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Learning Vietnamese by talking to local Vietnamese people

Posted: 2012-09-25, 8:27
by korn
Hi there,

I want to practice my Vietnamese by speaking Vietnamese to local Vietnamese people. But I wonder whether this is a custom in Vietnam, that a foreigner chit chat with a street vendor. I wouldn't want to speak with random people, since I don't want to creep them out.

So what is the best way to talk to local Vietnamese people and what kind of local people (street vendors, kiosk owner, random people, etc.) when you're in Vietnam (Hanoi to be specific)?

Thanks in advance. Best regards.

Re: Learning Vietnamese by talking to local Vietnamese people

Posted: 2012-09-29, 15:22
by maianhvk
From what people always tell me, Vietnamese are friendly. Actually they're overfriendly sometimes. Especially taxi drivers.

If you're in Hanoi, go to Hoan Kiem lake and search for old people. Those living in Old Quarter, they talk a lot, know many interesting things about Hanoi, have amusing pov, and they're super nice too. Youngsters are boring :)

Re: Learning Vietnamese by talking to local Vietnamese people

Posted: 2012-09-29, 18:53
by Tenebrarum
maianhvk wrote:From what people always tell me, Vietnamese are friendly. Actually they're overfriendly sometimes.

From my POV, people in Vietnam are no more friendlier than folks in other countries. They seem to lack manners that you would expect from modern city people, in fact. Not to mention that, living under an oppressive regime has caused them to treat each other with cowardice and cruelty and without shame. Anyone who has been to Mainland China would understand what I'm talking about.

Re: Learning Vietnamese by talking to local Vietnamese people

Posted: 2012-09-29, 19:19
by korn
Tenebrarum wrote:
maianhvk wrote:From what people always tell me, Vietnamese are friendly. Actually they're overfriendly sometimes.

From my POV, people in Vietnam are no more friendlier than folks in other countries. They seem to lack manners that you would expect from modern city people, in fact. Not to mention that, living under an oppressive regime has caused them to treat each other with cowardice and cruelty and without shame. Anyone who has been to Mainland China would understand what I'm talking about.


Could somebody please tell me when Tenebrarum is being ironic and when serious.....? :shock:

Re: Learning Vietnamese by talking to local Vietnamese people

Posted: 2012-09-29, 20:02
by JackFrost
He's serious this time.

Re: Learning Vietnamese by talking to local Vietnamese people

Posted: 2012-09-29, 20:09
by korn
Tenebrarum, please give us concrete examples to back up your POV.

Re: Learning Vietnamese by talking to local Vietnamese people

Posted: 2012-09-30, 8:02
by maianhvk
Tenebrarum wrote:From my POV, people in Vietnam are no more friendlier than folks in other countries. They seem to lack manners that you would expect from modern city people, in fact. Not to mention that, living under an oppressive regime has caused them to treat each other with cowardice and cruelty and without shame. Anyone who has been to Mainland China would understand what I'm talking about.


Yeah, that. Tenebrarum wasn't being ironic. I'm embarrassed (on behalf of those people, because obviously they don't know what shame and self-respect are).

So I suggest you look for those who look well educated, polite, etc. to talk to. Of course we should not judge a book by its cover, but still, I think it's a very effective strategy.

Re: Learning Vietnamese by talking to local Vietnamese people

Posted: 2012-09-30, 14:04
by korn
Have you ever lived in another country for a very long time already? Not weeks or months but like 10 years or so? I think, you'll then realize, in every country there'll be a**holes to be found.

Yet it would be still interesting to know what seemingly common behaviors you think have recognized among your own citizens that you'd label them so negatively.

BTW: How do polite and educated Vietnamese people look like? Well/ fancy dressed? Honestly saying I fear those the most.

Re: Learning Vietnamese by talking to local Vietnamese people

Posted: 2012-09-30, 14:32
by abcdefg
I don't think it's a good idea to talk to street vendors or kiosk owners, since they have their business to mind and you could bother them (unless the conversation is about business, like, you can pick an item and ask for price, its materials, or its making process, etc. if they seem friendly you can carry it a bit more, but you would risk buying that thing & they still can be bothered).

And it is neither a good idea to talk to random people on the street. Personally, I would freak out a bit if a random foreigner approached me with enthusiasm for a chat. However, you could go to some places where people have idle time on their hand, like on a bus or at quán trà đá. I think people would be more open to talk to you. Also, sometimes the opportunity will just arise by itself, I've been talking to a lot of random people myself but now I can't sum up how and where.

Good luck and just go with your purpose, don't mind what Tenebrarum said. If you just look for a small talk, people's attitude and mannerism should not bother you much. Of course it's always better if you can find nice partners, but even unfortunate encounters can bring you something useful :).

Re: Learning Vietnamese by talking to local Vietnamese people

Posted: 2012-09-30, 14:49
by maianhvk
korn wrote:Have you ever lived in another country for a very long time already? Not weeks or month but like 10 years or so? I think, you'll then realize, in every country there'll be a**holes to be found.

Yet it would be still interesting to know about what seemingly common behaviors you think have recognized among your own citizens that you'd label them so negatively.

BTW: How do polite and educated Vietnamese people look like? Well/ fancy dressed? Honestly saying I fear those the most.


Nope, I haven't. So I can't really compare.

When I'm tired I avoid crowds because it drives me crazy to see people behave... how to say it... uncivilized-ly, maybe? Littering, swearing ceaselessly, tardiness, to name just a few awful habits.

Polite, educated folks look... decent. Well, just look at their faces. Watch them for some minutes and you'll know their manners. As for the clothes, I have no idea. Generally, I avoid those who look like they spend half a day in front of the mirror.

Re: Learning Vietnamese by talking to local Vietnamese people

Posted: 2012-09-30, 14:53
by abcdefg
korn wrote:Yet it would be still interesting to know what seemingly common behaviors you think have recognized among your own citizens that you'd label them so negatively.

BTW: How do polite and educated Vietnamese people look like? Well/ fancy dressed? Honestly saying I fear those the most.

I just finished my post but I think these questions are really interesting :D. I also agree with what Tenebrarum said, Vietnamese people are seriously lack of manners, regardless of how rich and educated they may be. 'Manners' here are not limit to not littering and spitting on the street, though sometimes they are the only things you hope for when strolling down a pavement, but generally it's the 'grace' that I seldom see in a Vietnamese person. When I was in Ukraine, I lived in a middle-class traditional Russian family, and quite often I felt ashamed of myself. I feel like Vietnam is a small, poor, barely culture-rooted country, and going outside, Vietnamese are like small creatures who are either rude, annoying or just plain ignorable :(.

BTW: How do polite and educated Vietnamese people look like? Well/ fancy dressed?

Not fancy, but clean and tidy dressed.

Re: Learning Vietnamese by talking to local Vietnamese people

Posted: 2012-09-30, 15:06
by Tenebrarum
korn wrote:Have you ever lived in another country for a very long time already? Not weeks or months but like 10 years or so? I think, you'll then realize, in every country there'll be a**holes to be found.

Of course there are assholes everywhere, and every country has its own problems, but the pitfalls of your culture wouldn't become apparent to you unless you've had an opportunity to get out of it, live somewhere else for a while, then come back inside. Living in a prosperous, democratic country provided me with a new, clearer perspective on what's wrong with Vietnam. I'm not saying mine is the only valid one - It's just that I've been to both worlds, and I can see the differences.

korn wrote:Yet it would be still interesting to know what seemingly common behaviors you think have recognized among your own citizens that you'd label them so negatively.

Tell me, do people in Germany think it's acceptable:
- To litter and spit on the street?
- To throw a dead rat onto the street, so vehicles can run over the carcass and spill the innards?
- To rush into an elevator before the people inside have a chance to get out?
- To gather around a bloody motorbike accident and gawk, blocking traffic, all the while doing absolutely nothing?
- To think of people who dare to speak up against unreasonable authority as foolish and "having too much time in their hands"?
- To revere wealth and power, and to suck up to people possessing those two things, to do their bidding regardless of right or wrong?

korn wrote:BTW: How do polite and educated Vietnamese people look like? Well/ fancy dressed? Honestly saying I fear those the most.
Especially in Vietnam, where being educated doesn't mean having a sense of decency.

Re: Learning Vietnamese by talking to local Vietnamese people

Posted: 2012-09-30, 15:12
by abcdefg
Tenebrarum wrote:- To litter and spit on the street?
- To throw a dead rat onto the street, so vehicles can run over the carcass and spill the innards?
- To rush into an elevator before the people inside have a chance to get out?
- To gather around a bloody motorbike accident and gawk, blocking traffic, all the while doing absolutely nothing?
- To think of people who dare to speak up against unreasonable authority as foolish and "having too much time in their hands"?
- To revere wealth and power, and to suck up to people possessing those two things, to do their bidding regardless of right or wrong?

*Feeling like I'm trolling* These are so Korea, Draven :). Maybe it's not Vietnam, but Asia in general. Except for a few countries, of course.

Re: Learning Vietnamese by talking to local Vietnamese people

Posted: 2012-09-30, 15:27
by korn
Tenebrarum wrote:
korn wrote:Have you ever lived in another country for a very long time already? Not weeks or months but like 10 years or so? I think, you'll then realize, in every country there'll be a**holes to be found.

Of course there are assholes everywhere, and every country has its own problems, but the pitfalls of your culture wouldn't become apparent to you unless you've had an opportunity to get out of it, live somewhere else for a while, then come back inside. Living in a prosperous, democratic country provided me with a new, clearer perspective on what's wrong with Vietnam. I'm not saying mine is the only valid one - It's just that I've been to both worlds, and I can see the differences.

Would you mind telling me one country you think would satisfy your standard in regards to mannerism the best ?
Tenebrarum wrote:
korn wrote:Yet it would be still interesting to know what seemingly common behaviors you think have recognized among your own citizens that you'd label them so negatively.

Tell me, do people in Germany think it's acceptable:
- To litter and spit on the street?

In poorer regions of Germany, especially the Eastern part, people do that. And when they are drunk enough, they do even pee publicly.
Tenebrarum wrote:- To throw a dead rat onto the street, so vehicles can run over the carcass and spill the innards?

No, but killing or molesting your own babies/ children is a people's sport in this region (Germany/ Austria), I think. Every year there's on average two cases about that (.....cases that are known....).
Tenebrarum wrote:- To rush into an elevator before the people inside have a chance to get out?

Sometimes people do that in the metro. I have to admit not often, but it happens from time to time. When I was in Vietnam I didn't notice people do that - and I think they didn't (or I've got a bad memory).
Tenebrarum wrote:- To gather around a bloody motorbike accident and gawk, blocking traffic, all the while doing absolutely nothing?

C'mon, of course they do that, too. Eventually there are people who will phone the police or ambulance but lookie loos around accidents are normal - unfortunately. But what do you think about this: Most people here would shut up and look away if a black man was beaten or harassed by several neo-nazis.
Tenebrarum wrote:- To think of people who dare to speak up against unreasonable authority as foolish and "having too much time in their hands"?

Most people I know have never participated in a demonstration or something like that. Yeah, they do complain but they do jack about it. So at the end of the day, the results in that respect is the same in both countries.
Tenebrarum wrote:- To revere wealth and power, and to suck up to people possessing those two things, to do their bidding regardless of right or wrong?

The majority of people here do exactly that!

Humm, that makes me think... Have I surrounded myself with losers here in Germany??.... :/ (that wasn't nice of me)

Re: Learning Vietnamese by talking to local Vietnamese people

Posted: 2012-10-02, 8:17
by zerogravital
abcdefg wrote:I feel like Vietnam is a small, poor, barely culture-rooted country, and going outside, Vietnamese are like small creatures who are either rude, annoying or just plain ignorable :(.

You are so unfortunate to originate from such a country. I feel sympathetic to your unhappiness.

Re: Learning Vietnamese by talking to local Vietnamese people

Posted: 2012-10-02, 12:31
by korn
zerogravital wrote:
abcdefg wrote:I feel like Vietnam is a small, poor, barely culture-rooted country, and going outside, Vietnamese are like small creatures who are either rude, annoying or just plain ignorable :(.

You are so unfortunate to originate from such a country. I feel sympathetic to your unhappiness.

Aren't you Vietnamese yourself? Would a Vietnamese say to another Vietnamese "such a country" when it's also his own? I'm sorry, but that's a tad weird in my book, don't you think? :/..... or I am missing the irony in your text.

@abcdefg: I want to encourage you, I think in comparison to other immigrants Vietnamese are doing fairly well. These are the latest positive news of 2012 about Vietnamese I could find. I think there are more.

http://www.dtinews.vn/en/news/025/23608 ... ntest.html
The Vietnamese-German Nguyen Kim Mai Thi has won first prize in the 2012 Falling Walls Lab contest at Cologne, Germany for her research work entitled Breaking the Wall of The Human Cell.
The winner of the Falling Walls Lab Cologne Nguyen Kim Mai Thi during her presentation: "Breaking the Wall of The Human Cell"

http://english.vietnamnet.vn/fms/specia ... essor.html
Prof. Le Hang and her teacher, Prof. David C. Jewitt, director of the Institute for Planets and Exoplanets, University of California – Los Angeles, won the award for their discovery and characterization of trans-Neptunian bodies, an archeological treasure dating back to the formation of the solar system and the long-sought source of short period comets.

Re: Learning Vietnamese by talking to local Vietnamese people

Posted: 2012-10-02, 16:43
by zerogravital
korn wrote:
zerogravital wrote: Aren't you Vietnamese yourself? Would a Vietnamese say to another Vietnamese "such a country" when it's also his own? I'm sorry, but that's a tad weird in my book, don't you think? :/..... or I am missing the irony in your text.

Yes, I am Vietnamese too, I assume that I told you before. Apparently, you don’t understand my words. “such a country” to her and “such a country” to me are not the same, and I don’t know what “such a country” to you is like. However, I love “such a country” no matter how “small”, “poor”, it is and no matter how small, annoying or ignorable “creatures” of “such a country” are. Oh, I like this, the phrase “Vietnamese creatures”, a very innovative phrase coined by a female Vietnamese former human. I guess that the human kind’s dictionary is about to be added in a new entry. No irony here, Korn. I am serious, really. I just feel sad and unhappy for her.

Re: Learning Vietnamese by talking to local Vietnamese people

Posted: 2012-10-02, 17:13
by Tenebrarum
Just ignore zerogravital, korn. He's the kind of person who lacks the ability to see validity in others' viewpoints. These people - making up, like, over 90% of Vietnam's young population - would take offence to any criticism against their beloved country, especially when it comes from their fellow countrymen.

This is, unfortunately, one of the more serious effects of totalitarian rule that I have mentioned earlier.

I'll see how ruder he can get when someone writes something he doesn't like.

zerogravital wrote:Oh, I like this, the phrase “Vietnamese creatures”, a very innovative phrase coined by a female Vietnamese former human.

Be very careful there. You're close to being reported. We don't tolerate ad hominem attacks here.

Re: Learning Vietnamese by talking to local Vietnamese people

Posted: 2012-10-03, 5:23
by zerogravital
Tenebrarum wrote: He's the kind of person who lacks the ability to see validity in others' viewpoints. These people - making up, like, over 90% of Vietnam's young population

So you think you are more brillant than "over 90% of Vietnam's young population"? You think you could change the whole Vietnamese society, make it better, make Vietnamese people richer, or you will be a Vietnamese potential president who is the first introducing the multi-party government system model into Vietnam? What good things have you guys done for your country other than just trying to find the most disgusting words to badmouth your Vietnamese fellows (including your friends, parent, brothers, grandparent, and so on) most offensively.
Tenebrarum wrote:I'll see how ruder he can get when someone writes something he doesn't like.
zerogravital wrote:Oh, I like this, the phrase “Vietnamese creatures”, a very innovative phrase coined by a female Vietnamese former human.


So do you like it when someone, especially a Vietnamese, calls you "A Vietnamese rude creature" like she did?.

"former human" is never ruder than the "title" she have labeled Us all Vietnamese as - "rude creatures", why have you highlighted my words, while you should have highlighted her words instead of mine, are you out of your sense?

Tenebrarum wrote:Be very careful there. You're close to being reported. We don't tolerate ad hominem attacks here.


So are you threatening to throw me out of the Unilang. Oh, I am so scared, please, for God's Sake, don't do that to me, anyway, we are friends, that's right? :rotfl:.

Re: Learning Vietnamese by talking to local Vietnamese people

Posted: 2012-10-03, 16:53
by abcdefg
@korn: I was talking about the mannerism and attitude of common Vietnamese, not the achievements or level of intelligence. I believe Vietnamese are just as smart as any other nationality in the world, but we don't look like or behave like coming from a good, respectable environment. That is mostly caused from the specific history and geography of the country... as we seem to have a 'different' standard of courtesy.

@zerogravital: You seem to deduce that criticism is equal to hatred, so I think our starting point is already different. Also, in my opinion, nationalism is egoism for the most part, so being able to criticize yourself and accept criticism about yourself means that you are more mature and objective - which coincides with being 'brilliant' in some ways.