Victories, however minor, are good for the morale. So I was very pleased this morning when I found I fully understood the short message sent to me by Huyền, my Vietnamese teacher (not in picture). That is to say, I knew ten of the eleven words (plus the emoji) and I could guess the other one. Guessing words from context is a common thing to do, even in your mother tongue sometimes, so I don’t consider that to be a stain.
Of course, I’d read and understood sentences before, but this was the first time someone actually communicated something to me in Vietnamese, and I got it; this was about something approaching real life, a micro conversation if you like.
Her message was in reply to my recommending a book (which I did in English, though the book is in German). She wrote back,
Cảm ơn bác vì quyển sách hay. Cháu sẽ đọc nó 😀
that is, ‘Thank you for the interesting book. I will read it :D’ My sparkling repartee was không sao – ‘don’t mention it’, ‘you’re welcome’. Still, I would say that under a lenient definition, that qualifies as a genuine dialogue in Vietnamese, with the required two participants.
Next stop: understanding simple spoken sentences. Huyền is trying those on me too, but with spectacularly little success so far.
You can find the other blogposts about my adventures in Vietnamese here.