Learning Vietnamese by Means of the Heo
Your first Vietnamese vocabulary materializes from within a grocery store meat cooler.
by Bob Kerstetter
After some days into Vietnam you start to understand some of the language—just a very little—both written and spoken. While you can distinguish a few words audibly, the written language is somewhat easier—despite its extensive use of diacritical marks as in the phrase “Nó là rất tốt đẹp để đáp ứng bạn”—probably because it employs the familiar “abc characters,” as a Vietnamese friend says. For American English speakers, there is almost nothing familiar in the tonal enunciations of this language.
Your first Vietnamese vocabulary materializes from within a grocery store meat cooler. The cooler categorizes various meats by type. The cuts and parts—cât for kidney, tim for heart, gan for liver—obviously belong to one type of animal because of the common word on all of the product labels: heo. The well-known appearance of the tai, or ear, give it all away—you now know some anatomy words because of a pig.
Trâń Kìm Chaû helps us learn Vietnamese
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