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What is special about Vietnamese language in general? - UniLang

What is special about Vietnamese language in general?

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korn
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What is special about Vietnamese language in general?

Postby korn » 2012-09-26, 15:07

Hi,

name things that you think are special, unique or different (in comparison to your home country) about Vietnamese language in general?

Vietnamese, when they say how old they are, don't just tell how long they've lived since they were born but add the 9 month they're in their mother's womb. So usually they will tell you they are one year older than we would expect them to say. ..... I hope I could my point across.

And in Vietnam it's absolutely ok to ask how old you are (even with women :lol: ).

What do you think is special about Vietnamese language?

Regards.
Please correct all my mistakes, no matter how trivial they may seem to you, also, please help me to improve my phrases. Thank you in advance!
---
S'il vous plaît, corrigez toutes mes fautes, même si elles vous paraissent insignifiantes. Et aidez-moi, s'il vous plaît, à améliorer ma façon de m'exprimer. Merci d'avance!
---
Nếu tôi viết chỗ nào chưa đúng, dù là lỗi nhỏ hay nghiêm trọng, thì các bạn hãy sửa lại giúp tôi hoặc góp ý để tôi có thể học hỏi và rút kinh nghiệm. Cám ơn các bạn nhé!

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abcdefg
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Re: What is special about Vietnamese language in general?

Postby abcdefg » 2012-09-30, 15:03

korn wrote:What do you think is special about Vietnamese language?

We add a lot of nonsense words in spoken language, that's why when translating to English we're often stuck :lol:
Tôi kể người nghe chuyện Phố-trong-sông,
chuyện những mùa Đông đi qua thời con gái.
Bóng đổ dài, bước chân người mê mải
Gió chở mùa về,
hoang hoải cả giấc mơ..

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korn
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Re: What is special about Vietnamese language in general?

Postby korn » 2012-09-30, 15:04

abcdefg wrote:
korn wrote:What do you think is special about Vietnamese language?

We add a lot of nonsense words in spoken language, that's why when translating to English we're often stuck :lol:

Do you care to give us concrete examples to what you've just said?
Please correct all my mistakes, no matter how trivial they may seem to you, also, please help me to improve my phrases. Thank you in advance!
---
S'il vous plaît, corrigez toutes mes fautes, même si elles vous paraissent insignifiantes. Et aidez-moi, s'il vous plaît, à améliorer ma façon de m'exprimer. Merci d'avance!
---
Nếu tôi viết chỗ nào chưa đúng, dù là lỗi nhỏ hay nghiêm trọng, thì các bạn hãy sửa lại giúp tôi hoặc góp ý để tôi có thể học hỏi và rút kinh nghiệm. Cám ơn các bạn nhé!

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abcdefg
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Re: What is special about Vietnamese language in general?

Postby abcdefg » 2012-10-03, 16:00

Yes, but I think these followings are only Northern colloquial. They will not interfere with the meaning of the sentence, but will bring troubles if we want to translate word by word.
- "Thế này chứ các bác ạ, chả là hôm qua em đang đi trên đường thì thấy mấy hàng bán hoa, em mới nhớ ra là hôm nay sinh nhật con bạn. Chết nỗi là nay vừa cuối tháng lại vừa Trung thu, nhưng không tặng quà thì chết với nó.."
- "Ai bảo chỉ một đằng mà cứ thích đi một nẻo."
- "Trường mình cứ hay nguyên tắc mà, cực ghét vì kiểu nó cứ lằng nhằng mất thời gian í "
...

And colorful expressions like "vãi (something)", "chém gió", "ông đây", "làm một cú", etc. are real challenges if a foreigner asks what they mean.
Tôi kể người nghe chuyện Phố-trong-sông,
chuyện những mùa Đông đi qua thời con gái.
Bóng đổ dài, bước chân người mê mải
Gió chở mùa về,
hoang hoải cả giấc mơ..

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korn
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Re: What is special about Vietnamese language in general?

Postby korn » 2012-10-05, 15:00

...... speaking of "nonsense words".... those words are also used in written language (at least via emails and posts) but how would you translate them best?
- nhé
- nhì
Please correct all my mistakes, no matter how trivial they may seem to you, also, please help me to improve my phrases. Thank you in advance!
---
S'il vous plaît, corrigez toutes mes fautes, même si elles vous paraissent insignifiantes. Et aidez-moi, s'il vous plaît, à améliorer ma façon de m'exprimer. Merci d'avance!
---
Nếu tôi viết chỗ nào chưa đúng, dù là lỗi nhỏ hay nghiêm trọng, thì các bạn hãy sửa lại giúp tôi hoặc góp ý để tôi có thể học hỏi và rút kinh nghiệm. Cám ơn các bạn nhé!

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abcdefg
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Re: What is special about Vietnamese language in general?

Postby abcdefg » 2012-10-06, 6:20

Those words are used in sms, emails and posts to show a level of casualness; they denote what would have been said if we met face to face, but they are not used in written (formal) language at all. Like, if a school girl writes those in her literature/Vietnamese assignments, her teacher will cross them off.

I don't have any solution to translate them, I just simply ignore and translate the sentence's meaning instead :D
Tôi kể người nghe chuyện Phố-trong-sông,
chuyện những mùa Đông đi qua thời con gái.
Bóng đổ dài, bước chân người mê mải
Gió chở mùa về,
hoang hoải cả giấc mơ..

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Pangu
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Re: What is special about Vietnamese language in general?

Postby Pangu » 2012-10-06, 15:33

korn wrote:Vietnamese, when they say how old they are, don't just tell how long they've lived since they were born but add the 9 month they're in their mother's womb. So usually they will tell you they are one year older than we would expect them to say. ..... I hope I could my point across.

Actually this is not unique to Vietnamese and it's actually part of Chinese influence.

With Chinese tradition, the year you're born is "year 1", so naturally on your "first birthday", you're actually turning 2. Whereas in the West, the year you're born is "year 0".

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Re: What is special about Vietnamese language in general?

Postby Yasna » 2012-10-06, 15:47

I think the most special thing about Vietnamese is that it's the main representative of the 160 or so Austroasiatic languages. It has about 7 times more speakers than the next closest language, Cambodian.
Ein Buch muß die Axt sein für das gefrorene Meer in uns. - Kafka

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korn
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Re: What is special about Vietnamese language in general?

Postby korn » 2012-10-06, 18:41

I could be wrong on this but in comparison to Western languages the Vietnamese language tends to have words that are more onomatopoesis.

For example "to puke". This word would sound in Vietnam exactly like the act of puking: "oar" .... or something like that (ok, I know there's a more elaborated word for it but "oar" is possible too). "Hắt xì hơi" sounds exactly like when you sneeze. Or "to sh*t" it means "ỉa".... it sounds exactly what you would sound like when you do your sh*t.... :rotfl:
Or "to eruct": The Vietnamese word for that sounds exactly when you eruct: "ợ" and that's not just colloquial but an official word....
Or "ù tai" = having Tinnitus. It literally means hearing a dump sound.... in your head it really sounds "uuuuuuu" and that's how you pronounce it: "ù".

I may be a little bit silly today, but it's true! :D
Last edited by korn on 2012-10-23, 16:51, edited 2 times in total.
Please correct all my mistakes, no matter how trivial they may seem to you, also, please help me to improve my phrases. Thank you in advance!
---
S'il vous plaît, corrigez toutes mes fautes, même si elles vous paraissent insignifiantes. Et aidez-moi, s'il vous plaît, à améliorer ma façon de m'exprimer. Merci d'avance!
---
Nếu tôi viết chỗ nào chưa đúng, dù là lỗi nhỏ hay nghiêm trọng, thì các bạn hãy sửa lại giúp tôi hoặc góp ý để tôi có thể học hỏi và rút kinh nghiệm. Cám ơn các bạn nhé!

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korn
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Re: What is special about Vietnamese language in general?

Postby korn » 2012-10-09, 13:41

Correct me if I'm wrong, but another thing I realized is, Vietnamese lack nouns in comparison to many Western languages. E.g. in German we would say "Postbote" for postman (<-- one word for one object). In Vietnamese though, it would be like "người đưa thư" (=the person who brings letters). So in Vietnamese you don't have one word for an object but rather a description of the object.
Please correct all my mistakes, no matter how trivial they may seem to you, also, please help me to improve my phrases. Thank you in advance!
---
S'il vous plaît, corrigez toutes mes fautes, même si elles vous paraissent insignifiantes. Et aidez-moi, s'il vous plaît, à améliorer ma façon de m'exprimer. Merci d'avance!
---
Nếu tôi viết chỗ nào chưa đúng, dù là lỗi nhỏ hay nghiêm trọng, thì các bạn hãy sửa lại giúp tôi hoặc góp ý để tôi có thể học hỏi và rút kinh nghiệm. Cám ơn các bạn nhé!

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Pangu
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Re: What is special about Vietnamese language in general?

Postby Pangu » 2012-10-09, 13:53

korn wrote:Correct me if I'm wrong, but another thing I realized is, Vietnamese lack nouns in comparison to many Western languages. E.g. in German we would say "Postbote" for postman (<-- one word for one object). In Vietnamese though, it would be like "người đưa thư" (=the person who brings letters). So in Vietnamese you don't have one word for an object but rather a description of the object.

It depends on how you define "word". Just because in Vietnamese, the "word" is written separately by syllables it doesn't necessarily mean it's multiple "words". At the end of the day, "người đưa thư" = postman = one single idea. If you break it up, does it still mean the same? This is why I've always thought Quoc Ngu should be written with "words" together like in Hanyu Pinyin.

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Re: What is special about Vietnamese language in general?

Postby korn » 2012-10-09, 14:34

Pangu wrote:It depends on how you define "word". Just because in Vietnamese, the "word" is written separately by syllables it doesn't necessarily mean it's multiple "words". At the end of the day, "người đưa thư" = postman = one single idea. If you break it up, does it still mean the same? This is why I've always thought Quoc Ngu should be written with "words" together like in Hanyu Pinyin.

they aren't just syllables (which would imply they have no meaning) in fact each of those "syllables" do have meaning: người = person; đưa = to bring; thư= letter. Just because the majority of Vietnamese words have only one syllable doesn't change the fact that they are words, each having meaning of their own.

Albeit, I have to say not having one noun that describes one idea, but instead "describing" this idea with multiple words, is not uniquely Vietnamese. French for example has this characteristic as well.
Last edited by korn on 2012-10-09, 15:58, edited 2 times in total.
Please correct all my mistakes, no matter how trivial they may seem to you, also, please help me to improve my phrases. Thank you in advance!
---
S'il vous plaît, corrigez toutes mes fautes, même si elles vous paraissent insignifiantes. Et aidez-moi, s'il vous plaît, à améliorer ma façon de m'exprimer. Merci d'avance!
---
Nếu tôi viết chỗ nào chưa đúng, dù là lỗi nhỏ hay nghiêm trọng, thì các bạn hãy sửa lại giúp tôi hoặc góp ý để tôi có thể học hỏi và rút kinh nghiệm. Cám ơn các bạn nhé!

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Pangu
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Re: What is special about Vietnamese language in general?

Postby Pangu » 2012-10-09, 14:49

korn wrote:
Pangu wrote:It depends on how you define "word". Just because in Vietnamese, the "word" is written separately by syllables it doesn't necessarily mean it's multiple "words". At the end of the day, "người đưa thư" = postman = one single idea. If you break it up, does it still mean the same? This is why I've always thought Quoc Ngu should be written with "words" together like in Hanyu Pinyin.

they aren't just syllables (which would imply they have no meaning) in fact each of those "syllables" do have meaning: người = person; đưa = to bring; thư= letter. Just because the majority of Vietnamese words have only one syllable doesn't change the fact that they are words, each having meaning of their own.

You are partially right but those aren't words in that situation, they are morphemes. Similar to the English word "postman" is made up of two morphemes, post and man.

The point is that the three morphemes of người đưa thư come together to form a single, unique idea that they can't form on their own.

korn wrote:Albeit, I have to say not having one noun that describes one idea, but instead "describing" this idea with multiple words, is not uniquely Vietnamese. French for example have this characteristic too.

All languages (that I know) have examples of this.

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Re: What is special about Vietnamese language in general?

Postby korn » 2012-10-09, 14:59

Pangu wrote:
korn wrote:Albeit, I have to say not having one noun that describes one idea, but instead "describing" this idea with multiple words, is not uniquely Vietnamese. French for example have this characteristic too.

All languages (that I know) have examples of this.

Yeah, but some more than others. I think languages like French and Vietnamese are at the end of the spectrum. But this will lead to the discussion whether you see the morphemes as independent words or not.
Please correct all my mistakes, no matter how trivial they may seem to you, also, please help me to improve my phrases. Thank you in advance!
---
S'il vous plaît, corrigez toutes mes fautes, même si elles vous paraissent insignifiantes. Et aidez-moi, s'il vous plaît, à améliorer ma façon de m'exprimer. Merci d'avance!
---
Nếu tôi viết chỗ nào chưa đúng, dù là lỗi nhỏ hay nghiêm trọng, thì các bạn hãy sửa lại giúp tôi hoặc góp ý để tôi có thể học hỏi và rút kinh nghiệm. Cám ơn các bạn nhé!

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Pangu
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Re: What is special about Vietnamese language in general?

Postby Pangu » 2012-10-09, 15:18

korn wrote:
Pangu wrote:
korn wrote:Albeit, I have to say not having one noun that describes one idea, but instead "describing" this idea with multiple words, is not uniquely Vietnamese. French for example have this characteristic too.

All languages (that I know) have examples of this.

Yeah, but some more than others. I think languages like French and Vietnamese are at the end of the spectrum. But this will lead to the discussion whether you see the morphemes as independent words or not.

Another thing to consider is great majority of modern linguistic studies were based on European languages. So to attempt to define non-European languages by European linguistic standards is much like fitting a square peg into a round hole. Sometimes it may fit but even when it does, it would fit awkwardly.

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Re: What is special about Vietnamese language in general?

Postby korn » 2012-10-09, 15:52

Another thing is, the vast majority of Vietnamese words have only one syllable. So the words are very short. Though the words are very short, only a tiny fraction of Vietnamese words are so short that they consist of just one letter - in contrary to English who have their "I" and "a".

More over if you leave Asian pacific countries aside, then Vietnam is the only Asian country that uses Latin Alphabet.
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Re: What is special about Vietnamese language in general?

Postby Tenebrarum » 2012-10-09, 17:20

I agree with Pangu. Western linguistics might not be applicable if we want to debate what constitutes a "word" in analytic Asian languages like Vietnamese. In my view "người đưa thư" is only one word though, and isn't "Postbote" made up from more than one component too?

korn wrote:Another thing is, the vast majority of Vietnamese words have only one syllable.

The vast majority of Vietnamese words have two inseparable syllables, because most of them are loans from Classical Chinese. :wink:

korn wrote:More over if you leave Asian pacific countries aside, then Vietnam is the only Asian country that uses Latin Alphabet.

I'm not entirely sure what you mean by that, but Vietnamese is not unique in the Orient in this regard. You've got romanisation systems for some Southern Chinese languages too, like Hakka and Hokkien, and damn, don't they resemble Chữ Quốc Ngữ from the olden days.

Image
(Foochow Romanized)

The one thing they share in common? They're all a result of Christian missionary efforts.

korn wrote:Vietnamese, when they say how old they are, don't just tell how long they've lived since they were born but add the 9 month they're in their mother's womb. So usually they will tell you they are one year older than we would expect them to say.
That's increasingly a thing of the past. A lot of people my age don't even know there's such a custom.
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Re: What is special about Vietnamese language in general?

Postby korn » 2012-10-20, 19:28

Tenebrarum wrote:I agree with Pangu. Western linguistics might not be applicable if we want to debate what constitutes a "word" in analytic Asian languages like Vietnamese. In my view "người đưa thư" is only one word though, and isn't "Postbote" made up from more than one component too?

korn wrote:Another thing is, the vast majority of Vietnamese words have only one syllable.

The vast majority of Vietnamese words have two inseparable syllables, because most of them are loans from Classical Chinese. :wink:


It depends on what you would define as one word. If you think components=morphemes=words, then you may be right. But honestly saying I've got a more simplistic definition of a word: a word is separated by a space from other words.... I'm a simple guy. :D

So given you're right, Vietnamese still need a lot of more words to describe the same thing:

"Postbote" is make up by two components: Post (=post) and Bote (=carrier)
"Bote" = "người đưa tin", "người chuyên chở" <-- see Vietnamese needs three words to describe.

Maybe "Postbote" was a bad example. What about "Romantik" (= romance) in Vietnamese it's "Chủ nghĩa lãng mạn" <-- in German you need one noun while in Vietnamese you have a description.
Tenebrarum wrote:
korn wrote:More over if you leave Asian pacific countries aside, then Vietnam is the only Asian country that uses Latin Alphabet.

I'm not entirely sure what you mean by that, but Vietnamese is not unique in the Orient in this regard. You've got romanisation systems for some Southern Chinese languages too, like Hakka and Hokkien, and damn, don't they resemble Chữ Quốc Ngữ from the olden days.


I mean using a language as official language that is based on the Latin Alphabet. I know the Chinese use pinyin, but not as a community language. I hope I could put my point across now.
Please correct all my mistakes, no matter how trivial they may seem to you, also, please help me to improve my phrases. Thank you in advance!
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S'il vous plaît, corrigez toutes mes fautes, même si elles vous paraissent insignifiantes. Et aidez-moi, s'il vous plaît, à améliorer ma façon de m'exprimer. Merci d'avance!
---
Nếu tôi viết chỗ nào chưa đúng, dù là lỗi nhỏ hay nghiêm trọng, thì các bạn hãy sửa lại giúp tôi hoặc góp ý để tôi có thể học hỏi và rút kinh nghiệm. Cám ơn các bạn nhé!

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Re: What is special about Vietnamese language in general?

Postby Pangu » 2012-10-20, 21:09

korn wrote:
Tenebrarum wrote:I agree with Pangu. Western linguistics might not be applicable if we want to debate what constitutes a "word" in analytic Asian languages like Vietnamese. In my view "người đưa thư" is only one word though, and isn't "Postbote" made up from more than one component too?

korn wrote:Another thing is, the vast majority of Vietnamese words have only one syllable.

The vast majority of Vietnamese words have two inseparable syllables, because most of them are loans from Classical Chinese. :wink:


It depends on what you would define as one word. If you think components=morphemes=words, then you may be right. But honestly saying I've got a more simplistic definition of a word: a word is separated by a space from other words.... I'm a simple guy. :D

I'm sorry but whether you're simple or not doesn't say anything about whether you're right or wrong.

korn wrote:So given you're right, Vietnamese still need a lot of more words to describe the same thing:

"Postbote" is make up by two components: Post (=post) and Bote (=carrier)
"Bote" = "người đưa tin", "người chuyên chở" <-- see Vietnamese needs three words to describe.

Maybe "Postbote" was a bad example. What about "Romantik" (= romance) in Vietnamese it's "Chủ nghĩa lãng mạn" <-- in German you need one noun while in Vietnamese you have a description.

That is completely irrelevant. You are again confusing syllables/morphemes with "words". Also you're still trying to force Vietnamese to fit into European linguistic standards
korn wrote:
Tenebrarum wrote:
korn wrote:More over if you leave Asian pacific countries aside, then Vietnam is the only Asian country that uses Latin Alphabet.

I'm not entirely sure what you mean by that, but Vietnamese is not unique in the Orient in this regard. You've got romanisation systems for some Southern Chinese languages too, like Hakka and Hokkien, and damn, don't they resemble Chữ Quốc Ngữ from the olden days.


I mean using a language as official language that is based on the Latin Alphabet. I know the Chinese use pinyin, but not as a community language. I hope I could put my point across now.

What IS your point?

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Re: What is special about Vietnamese language in general?

Postby Guillermo » 2012-10-20, 22:08

His point is very clearly that Vietnamese is the only major East Asian language to use the Latin alphabet as its official writing system, and that makes it unique.
native: [flag]en[/flag]
médiocre: [flag]fr[/flag] [flag]es[/flag]
生疏: [flag]zh[/flag] [flag]de[/flag]
基本的: [flag]ja[/flag] [flag]ru[/flag] [flag]hi[/flag]
começando: [flag]pt[/flag] [flag]ko[/flag]


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