
midnight 
nửa đêm (neu-uh dehm)

Duration[edit]

_____ minute(s) 
_____ phút (foodt)
_____ hour(s) 
_____ tiếng (thee-uhng?)
_____ day(s) 
_____ ngày (ngai)
_____ week(s) 
_____ tuần (thoo-uhn)
_____ month(s) 
_____ tháng (tahng?)
_____ year(s) 
_____ năm (nahm)

Days[edit]

today 
hôm nay (home nye)
yesterday 
hôm qua (hohm gwah)
tomorrow 
mai (my)
this week 
tuần này (thoo-uhn nai)
last week 
tuần qua (thoo-uhn gwah)
next week 
tuần sau (thoo-uhn sao)

The days of the week are simply numbered, with the exception of Sunday:

Sunday 
chủ nhật (joo nyuht.)
Monday 
thứ hai (teu? hai)
Tuesday 
thứ ba (teu? ba)
Wednesday 
thứ tư (teu? theu)
Thursday 
thứ năm (teu? nahm!)
Friday 
thứ sáu (teu? sao?!)
Saturday 
thứ bảy (teu? buh-ee?)

Months[edit]

Vietnamese does not have special names for each month. Instead, the months are simply numbered. Take the word tháng and add the month's number (see #Numbers above). For example:

March
tháng 3 / tháng ba (tahng? ba)

Writing time and date[edit]

Friday, December 17, 2004
Thứ sáu, ngày 17 tháng 12 năm 2004
12/17/2004
17/12/2004
2:36 AM
Hai giờ 36 sáng
2:36 PM
Hai giờ 36 chiều
Two in the morning
Hai giờ sáng
Two in the afternoon
Hai giờ chiều
Ten in the evening
Mười giờ đêm
Half past two
Hai giờ rưỡi
Noon
Trưa; 12 giờ trưa
Evening
Nửa đêm; 12 giờ đêm

Colors[edit]

When describing the color of an object etc., use the word below. When referring to the color itself, use màu or mầu followed by the word below.

black 
đen (Dan)
white 
trắng (chahng?!)
gray 
xám (sahm?)
red 
đỏ (daw... aw?)
blue 
xanh nước (sahyng neu-uhk?)
yellow 
vàng (vahng...)
green 
xanh (lá cây) (sahyng lah? kay)
orange 
cam (kahm)
purple 
tím (just as it is written, tim' but long 'i)
brown 
nâu (know)

Transportation[edit]

Bus and train[edit]

How much is a ticket to _____? 
Một vé đến _____ là bao nhiêu? (mo'oht veah? dehn? _____ lah... bao nyee-oh)
One ticket to _____, please. 
Xin cho tôi một vé đến _____. (seen jyaw thoh-ee mo'oht veah? dehn? _____)
Where does this train/bus go? 
Tàu/xe này đi đâu? (thoe.../seah nay...! dee doh)
Where is the train/bus to _____? 
Tàu/xe đi đến _____ ở đâu? (thoe.../seah dee dehn _____ uh...uh? doh)
Does this train/bus stop in _____? 
Tàu/xe này có ngừng tại _____ không? (thoe.../seah nay...! goh? ngeung... thah'ee _____ kohng)
When does the train/bus for _____ leave? 
Tàu/xe đi _____ chạy lúc nào? (thoe.../seah dee _____ jyah'ee loohk? nahh-oh...)
When will this train/bus arrive in _____? 
Khi nào tàu/xe này xẽ đến _____? (kee nahh-oh thoe.../seah nay...! seah'uh? dehn? _____)

Directions[edit]

How do I get to _____ ? 
Làm sao tôi đến _____ ? (...)
...the train station? 
...nhà ga? (...)
...the bus station? 
...trạm xe buýt? (...)
...the airport? 
...phi trường (fee cheu-uhng...); ...sân bay? (son bye...)
...downtown? 
...thành phố? (...)
Xuống phố làm sao? (Soo-uhng? foh? lahm... sao)
...the youth hostel? 
...nhà trọ cho khách du lịch? (...)
...the _____ hotel? 
...khách sạn _____? (...)
...the American/Canadian/Australian/British consulate? 
...tòa lãnh sự Mỹ/Canada/Uc/Anh? (...)
Where are there a lot of... 
Nơi nào có nhiều... (...)
...hotels? 
...khách sạn? (...)
...restaurants? 
...nhà hàng? (...)
...bars? 
...quán rượu? (...)
...sites to see? 
...thắng cảnh? (...)
Can you show me on the map? 
Chỉ trên bản đồ cho tôi được không? (...)
street 
đường(...)
Turn left. 
Quẹo trái. (...)
Turn right. 
Quẹo phải. (...)
left 
trái(...)
right 
phải (...)
straight ahead 
trước mặt (...)
towards the _____ 
tiến đến _____ (...)
past the _____ 
qua _____ (...)
before the _____ 
trước _____ (...)
Watch for the _____. 
Canh chừng _____. (...)
intersection 
ngã ba/tư/năm/sáu/bảy (3/4/5/6/7-way intersection) (...)
north 
bắc (...)
south 
nam (...)
east 
đông (...)
west 
tây (...)
uphill 
lên dốc (...)
downhill 
xuống dốc (...)

Taxi[edit]

Taxi! 
Taxi! (tha? see)
Take me to _____, please. 
Vui lòng đưa tôi đến_____,. (...)
How much does it cost to get to _____? 
Đến _____ giá bao nhiêu? (...)
Take me there, please. 
Vui lòng đưa tôi đến đó. (...)

Lodging[edit]

Do you have any rooms available? 
Có còn phòng không? (...)
How much is a room for one person/two people? 
Giá phòng cho một/hai người là bao nhiêu? (...)
Does the room come with... 
Trong phòng có ... không? (...)
...bedsheets? 
...ga trải gường? (...)
...a bathroom? 
...phòng vệ sinh? (...); ...phòng cầu tiêu (...)
...a telephone? 
...phôn ("phone"); ...điện thoại? (dee-ehn twhy)
...a TV? 
...TV? (thee vee)
May I see the room first? 
Tôi xem phòng trước có được không? (...)
Do you have anything quieter? 
Có phòng nào yên tĩnh hơn không? (...)
...bigger? 
...lớn hơn không? (...)
...cleaner? 
...sạch hơn không? (...)
...cheaper? 
...rẻ hơn không? (...)
OK, I'll take it. 
OK, tôi lấy phòng này. (...)
I will stay for _____ night(s). 
Tôi sẽ ở _____ đêm. (...)
Can you suggest another hotel? 
Có thể giới thiệu cho tôi một khách sạn khác được không? (...)
Do you have a safe? 
Có két an toàn không? (...)
...lockers? 
... tủ gửi đồ? (...)
Is breakfast/supper included? 
Có kèm theo bữa sáng/tối không? (...)
What time is breakfast/supper? 
Ăn sáng/tối lúc mấy giờ? (...)
Please clean my room. 
Xin hãy dọn phòng tôi. (...)
Can you wake me at _____? 
Xin đánh thức tôi dậy lúc _____? (...)
I want to check out. 
Tôi muốn check out. (...)

Money[edit]

Do you accept American/Australian/Canadian dollars? 
Có lấy đô la Mỹ/Úc/Canada không? (...)
Do you accept British pounds? 
Có lấy bảng Anh không? (...)
Do you accept credit cards? 
Có nhận thẻ tín dụng không? (...)
Can you change money for me? 
Đổi tiền cho tôi được không? (...)
Where can I get money changed? 
Tôi có thể đi đổi tiền ở đâu? (...)
Can you change a traveler's check for me? 
Có thể đổi séc du lịch cho tôi được không? (...)
Where can I get a traveler's check changed? 
Tôi có thể đổi séc du lịch ở đâu? (...)
What is the exchange rate? 
Tỷ giá là bao nhiêu? (...)
Where is an automatic teller machine (ATM)? 
Máy rút tiền (ATM) ở đâu? (...)

Eating[edit]

A table for one person/two people, please. 
Cho tôi một bàn cho một/hai người. (...)
Can I look at the menu, please? 
Cho tôi xem menu? (...)
Can I look in the kitchen? 
Cho tôi xem nhà bếp được không? (...)
Is there a house specialty? 
Quán ăn này có món đặc sản nào không? (...)
Is there a local specialty? 
Ở vùng này có món đặc sản nào không? (...)
I'm a vegetarian. 
Tôi ăn chay. (...)
I don't eat pork. 
Tôi không ăn thịt heo. (...)
I don't eat beef. 
Tôi không ăn thịt bò. (...)
I eat only kosher food. 
Tôi ăn kiêng. (...)
Can you make it "lite", please? (less oil/butter/lard
Vui lòng làm nó ít béo không? (ít dầu/bơ/mỡ heo...)
fixed-price meal 
fixed-price meal (...)
à la carte 
gọi theo món (...)
breakfast 
bữa sáng (boo... ee? sahng?)
lunch 
bữa trưa (boo... ee? cheu-uh)
tea (meal
nước trà (...)
supper 
bữa chiều (boo... ee? chee-oh...)
I want _____. 
Xin _____. ("seen")
I want a dish containing _____. 
Xin một đĩa có _____. (...)
chicken 
(thịt) gà (teet. gah...)
beef 
(thịt) bò (teet. baw...)
fish 
cá (gah?)
ham 
jambon (zhahm bohng)
sausage 
xúc xích (sook? sick?)
cheese 
phó mát (faw? maht?)
eggs 
trứng (cheung?)
salad 
xà lách (sah... layk?)
(fresh) vegetables 
rau (tươi) (rao theu-uh-ee)
(fresh) fruit 
trái cây (tươi) (chai? gai)
bread 
bánh mì (ba'in me...)
toast 
bánh mì nướng (bain mee... neu-uhng?)
noodles 
mì (me...)
rice (cooked; as a dish) 
cơm (guhm)
rice (uncooked) 
gạo ("gah-ow.")
beans (like mung beans) 
đậu (duh-oh.)
beans (like coffee beans) 
hột (hoht.)
May I have a glass of _____? 
Xin một ly _____? (...)
May I have a cup of _____? 
Xin một ly _____? (...)
May I have a bottle of _____? 
Xin một chai _____? (...)
coffee 
cà phê (ga... fey)
tea (drink
nước trà (neu-uk? chah...)
_____ juice 
nước _____ (neu-uk?)
bubbly water 
nước ngọt (neu-uk? ngawt.)
water 
nước (neu-uk?)
beer 
rượu (rih-oh.), bia (pronounce "beer" with a British accent)
red/white wine 
rượu đỏ/trắng (rih-oh. daw... aw? / chahng?!)
May I have some _____? 
Xin _____? (seen)
salt 
muối (moo-ee?)
black pepper 
hạt tiêu (haht. thee-oh)
butter 
bơ (buh)
Excuse me, waiter? (getting attention of server)
Em ơi! Làm ơn... (...)
I'm finished. 
Xong rồi. (sah-ohng roh-ee...)
It was delicious. 
Ngon lắm. (non lum)
Please clear the plates. 
Xin hãy dọn đĩa đi. (...)
The check, please. 
Thanh toán tiền. (...)

Bars[edit]

Do you serve alcohol? 
Có rượu ở đây không? (...)
Is there table service? 
(...)
A beer/two beers, please. 
Xin một/hai ly rượu. (...)
A glass of red/white wine, please. 
Xin một ly rượu đỏ/trắng. (...)
A pint, please. 
(...)
A bottle, please. 
Xin một chai. (...)
_____ (hard liquor) and _____ (mixer), please. 
(...)
whiskey 
uytky (...)
vodka 
(...)
rum 
(...)
water 
nước (neu-uhck?)
soda pop 
nước ngọt (neu-uhck? ngawt.)
club soda 
(...)
tonic water 
(...)
orange juice 
nước cam (neu-uhck? gam)
Coke (soda
Côca-Côla (koh-kah? koh-la)
Do you have any bar snacks? 
(...)
One more, please. 
Xin một ly/chai nữa. (...)
Another round, please. 
(...)
When is closing time? 
Bao giờ đóng cửa? (Bow yuh... downg? geu-uh?)

Shopping[edit]

Do you have this in my size? 
(...)
How much (money) is this? 
Bao nhiêu (tiền)? (bahw nyee-oh thee-uhn...)
That's too expensive. 
Đắt quá. (daht?! kwahh?)
Would you take _____? 
Lấy _____ được không? (ley? _____ deu'uhk kohng)
expensive 
đắt (daht?!)
cheap 
rẻ (reah...uh?)
I can't afford it. 
Tôi không có đủ tiền mua. (thoh-ee kohng kaw? doo...oo? thee-uhn... moo-uh)
I don't want it. 
Tôi không muốn. (thoh-ee kohng moo-uhn?)
You're cheating me. 
Mày ăn gian tôi. (my ang yang Thoy)
I'm not interested. 
Tôi không quan hệ. (Thoy cohng cuang hey)
OK, I'll take it. 
OK, tôi lấy. (Oh-kay, thoy laeh)
Can I have a bag? 
Có bao không? (kaw? bahw kohng)
Do you ship (overseas)? 
Có thể gởi đồ (ngoài nước) không? (...)
I need... 
Tôi cần... (thoh-ee cuhn...)
...toothpaste. 
...kem đánh răng. (keahm dayng? rahng)
...a toothbrush. 
...bàn chải đánh răng. (bahn... chah-ee? dayng? rahng)
...tampons. 
băng vệ sinh
...soap. 
...xà bông. (sah... bohng)
...shampoo. 
...dầu gội. (...)
...pain reliever. (e.g., aspirin or ibuprofen
...thuốc giảm đau. (too-uhc? yah...ahm? dahw!)
...cold medicine. 
...thuốc cảm. (...)
...stomach medicine. 
...thuốc đau bụng. (...)
...a razor. 
...dao cạo râu. (yahw kah'oh ruh-oo)
...an umbrella. 
...dù. (you...)
...sunblock lotion. 
...sunblock lotion. (...)
...a postcard. 
...bưu thiếp. (...)
...postage stamps. 
...tem. (tham)
...batteries. 
...pin. (bean)
...writing paper. 
...giấy. (yay?!)
...a pen. 
...bút mực. (boot?!)
...a pencil. 
...bút chì. (boot?! chee...)
...English-language books. 
...sách Anh ngữ. (...)
...English-language magazines. 
...tạp chí Anh ngữ. (thuh'p chee? ayng-eu'eu?)
...an English-language newspaper. 
...báo Anh ngữ. (bahw? ayng-eu'eu?)
...an English-English dictionary. 
...từ điển Anh-Anh. (theu... dee-n? ayng-ayng)

Driving[edit]

I want to rent a car. 
Tôi muốn mướn xe. (thoh-ee moo-uhn? meu'n seah)
Can I get insurance? 
Có bảo hiểm cho tôi không? (koh? bah...oo hee...m? chaw thoh-ee khohng)
stop (on a street sign
ngừng (...)
one way 
một chiều (...)
yield 
yield (...)
no parking 
đừng đậu xe (...)
speed limit 
(...)
gas (petrol) station 
cây xăng (keh-ee sahng!)
petrol 
xăng (sahng!)
diesel 
("...")

Authority[edit]

I haven't done anything wrong. 
Tôi chưa làm gì sai. (thoh-ee cheu-uh lam zee sai?)
It was a misunderstanding. 
Chỉ là hiểu lầm thôi. (chee...ee? lah... hee...oh? luhm... toh-ee)
Where are you taking me? 
Ông đang dẫn tôi đi đâu? (ohng dahng yuh'n? thoh-ee dee duhw)
I am an American/Australian/British/Canadian citizen. 
Tôi là công dân Mỹ/Australia/Anh/Canada. (toh-ee lah... kohng yuhn mee'ee? / australia / ayng / kah-nah-dah)
I want to talk to the (American/Australian/British/Canadian) (embassy/consulate). 
Tôi cần phải nói chuyện với (đại sứ quán/lãnh sự) (Mỹ/Australia/Anh/Canada). (thoh-ee kuhn... fah...ee? naw-ee? cheu-ee'n vuh-ee? (dah'i seu? kwahn?/lay'ng? seu'eu) (mee'ee?/australia/ayng/kah-nah-dah)
I want to talk to a lawyer. 
Tôi muốn nói chuyện với luật sư. (...)
Can I just pay a fine now? 
Tôi chỉ trả tiền phạt thôi được không? (...)

Learning more[edit]

This is a usable phrasebook. It explains pronunciation and the bare essentials of travel communication. An adventurous person could use it to get by, but please plunge forward and help it grow!