1. Forum
  2. >
  3. Topic: Vietnamese
  4. >
  5. "Họ không biết làm thế nào để…

"Họ không biết làm thế nào để dùng la bàn."

Translation:They do not know how to use a compass.

December 26, 2016



How does the sentence syntax here works?


Họ (they) không (not) biết (know) làm thế nào (how) để (to) dùng (use) la bàn (compass).


I'm curious as well since the morphemes have multiple meanings.


Why is not 'cái' there??

My understanding is that if you're talking about a specific compass, 'cái' should be there to imply 'the'; if you're talking about compasses generically, the English should be 'a', not 'the'.


Why is "They do not know how to use a compass" marked as wrong here?


"A compass" means any compass. "The compass" means a particular compass or, generically, compass as distinct from other pieces of equipment. Duo isn't wrong but I think most native English speakers would say "a compass."


I just read it as a group of people who have a compass but don't know how to use it, so "the" worked perfectly fine.


That is my point. An English


That is my point. An English speaker hearing or reading "the compass" tends to think that there is only one particular compass involved. Is this what the Vietnamese means?


As you know, a/the are the articles in the english grammar which doesn't exist in vietnamese. But vietnamese has classifiers (cái, nước, ngừoi, con, etc).

Their purpose is to classify the following noun. Apart from two syllable words (mostly chinese origin noun) and some very obvious cases, everything must be classified in the vietnamese grammar. The similar pattern in english is for example "three pieces of candy". (where pieces would be the equivivalent of a classifier).

Vietnamese language can tell "the definity" by a determiner (đó/kia/etc), or with something, but it's not built-in in the grammar like articles are in the european languages. Usually the ìnormation is revealed in the context.

On the other hand vietnamese classifiers are built-in in the grammar, while they are not in english.

Let me yet give you some examples with the glossaries:

S: Tôi thích nước cam. T: I like the orange-juice G: i like liquid-type-of orange

Cam is classified as liquid, so we know something about it. Hence we translate the sentence with the article.

S:Tôi thích cam T: I like oranges G: i like orange

The noun is not classified, hence the generalization

S: Tôi thích một nước cam T1: i like an orange juice T2: i like one orange juice G: i like one liquid-type-of orange

The amount of juices is one/1. It is classified, but there is a number before, so it can be any specific (like you don't usually "the" with plural).

Or can it be? How about if there's two particular orange juice that i like?

Tôi thích hai nước cam.

Or maybe in real life you have a determiner (này/đo/kia), which specificies the noun.

Sorry i started to overexplain, im not even native english speaker so i beg my pardon of my possible grammar mistakes. But that's how i understand the matter and the vietnamese mindset...


In English we DO NOT say, "We like THE orange juice" unless we are specifying orange juice as opposed to other choices. If we mean that orange juice in general is to our taste, we say, "WE LIKE ORANGE JUICE."


I report just about every translation as being wrong. A compass should be fine. If they don't know how to use THE compass, they probably don't know how to use A compass either.


It makes definitely sense xD


Haw phu bit lan ten now day zoon LA ban... I understood about half of what was said. Duolingo - can you please have a way of slowing down the speech? Even a little bit slower would help a lot. You do that for Russian, why not this language? Also, an option of choosing someone else's pronunciation the same sentence would help too.


Let me try for you:

Ho! rhhom biết lààm têế naòw dêế zùm laa bààn

(by climbing accent '/' you rise the tone, by falling accent '\' you drop the tone, by '!' , you make a glottal stop pronouncing the syllab)


Why is there a "la" before the word bàn?


The compound word la bàn just means compass

Learn Vietnamese in just 5 minutes a day. For free.