"Một cái ca"
18 CommentsThis discussion is locked.
Not at all. In my hometown (Hue City), "ca" is used a lot in everyday conversations. It's equivalent to both a cup/glass and a plastic pitcher.
I'm living in HCM City now. It seems that "ca" is just equivalent to a plastic pitcher in Southern dialects. For cup/glass, people prefer using "ly". So if you come to a food/water stall here and order một ca nước (a pitcher of water) and một ly nước (a glass of water), they will give you two different things.
I don't have information about the use of ca in Northern dialects. Maybe it isn't common any more in these dialects.
In the Southern part of Vietnam (at least from South Eastern region and down under), most of us would use "ca" for "pitchers/jugs" which hold a much larger volume of liquid than "ly" ("glasses/cups/mugs"). People in the North would properly use "cốc" which is the equivalent of "ly". So I suggest that "ca" should be replaced by "ly/cốc" if you want to mean "a mug".
Cái is a classifier or a measure word. Cái typically refers to one unit of an inanimate object. Note that there are other classifiers in Vietnamese as well. Classifiers are seldom used in English but do exist.
For example, in English we say:
- "# sheet(s) of paper" instead of "# paper(s)"
- "# ear(s) of corn" instead of "# corn(s)"
So, I guess the best approximation here would be "one [thing of] mug".