Your hemi-semi weekly Vietnamese proverb


“báo chết để da, người ta chết để tiếng”
A panther when dead leaves behind a skin; a man [lit. people] when dead leaves behind a name/reputation/words.

Pretty. Also, I learnt lots of new words 🙂

I’d like to think my vocabulary is improving, but 3 words a day isn’t very efficient to build up vocab (mind you, with me putting in about 15-30 min per day, I don’t reckon I can get more efficient than this). I got myself an Oxford picture dictionary English/Vietnamese; the unfortunate bit being that it’s for Vietnamese immigrants to Western countries, and therefore it uses English concepts: it’s OK for most everyday words, but it lacks Vietnamese syntax, and the concepts that are different just aren’t explained: the various kinds of uncles just get lumped under the same English word (yes, there are four words to describe uncles in Vietnamese: cậu, bác, chú, dượng respectively brother of mother, elder brother of father, younger brother of father, and any uncles that have married into the family rather than being linked to it by blood). So not quite what I want to be studying intensively…

In other news, work has started again on the novella that wouldn’t die (complete redraft), so I’m going to be scarce this week. And, hum, the week after (which is Christmas anyway).


  1. That’s a good one, thank you for sharing.

    Learning another language solo is tough. Not only do you lack context and syntax, but language is such a living thing, doing it socially is always what seems to make sense.

    That said, I’ve dabbled in learning Afrikaans, and refreshing my high school French. Just ’cause.

  2. He, glad you like it! I try to translate proverbs in order to get the vocabulary, it helps…
    I’m glad I’m not quite learning solo; I do one hour a week with my mother, which helps immensely. (given how hard-as-nails the language is, I’m not sure learning it socially would make sense: you definitely need someone to correct the pronunciation, and it has to be someone with a good grasp of why you’re pronouncing things wrong).

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