* The registration form is found at

** The purpose of the 30-minute meeting in step 3 is for the ILV managers to collect/confirm information about the student’s available time and preferred location, and more importantly, to determine their level/study patterns with Vietnamese language or linguistics in general.

*** Please kindly follow these steps to join us. Should you have any questions, please leave us a message on / or email us at

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Update: 1st course of 2015 is accepting registrations! ILV’s new website is to be launched soon!

Dear all,

ILV is moving our website. The new website is a page full of information about Vietnamese classes, Vietnamese studies, culture and so on. It can also feature as a forum discussion and social network to connect students and tutors!

The content is being revised at the moment. We will announce the launching of the new website by the end of May 2015.

On another note, the first course of 2015 has just been opened to accept registrations!

This link will be closed at 5PM on Fri 15 May 2015. Classes are available on a first-come first served basis due to the limited number of qualified voluntary tutors.

Therefore, please register ASAP to be one of our 44 students of this course.

Good luck and stay tuned with us!

ILV Team

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Word-of-the-day: ỦA

Ủa (wooh-uh, said with a wobbly tone, down and then up, like you are drunk) is a tiny but useful word which always goes at the beginning of a sentence. We hear it too often, especially in the South. Normally, we say it to express surprise or astonishment to something unexpected.

  • ‘Anh biết không, ngày mai Châu đi Mỹ đấy!’ (You know that tomorrow Chau leaves for the states?)
  • ‘Ủa, tui không biết gì hết!’ (No I don’t!)
  • ‘Tại sao hôm qua em không nộp bài?’ (Teacher to student: Why didn’t you hand in the homework yesterday?)
  • ‘Ủa, em có nộp mà cô!’ (Miss, I did hand it in!)

Sometimes we say the tiny word in a casual way before striking a conversation or changing the topic.

  • ‘Ủa, có phải hôm qua anh gặp anh Nam không?’ (Hey, is it true that you met Nam yesterday?)
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Word-of-the-day: KHOAN

Khoan can mean many things, but the one we learn today is an imperative verb. When you want to say “Don’t do it YET!”, you can say “Khoan!”. Usually, people repeat the word at least 2 times ’cause most of the times, when you say it, it seems quite urgent that if you don’t say it right away and repeat it, the action may be done immediately.


For example, when a person is about to be executed, he/she can say “Khoan! Khoan! Khoan! Let me pray first!”

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The Names of the Days of the Week and What’s More

 As you may know, in Vietnamese the names of the days of the week are

Thứ hai

Thứ ba

Thứ tư

Thứ năm

Thứ sáu

Thứ bảy

Chủ nhật

If we translate them litterally into English, we’d have “second [day]”, “third”, “fourth” and so on, and lastly “day of the Lord” (the old name for Sunday in Vietnamese is Chúa-nhật, which in fact means “day of the Lord”).

Why are they so different from, say, the French language days of the week, despite 100 years of French colonization? A conjecture from the writer is… the Portuguese.

As a matter of historical fact, the Portuguese Catholic missionaries were some of the earliest linguists ever that set foot on Vietnan, around 16th or 17th century. Back then, the Vietnamese people wrote in Chinese or Nôm characters, the latter itself being an invention derived from the former. In order to facilitate the teaching of Gods, those missonaries learned the native language and began to transcribe it using their own writing system. Guess what, that was the birth of Quốc ngữ – Vietnamese language with a writing system based on Roman alphabet

The Portuguese missionary also applied how they called the days of a week. In their own language it goes like

domingo (Sunday, and etymologically means “day of the Lord”, back then considered the first day of the week),

segunda-feira (Monday),

terça-feira (Tuesday),

quarta-feira (Wednesday),

quinta-feira (Thursday),

sexta-feira (Friday),

sábado (Saturday)

The days with –feira then dropped the word in colloquial language, and became segunda, terça, quarta, quinta, sexta, meaning respectively “second”, “third”, “fourth”, “fifth”, “sixth”, and came into new-born Quốc ngữ as thứ hai, thứ ba, thứ tư, thứ năm, thứ sáu. There was no cost at all in inventing thứ bảy to replace the exotic sábado, and translating domingo into Chúa-nhật, which later became Chủ nhật. Note that before the French colonization, which began in the later half of 19th century, in Vietnam there was no similar naming system, except in some Christian parishes; people were calling days by the zodiacs. Later the colonizing authority may have adopted the Portuguese-based system to facilitate governance.

Note that thứ hai, thứ ba, thứ tư, thứ năm, thứ sáu, thứ bảy are also words for ordinal numbers. If we add ngày (“day”) into the names, ngày thứ hai means either Monday or the second day of a period.




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Word-of-the-day: CÁ HEO

Vietnamese word of the day: CÁ HEO.

Cá = Fish
Heo = Pig 

But CÁ HEO is, as what you can see in the photo, a DOLPHIN, though dolphin isn’t fish nor does it look like a pig!


That’s one of my favourite Vietnamese words of all time!

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Word-of-the-day: NGƯỜI ĐẸP

Vietnamese word of the day: NGƯỜI ĐẸP.

It simply means: beautiful lady, beautiful girl, or just beautiful (when you use it as a way of addressing the girls).


So instead of the cliché “Cám ơn em” (Thank you), or “Chào em” (Hello), now you can say “Chào người đẹp”, “Cám ơn người đẹp” to your female friends and acquaintances. 

It’s often used among friends, or when you just want to be friendly. Some people may not like it though (I haven’t met any who doesn’t, but seriously, who doesn’t want to be called “beautiful? :D)

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Warning: Someone is collecting money in ILV’s name!


This is NOT posted by ILV. Please beware! Any information from ILV is only posted on ILV facebook: and on ILV wordpress page: or 
via email

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Announcement: ILV stops accepting new students from 25 Feb 2014

Please be informed that from now on, 25 Feb 2014, ILV will stop accepting new students until we find enough tutors to supply our current pending list.

Till then, please look around, listen and learn Vietnamese by repeating what you hear and asking “…….là cái gì?” (what is….? or what does …. mean?)

We are sorry that our capability does not allow us to expand our tutoring to more than 150 students at once.

But stay tuned! We will be back soon with more tutors and online video lessons!

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Number of applications processed per month

Please be informed that from now on, 20 Feb 2014, ILV will only process 20 student applications PER MONTH. We are sorry for this inconvenience, but the number of students is dramatically increasing for which we are unable to supply enough qualified tutors though we recruit and train tutors twice a month.

Meanwhile, we will start making online video lessons so as to help students that cannot have a tutor. The videos will start being released weekly from mid March.

Till then, please look around, listen and learn Vietnamese by repeating what you hear and asking “…….là cái gì?” (what is….? or what does …. mean?)

ILV Team
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