Good bye – Tạm biệt (pronounced like tam bee-et, with short down-tones)
How to say “Good bye!” in Vietnamese
To say good bye in Vietnam is Tạm biệt.
Tạm is pronounced like tam, but with a short down-tone on the ạ (as indicated by the dot below the a). This means it is a quick and down-ward pitch, in almost an angry voice.
Biệt has two double-syllable like “bee-et”, but said very rapidly, (as indicated by the dot below the ệ). The final t in Tạm biệt is very soft, almost un-articulated, like in French.
The challenge for English speakers when pronouncing Tạm biệt is to not say it with a joyful high-pitch intonation, like you would in English when wishing a loved-one farewell. This would incorrectly change the tone of the word: the ạ in tạm and the ệ in biệt mean that the pitch should be deep, sharp and rapid, almost like an angry sound.
Learn more about the 6 Vietnamese tones here.
Hello and Good Bye in Vietnamese
There are many different ways to greet someone in Vietnamese, depending on the age and status of the listener.
The most neutral way to say hello, which can be used with everyone is Xin Chào…
Hello – Xin chào, like “sin chiao”
Good bye – Tạm biệt, like tam bee-et
Both xin and chào have natural, flat tones. Beware that X is always pronounced like an “sss”-sound, and never a “zzz”-sound.
Learn more about Vietnamese greetings: from informal to formal greetings, to appropriate hand-gestures, and the situations in which you can use them.