Perhaps it said it before and I just didn't catch it, but what is the "Con" for?
Because just "cá" is fish I thought?
So when do I use a word with classifier as opposed to without it? In what kind of sentences do I need to say con cá and in which cá would suffice. What does the classifier add to the meaning or grammatical role?
"con cá" = the fish (the subject is definite) Tôi thích con cá = I like the fish Bạn đã thấy con cá chưa? = Have you seen the fish?
"cá" = fish (the subject is indefinite) Tôi thích ăn cá = I like to have/eat fish/fishes
Con cá biết bơi = The fish knows how to swim Cá biết bơi = Fish/fishes know/knows how to swim
Please notice that in Vietnamese, in most cases animals comes with the classifier "con" in the sentence. Example: con người (the human), con gà (the chicken)
Thanks for this! Would you also need to include the classifiers when using "mot", for example in the sentence "A fish is swimming" would you need to say "Con ca"?
Is it strictly the classifier for fish or could it be used to describe another vertebrate ?
Con is a classifier for all living things.
You may know by now that ca is a mug. Ca and cá are very similar, and you may get confused, but if you see con cá. You know it's a fish. For a mug, you have to use cái ca.
Yes, they do. For example: bút = pen -> một cây/cái bút = a pen; một hộp bút = a pen box; một đầu bút = a head/tip of the pen.
Well, yeah, but I mean does "bút" become a different noun if it's preceded by, say, the classifier "dê," rather than "cây/cái"?
Yes, that would be the case only when the noun itself has several meanings.
For example: một quả bóng = a ball, a balloon/ một cái bóng = a shadow.
"bút" only has one meaning which is a pen.
con is neutral. Cá goes up (notice the accent goes up, from left to right).
I was confused by the same thing, but I cranked up the volume and the rising tone in cá became audible.
Well, the tone of cá starts lower than con then rises up. Well, according to my copy of FSI anyway, which uses the southern dialect but I think it's just the same