Essential Phrases You Will Need in Vietnam
Greetings and essentials
Xin Chào / Hello
Vietnamese has countless pronouns, all based on age, status, gender, and how long you’ve known the listener. But you really don’t need to learn all the greetings and essential phrases unless you’re planning on staying here for a while. To keep it simple, use this phrase to say ‘hello’. It’s good for everyone.
Cảm ơn / Thank you
It’s very simple, it sounds familiar to come on. If somebody says it to you, reply with ‘không có gì’ (comb caw zee). People often say “cam on” to show respect to each other. When they feel grateful, and they want to show that to that person, people will say “cam on” as well, or when they receive a compliment.
Có / Không — Yes / No
There are a few different essential phrases to say ‘yes’ in Vietnamese, but a simple ‘yah’ is good enough for foreigners, you can say uh to the people who are your age or younger. To say no, you make your mouth like a bubble and the k sound is silent
Xin Lỗi / Sorry
Use this to apologize, Vietnamese people usually add the pronoun or ạ word after to show respect. It can be used as an excuse for me. To get the attention of a server in a restaurant, shout out ‘Em ơi!’ (Em oy!) No need to be shy. It’s normal to shout for your server in Vietnam.
Tôi không hiểu / I don’t understand
This is the most common phrase for foreigners who don’t speak Vietnamese very well. When saying this phrase, Vietnamese people will understand and switch back to English when talking to you.
Tôi ăn chay/ I’m a vegetarian
When you go to a restaurant and want to order vegan food, you can say this phrase so they make sure to not use fish sauce or any products from animals