SIMILAR WORDS - Vietnamese and Mandarin

For those with a strong background in Chinese, and are now trying to learn Vietnamese.

I know that there’s a lot of overlap in terms of borrowed words - would make it an easier language to pick up if there were less “new” words to remember.

Some might be similar in Mandarin, others words might be more similar in Cantonese, or Hokkien. Feel free to include more info here. Thanks!

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Advertising - Quang Cao (广告)
Agent - Dai Ly (代理)

Bridge - Cao(桥)

Contract - Hop Dong(合同)
Country - Quoc (国, but closer to the Canto/Hokk pronunciation)

Develop - Phat Trien (发展)
Dragon - Rong(龙)

East - Dong (东)
Electricity - Dien (电)

Floor (like in a multistory building) - Tang (I think it’s borrowed from 层)

Gold (the colour) - Vang (黄)

International - Quoc Te (国际)

Labor - Lao Dong (劳动)
Leg - Dui (腿)

Man - Nam (男)
Money - Tien (钱)

North - Bac (北)

Onion - Cu (葱)

Room - Phong (房)

South - Nam (南)

West - Tay (西)
Woman - Nu (女)

Year - Nam (年)


Oh so many and thats a great idea for anyone studying or with knowledge of both languages!
There are so many similary words.
I just discussed with a Vietnamese teacher that we need to “Phát triến” (发展)Flexi Classes. I am going to write regulary in this topic when I see more.

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Just included this in the main post, and alphabetised it

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This is genuinely very motivating. I am yet to study Vietnamese but I’ve watched some videos thus far.

It seems a whole new ball game compared to Mandarin… but maybe the same was true when I started Mandarin.

Seeing things like this (also loanwords) I find is really helpful. Makes you realise it’s attainable.

Thanks Ian


thanks a lot - but we need some tones on those VN ones?

A few more off the top of my head:

方法 Fāngfǎ - phương pháp

银行 - ngân hàng

Dàshǐ guǎn - đại sứ quán

电话 - điện thoại

农场 Nóngchǎng - nông trường

化学 Huàxué - hóa học

规定 Guīdìng - Quy định

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cám ơn

感恩 / gǎn ēn

I didn’t realize this until I learned the chinese for the American holiday Thanksgiving


Really, that’s where it comes from? That’s fascinating. Is there a dictionary that shows the old characters for Vietnamese words?

oooh, interesting… that’s quite a find!

also just discovered that “discuss” is thảo luận - 讨论