10 random thoughts on Vietnam and its language

Ten random thoughts about life in Vietnam and learning the language.

1) Every time I go into a shop from now on, I am going to ask for nước bò instead of milk. Well, you have nước chanh (lemon juice) and nước cam (orange juice), so cow juice seems more logical than sữa.

2) Pondering taking part in a poetry slam and reeling off Marillion lyrics. There will most likely be no one old or geeky enough in the audience to notice.

Happy Buddha

3) The immediate reaction on hearing my reply that I am from Scotland is ‘Sir Alex Ferguson and men in skirts’. From now on I will argue that old purple face is Irish and that Scotsmen like cross dressing.

4) I will continue to make up Vietnamese words for those occasions when I am stumped. The word for umbrella is ô and refers to its use against the sun and rain. To clarify matters I have invented cây mưa (rain tree) and cây mặt trời (sun tree). Not sure what drizzle is but chút mưa seems to do the job. Maybe they will catch on.

5) I have also decided to aid my Vietnamese pronunciation by adding in the accents in a form of sign language kung fu. Video to follow.

6) My campaign in favour of the bus network in Hanoi seems to be paying off. A few Sundays ago I counted four other foreigners on a bus from Tay Ho.

7) Hanoi maybe a city of eight million people but it is a village. How often do you momentarily meet complete strangers only to bump into them again the next day?

8) Six stars in Vietnamese is sáu sao. Try saying that after a couple of bia hoi.

9) To date the only English girl’s name I have found that Google Translate will convert to Vietnamese is Charlene. Apparently, the Vietnamese for Charlene, I unwittingly discovered, is Thái Trác Nghiên. I wasted a good half hour after that trying to find other examples but to no avail.

10) The more Vietnamese I learn the more I find out about Vietnam and its ways.


One thought on “10 random thoughts on Vietnam and its language

  1. English must be one of the hardest languages to learn so for Vietnamese to get a grasp of words translated by a Scot from Ayrshire where the dialect is quite broad to start with can not be easy especially when the said chap puts his own literal meaning to the words,the ultimate would be using some old Scots words,e.g. loup (jump),dyke ( fence),the list is endless,Tom Edgar.


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