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Hierarchy in Chinese and Vietnamese

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This is an idiom, and it's written in many schools in Vietnam (or even in every classroom of a single school). The literal meaning is that first learn the rules (of politeness), then study.

It doesn't mean that you should not start studying before you have learnt the rules of politeness (plus the "social order" and moral). It merely emphasizes the importance of "LE^~" in Vietnamese culture. It's more important to be a moral person, rather than a scholar.

But I used to joke with my friends too, "neu khong hoc van truoc khong the biet le duoc", (if you don't study before, you can't learn to be polite), my friends' response (no exceptions), is a surprise, and then say, "oh you really speak Vietnamese very skilful!" and just ignore the humour in it.


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He he, you've got it all! I've to revise my pudding theory. Learning Vietnamese in chữ Nôm characters is Easier...(only for Chinese people) :wink:


It also has a litteral meaning. Just to speak to people, you must know all the I/you pairs... and that's the basics of politeness. After having learned to speak, then you will learn to read and write : that's học văn 学文

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But it seems to me that the real way to prove my Vietnamese skill to my VN friends is to argue with a Vietnamese in Vietnamese... because my VN friends always ask "bay gio ban co the cai lon bang tieng Viet?" (Can you use Vietnamese to argue now?)

Again, in that situation, you can say, "tien hoc le hau hoc van", then they will laugh and say, o o o, ban biet nhieu qua, tieng Viet hay qua~ (oh, you know a lot, your Vietnamese is good!), and again, say to them "neu khong...", and the response is like a recorder, "o o o , aaaaa,,, ooooo , chi hoc ba thanh roi nhung noi tieng Viet gioi a gioiiii lam!

Yeah, life in Vietnam (especially because I'm in a small town called My THo), is quite easy and difficult to find a chance to argue...


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