I feel like it should have read: Tôi là một người ăn chay. Tôi ăn chay is like saying I eat vegetarian...
from your analysis [tôi ăn chay = I eat vegetarian], "tôi là người ăn chay" would be translated as "I am a person who eats vegetarian"........ aren't you back to square one?
more seriously, both "tôi ăn chay" and "tôi là người ăn chay" are quite synonymous, both conveys the meaning of "I'm vegetarian". "tôi ăn chay" would be closer to "I have a vegetarian diet" than the actual "I'm vegetarian" but in the end it does mean the same.
What does "chay" mean? What would the literal translation of this sentence be?
It literally means vegetarian. If you want to say vegan then say thuần chay. The word "ăn chay" itself means vegetarian or "to eat in a vegetarian manner".
Chay (齋) commonly means vegetarian (adj.), so here it means vegetable foods. The literal translation of the sentence could be "I have vegetarian diets."
Originally, 齋 is a religious practice including abstinence.
I think another word for vegetables is 'rau'... So maybe 'tôi ăn rau' is more like I eat veggies? And the sentence on the card is a fixed phrase about vegetarians?
it should. flag it, although I don't know if it's going to be corrected any time soon.
There was a previous sentence that said "tôi là ăn chay". (Pardon the spelling) That makes more sense!!
Previous sentences referring to someone being vegetarian had the word "người" which i have come to understand refers to "people" or "being a person", so, why is it missing in THIS sentence??
"I am vegetarian" or "I am a person who is vegetarian" are quite similar in meaning. VNmese use them both interchangeably, they should be both accepted.
The difference is very very subtle. With người ăn chay, it is a name (and that's why I'm trying uses là). Without ngườì, it is an adjective and thus no verb is needed.
The meaning is almost the same:
I am a vegetarian I am vegetarian
"Tôi ăn chay" translates I am a vegetarian is not exactly. "Tôi ăn chay" is not sure a vegetarian. May be this meal I don't eat meat. Reality some people do not eat meat in any day but they are not vegetarian. They only "ăn chay" that days.
I am a vegetarian = toi la nguoi an chay this sentence should be = toi la nguoi an chay ... not .. toi an chay. I eat vegetables = toi an rau I eat bananas = toi an chuoi I eat apples = toi an tao