How I learnt Vietnamese

July 3, 2018

Fun Fun Vietname

Last year, I have a plan to travel to Vietnam as a backpacker. It’s my first time to visit this country, so I thought I should learn some Vietnamese. Then, I bought a Vietnamese language book for Chinese beginner.

Vietnamese beginner textbook
我的第一本越南語課本 (208 pages, 16 lessons) ISBN:9789866077548

This book teaches pronunciation and some topics about daily conversation. After self-studied whole book and its CD, I thought I was able to speak few sentences in some topics:

  • Greeting
  • Family
  • Shopping
  • Asking for directions
  • Date & Time
  • Order in a restaurant
  • Simple conversation in Hotel

During this trip, the words I often used are:

For greeting
xin chào (for all gender, all age)
chào anh (for male)
chào chị (for female)
For shopping / restaurant
Bao nhiêu tiền? (how much is it?)
Cho tôi cái này. (give me this)
Không. (No)

However, the reality is that I cannot use most of what I have just learnt because of the three main problems. The first one is pronunciation. the listener often don’t understand what I said. It noticed me my pronunciation is not accurate. Secondly, the native Vietnamese speaker speak too fast. Apparently, I need more input to practice listening skill. And the finally, some topics is less useful for current era. For example, asking for directions, date & time are easily to be solved by smartphone.

But I still enjoy to communicate with foreigner in their native language. Some vender once hear I use Vietnamese, ask me where am I from and keep up a small talk.