Learning Vietnamese Language: Birthday Greeting

Happy Birthday, Anh! May you celebrate your birthday and all other days with zest and bliss.

Vietnamese and Pinoy in Saigon

Happy birthday!
[picture taken way back 2014. haha]

[No, lah. He’s not older (anh) than me. His name is actually Anh and I’m pretty sure he’s much younger than me when my REAL age is considered. Hahaha]

Here’s a video clip I made for you, em!

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I have been trying hard to learn Vietnamese language for years now, but I am still having difficulty remembering the words and most of all, I still can’t get through the basic pronunciation. Huhuhu.

But attempting a birthday greeting in Vietnamese was fun. Actually I had quite a lot of retakes because I can’t seem to remember the words or pronounce one right. [Not to mention that I am also my own camera person. Huhuhu]

What I said:

Chúc em sinh nhảt vui vẻ

A rough, literal translation of that would be:
Wishing you (younger guy/girl) happy birthday

The standard greeting is:
chúc mừng sinh nhật
More or less translatable to: wishing you a birthday

To break the phrase down:
sinh nhật – birthday
chúc mừng – congratulations, toasts or something like merry wishing

You can also say:
chúc mừng sinh nhảt vui vẻ

wherein:
vui vẻ – happy

But to be more appropriate, you need to make some changes.

When greeting a much older person such as your parents or grandparents, a more respectful phrase is used.

kính chúc, which means “respectfully wishing”




When addressing a friend or sibling, you can just use chúc.

Also, keep in mind that in Vietnamese language, the personal pronouns are generally based on the relationship of the speaker or writer to the person(s) he is addressing. The gender may also matter.

Here’s a quick list:

Kinship Pronouns
(use kính chúc for respect)
mẹ – mother
ba – father
ông – grandfather
– grandmother
– aunt from mother’s side (also stepmother)
cậu – uncle from mother’s side
dượng – husband of uncle/aunt from mother’s side

Non-Kinship Pronouns
(may use chúc only)
anh – an older guy but within same generation (also, older brother or the man in romantic relationship)
chị – an older woman within same generation (also, older sister)
em – a younger person regardless of gender but in same generation (also, younger sibling or the woman in romantic relationship)
cháu – a younger person by at least one generation (also grandchild or sibling’s child)

See a full list of Vietnamese Pronouns at Wikipedia

You may also find some helpful Vietnamese language books at this online bookstore. Free worldwide shipping is offered.


So to say your greetings to certain people, here are some examples:

To mom:
kính chúc mẹ sinh nhảt vui vẻ

To aunt
kính chúc sinh nhảt vui vẻ

To a younger friend (male or female)
chúc em sinh nhảt vui vẻ

To an older female friend
chúc chị sinh nhảt vui vẻ

Find simplified explanations and pronunciations by watching the Vietnamese Happy Birthday video at the AuLacOi Youtube channel.

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Do you have questions?
Are there information that I had shared wrong or do you have additional input for a better learning experience?
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I would love to hear from you.
Em yeu anh!

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