Vietnamese numberology

One of the first things you should learn in Vietnam is how to count. Getting this sorted makes life a lot easier. With that in mind, here’s a little phonetic guide to remembering one to ten in the North accent.

1 – một (pro. moat): A castle has a moat around it. One castle, one moat.

2 – hai (pro. hi): You need two people to say “Hi”.

3 – ba (pro. baa): Baa, baa black sheep…Three bags full

4 – bốn (pro. bone): What is good fo(u)r bones?

5 – năm (pro. numb): Each hand has five fingers, one of which is a thumb. Thumb/numb/five

6 – sáu (pro. sow): Starts with an ‘s’ like six

7 – bảy (pro. bi-eh?) Sitting on the dock of the bay. Sitting on your butt, with your legs dangling over the water, you might look a little like a seven.

8 – tám (pro. tam) Tam the Octopus. Bam.

9 – chín (pro. cheen): Kinda suits nine

10 – mười (pro. moo-oi) Moo, milk a cow using all ten fingers.

Stick on ‘neen’ at the end and you have a thousand.

Okay, some of these are bit of a stretch, but you get the idea. You probably have your own memory tricks to help you remember, so let’s hear them.

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