Wednesday, July 15, 2009

My First Vietnamese Blog Post!

My friend Nhung suggested I publish my first Vietnamese language composition on my blog. What I'm proud of is that I composed this free-hand - thinking in Vietnamese instead of translating from English - and only afterwards looked up the spelling of a few words. My friend Whalen gave it a quick look before I took it into class, and my Vietnamese teacher, cô Hương, corrected a couple of mistakes. But not too many! It certainly isn't going to win any literary awards, but I'm rather proud of my efforts after 7 weeks, so here is a description of my house and room for my Vietnamese readers:

Tôi sống ở nhà của hai vợ chồng người Việt Nam. Anh ấy tên là Thành và chị ấy tên là Dung. Họ có hai con gái - Phương và Ly. Năm nay Phương khoảng 20 tuổi và Ly 10 tuổi. Nhà của họ có năm tầng và chín phòng. Tầng một có phòng khách và phòng bếp. Tầng hai có phòng ngủ của Thành và Dung, và phòng ngủ của cháu Ly. Tầng ba có phòng ngủ của Phương và phòng ngủ của hai người Anh - David và Tracy. Trên tầng bốn có hai phòng ngủ. Trong một phòng là cô gái người Phần-lan tên là Saara. Phòng của người Đức tên là Aron đối diện với phòng của Saara. Phòng tôi ở trên là tầng năm. Nhà chúng tôi có ba nhà vệ sinh: trên tầng một, ba, và bốn.

Phòng tôi không to nhưng có trần nhà cao, khoảng năm metre. Trong phòng tôi có một cái giường, một tủ quần áo, một bàn làm việc, và một ghế. Phòng tôi không có máy lạnh nhưng có quạt bên cạnh giường tôi. Tủ quần áo ở bên cạnh cửa. Bàn làm việc và ghế ở trước tủ quần áo, và giường ở cạnh bàn.

Translation: I live in a house that belongs to a Vietnamese couple. The man's name is Thanh, and the woman's name is Dung. They have two daughters - Phuong and Ly. This year, Phuong is about 20 years old and Ly is ten years old. Their house has five floors and nine rooms. The first floor has the living room and kitchen. The second floor has Thanh and Dung's bedroom, and Ly's bedroom. The third floor has Phuong's bedroom, and a bedroom that belongs to an English couple - David and Tracy. The fourth floor has two bedrooms. In one room is a Finnish woman named Saara. The room of a German man named Aron is opposite to Saara's room. My room is on the fifth floor. Our house has three bathrooms: on the first, third, and fourth floors.

My room is not very big, but it has high ceilings - around five meters. In my room are a bed, a wardrobe, a desk, and a chair. My room does not have an air conditioner, but it does have a fan beside the bed. The wardrobe is next to the door. The desk and chair are in front of the wardrobe, and the bed is beside the desk.


  1. Nice work! Very impressive for someone who has been studying only a couple of months.


  2. I appreciate your dedication and the prodigious effort required to have come so far so quickly! Learning to actually speak Vietnamese accurately will take more time but I have no doubt about your acquiring very good skills quickly, being so immersed, and bright.
    Sincere congratulations!
    When are you coming to visit HCMC? I'd love to read your thoughts, especially since you passed through once before.

  3. Thanks for your comments, Mike and Steve; I appreciate them.

    Steve - I'm thinking it'll be at least half a year before I take a trip down south, but I am anxious to see how HCMC has changed since 1991, and will certainly record my impressions when I do.

    All the best,


  4. That is very impressive - the fact that after a short time you can actually think in Vietnamese and only later translate back to English. I have studied various foreign languages over the years, became highly proficient in two, and know that what you speak of was a turning point in reaching that level of proficiency, or even fluency. But it took me a long time to get there, every time. Seven weeks should get you an award of some sort for commitment to learning and absorbing. And I guess the whole immersion factor helps the process too.

    Anyway, kudos to you, Hal, it is always good to read your writings.

  5. I think it is great that you are studying the Vietnamese language. I too, have been coming to Vietnam since 1990 and have seen many changes as you have. My wife is Vietnamese, but I only began studying Vietnamese casually for the last 10 years or so. My English language blog is at:
    Please give it a try. The blog explains how Vietnam has affected my life since the time I was drafted into the U.S. Army. My Vietnamese language blog is with Yahoo and is in transition now. I hope to get it up and running again soon.
    I stumbled upon your blog and I look forward to reading through all your posts because we share some of the same interests.
    W. Doug Greene

  6. Trời ơi, tôi rất ngạc nhiên với kỹ năng anh bang tiếng việt! Chắc chắn, nếu anh tiếp tục học như vậy anh sẽ nói giống người việt nam ít hơn một năm nữa. Tiếp tục đi!

  7. Hi, teacher!surprising!You just came to VN 2 months ago but you wrote very well by Vietnamese.Cheers!
    P.S:Did I not write wrong grammar?

  8. " Trong một phòng là cô gái người Phần-lan tên là Saara" -- I believe it's better to say: "Một phòng là của Saara-cô gái người Phần Lan."
    You shouldn't translate word-by-word into Vietnamese because that will be rediculous.

  9. Rufus - Didn't you read the post? I didn't translate from English into Vietnamese - I wrote this in Vietnamese after only 7 weeks of study. Of course some of the expressions are unnatural! SEVEN WEEKS!

    Oi troi oy...