Part 1: Fish
- Do you like eating fish?
I’ve heard so many good things about fish such as it has Omega-3, and overall it’s better than meat for your health. But honestly, I can’t bring myself to enjoy eating fish, there’s something about the smell that puts me off.
Put s.o off: Khiến ai đó mất hứng thú
- Do you think fishing is popular in VN?
- Rod (n): cần câu
- Bait (n): mồi câu
- Where do you often see fish?
I suppose you can see fish in clear streams and rivers. A lot of people also keep ornamental fish, such as koi, goldfish, etc. as pets.
Ornamental fish (n): cá cảnh
- Do you keep fish as a pet?
I used to but not anymore. I was fascinated by goldfish and my mom had to buy me a tank full of goldfish. I hope to have them again when I have my own home.
Describe a comedian that you think is very funny.
You should say:
- Who the comedian is
- Where they usually perform
- Who likes to see the comedian
And explain why you think this comedian is very funny.
When I saw this topic, the late Chí Tài was the person that came to my mind. For the last 30 years or so, even after his passing, he has been one of the most beloved Vietnamese comedians.
He started his career as a musician, a guitarist. He formed his own band called the Chí Tài Brothers, serving the Vietnamese diaspora in the United States. During the 1990s, he transitioned into comedy.
To describe him, I’d say his appearance helped him a lot as a comedian. He was tall, plump and jolly. His face was round with a mole near his mouth. He was not afraid to utilise his physical features in his comedy. His characters’ body language was natural and didn’t feel forced. Especially, when he moved clumsily or startled by his colleagues on stage. And he had a contagious laugh that also made people giggle. And I think that’s why he was so effortlessly funny.
Apart from that, his acting skill was excellent. He starred in many classic skits, sometimes he played a foolish and cruel husband, sometimes an old man who is lonely, or a father with an addiction to gambling. You see, these skits are also social commentary, and he weaved humour into his characters to make the subject lighter and easier to digest.
In his later career, he went back to Vietnam and eventually passed away suddenly. A couple years have passed but I can say people still miss him dearly.
- Vietnamese diaspora: cộng đồng người Việt ở hải ngoại
- Plump (adj): có dáng người mũm mĩm
- Physical feature: đặc điểm cơ thể
- Contagious (adj): có thể lây cho người khác
- To giggle (v): cười khúc khích
- Skit (n): tiểu phẩm
- Social commentary: sự phân tích/phê bình xã hội
- To weave (v): kết hợp
Part 3: Humour
1. Are there comedy shows (either live or on TV) in your country?
I would say most of the TV shows in my country these days are comedy or at least have some comedic aspects to it, namely, Crack Them Up, Thank God You’re Here. I would even say this is the golden age for Vietnamese comedy TV shows. As for live plays, we do have the Ngày Xửa Ngày Xưa shows, which can be translated to “Once upon a time”, these shows gear toward children by telling world famous fairy tales that have been adapted for Vietnamese children. Because they are for very young audiences, the plays tend to be funny to make kids laugh a lot.
- Golden age): thời kỳ vàng son
- Gear toward: hướng tới (đối tượng cụ thể)
2. Can someone use humour to learn another language?
Yes, I’m a firm believer that humour is helpful when it comes to language. I remember myself watching countless hours of sit-com series like Friends and How I met your mother. The comedy in these series was light and easy to understand, it provided me with the contexts and stories to follow while I was trying to absorb the colloquial spoken English. And in class, I found that funny pictures or comic strips also help when I study dull grammar lessons.
- Context (n): ngữ cảnh
- Comic strip (n): truyện ngắn bằng tranh
3. Can someone use humour to learn another language?
To a certain degree, although subtle references to cultural phenomena, word plays may be lost in translation. I’ve read books from famous humour writers such as Mark Twain in my own language. It is still funny. Furthermore, as we have become globalised it is easier to understand humour from other cultures. In the last couple of years, I’ve watched countless comedy movies from other countries that were dubbed in Vietnamese and still I’ve been able to understand their humour.
- Globalise (v): toàn cầu hoá
- Dub (v): lồng tiếng (cho phim)
4. Do you think having a sense of humour is important? Why/why not?
Though I’d love to be around humorous people, and a good sense of humour can help you a long way, I have to say it’s not absolutely necessary to be or even try to be funny. Some people are not funny, and that’s fine. You need to be comfortable in your own skin and that’s how you can lead a healthy life.
Be comfortable in your own skin: cảm thấy tự tin khi là chính mình