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 Unit 1: Greetings

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PostSubject: Unit 1: Greetings   Wed Dec 24, 2008 6:19 am

In this unit we learn to greet our friends

First, it's important to know how to greet older people, and people who have a more senior position to us.

Everyday we have an opportunity to meet and greet people. When we catch up with our friends, we greet them informally, but when we meet strangers, we tend to greet them formally. In Vietnamese how we address the people we meet indicates to them and to others our relationship to them.
The Vietnamese do not say good morning, good afternoon or good evening. One word of greeting is for all parts of the day.
Chào + a proper form of address.
Chào ông.

The forms of address are according to the person's age, gender and social position.
Cháu chào ông ạ.
Cháu chào bà ạ.
Cháu chào bác ạ.
Cháu chào cô ạ.

Anh" is used to address to a young man who is about the same age as you, or a man only a fraction older than you.
"Chị" is used to address to a young woman who is about the same age as you, or a woman only a fraction older than you.
"Ông" is used to address to an older man, of about 60 year. Sometimes it is used to show a special respect to a young man.
"Bà" is used to address to an older woman, of about 60 year. Sometimes it is used to show a special respect to a young woman.
"Bác" is used to address a middle-aged man or woman who would be about the same age as your parents.

Greeting our relatives requires us to address them formally and according to the family structure.


Ông... ông... ông (Grandpa)
Cháu chào ông ạ.

Bà... bà... bà (Grandma)
Cháu chào bà ạ

Bố... bố... bố (Dad)
Con chào bố ạ.

Mẹ... mẹ... mẹ (Mum)
Con chào mẹ ạ

Anh... anh... anh (Son)
Em chào anh ạ.

Chị... chị... chị (Daughter)
Em chào chị ạ.


Note how "ạ" is used at the end of a greeting to show politeness. It is used especially when you address older people or people in more senior position.


In Vietnamese, when a child leaves home each day for school, he or she has to say goodbye to his or her parents. Note that the parents do not say anything back. Instead they say "ừ" to show they have accepted the greeting.
Con chào mẹ con đi học ạ.



We already know how the Vietnamese say Hello to each other, here is a new situation to consider. Before eating one's meal, it is customary to Vietnamese to say some polite words indicating that they are free to start eating. In English we may say "May I start eating ?" or "Let's enjoy our meal". The younger people say it to those older than them, while the hosts may say it to their guests
Con mời bố ăn cơm ạ.
Con mời mẹ ăn cơm ạ.
Em mời chị ăn cơm ạ.

When receiving guests into their homes, Vietnamese people do not tend to ask what they would like to eat or drink. Rather, they just bring out what they have. Asking the guests what they would like is considered impolite. They just bring out what they have and want to offer their guests.


When saying goodbye, the Vietnamese use the following pattern:
Chào + a proper form of address
or Chào + name

Sometimes they add extra words in the following manner.
Chào bác cháu về ạ.
Chào anh, tôi đi nhé.
Chào Nga, mình về nhé.
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