Vietnamese has six personal pronouns: tôi (I), bạn (you), anh (you, male), chị (you, female), ông (he), and bà (she).
Vietnamese, a language spoken by over 90 million people worldwide, has a unique pronoun system that reflects the cultural and social nuances of the Vietnamese society. While pronouns in Vietnamese are relatively limited compared to some other languages, they still play an important role in communication. In Vietnamese, there are six personal pronouns commonly used:
Tôi (I): This pronoun is used to refer to oneself. It is the most general and widely used pronoun for “I” in Vietnamese.
Bạn (you): Bạn is an inclusive pronoun used to refer to the second person singular “you”. It can be used to address both friends and strangers.
Anh (you, male): Anh is a pronoun specifically used to address a male. It is commonly used by Vietnamese people when talking to a male who is slightly older or of the same age.
Chị (you, female): Chị is a pronoun specifically used to address a female. Similar to anh, it is commonly used when talking to a female who is slightly older or of the same age.
Ông (he): Ông is the pronoun for “he” in Vietnamese. It is used to refer to a male of older generation or someone with a higher social status.
Bà (she): Bà is the pronoun for “she” in Vietnamese. It is used to refer to a female of older generation or someone with a higher social status.
Interestingly, Vietnamese pronouns also reflect the concept of social hierarchy and respect within the culture. The usage of specific pronouns like anh and chị, which denote relative age and social status, emphasizes the importance of respect and politeness in Vietnamese society.
To illustrate further, here is a table summarizing the Vietnamese pronouns:
In summary, Vietnamese has six personal pronouns that encompass different genders, ages, and social hierarchies. These pronouns serve as an essential part of the language, reflecting the cultural values of respect and politeness within Vietnamese society.
As Vietnamese poet Nguyễn Trãi said, “In a language, the choice of pronouns is not just a matter of grammar, but it also speaks of the social and cultural structure of a society.”
Response to your question in video format
In this section of the video, the speaker introduces the topic of Vietnamese personal pronouns and how to address people in one’s own generation. Pronouns in Vietnamese are determined by factors such as generation, age, and gender. The speaker explains that younger individuals would address older siblings as “an” for men and “chi” for women, while older individuals would address younger siblings as “em” for both genders. When uncertain, it is safer to consider oneself younger to show respect. In service-based interactions, staff would address customers as “an” or “chi” to show respect, and the customer can respond in the same manner. The speaker mentions that future lessons will cover addressing people outside of one’s generation and other pronouns that do not use familial terms.
Interesting facts on the topic
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- older sister = anh / chị / bố
- younger brother/sister = em / anh / bác.
- father = mẹ / bố / chú
- mother = chú / em / mẹ
- grandma = bà / cháu / ông.
- grandfather = thím / ông / mợ
- uncle (younger than your parents) = chú / cô / bà
- aunt (younger than your parents) = chú / cháu / cô