Photo credit OttoOo
Bạn gái (ba khai; short-down tone + up-tone) – Girl friend
Bạn trai (ba chai; short-down tone + flat-tone) – Boy friend
There are many terms that signify “romantic partners” in Vietnamese. Bạn gái is “girl friend” (pronounced ba khai, up-tone), while Bạn trai is boyfriend (pronounced ba chai, flat-tone). Like their English translations, these terms signify two young persons in the early dating stage of a relationship.
More serious romantic partners are called người yêu, which means “lovers” in English (or, more literally, “love persons”). It signifies two people in a long-term committed relationship, and who are not just dating.
Finally, there are financee and fiances:
- Wife/bride to be – chồng sắp cưới
- Fiancée (female) – vị hôn thê
- Husband/groom to be – vợ sắp cưới
- Fiance (male) – vị hôn phu
Slang for Boyfriend/Girlfriend in Vietnamese – Gấu
One cute Vietnamese slang for boyfriend and/or girfriend is gấu which means “bear”. For example:
- Có gấu chưa? – Do you have a boyfriend/girlfriend yet?
- Hôm nay dẫn gấu đi ăn – Take the bear out to dinner today
· Gấu – Pronounced like gow? with an up-tone.
Dating Culture in Vietnam
Some people interested in traveling to Vietnam ask us “what is it like to date a Vietnamese _?”, or, more obliquely, “what is the dating culture like in Vietnam?
The answer is: not that different from any Western liberal country. Vietnam is not conservative like India or China, where parents play a prominent-role in finding partners for their children. Instead, all the ways and manners of courtship are similar between USA/UK and Vietnam. This includes modern norms like Tinder, awkward couples courting each other at cafes, hormone-drenched night-clubs full of short-skirts, cocktails and raunchy eardrum-bursting beats.
Interested in reading more about the dating in Vietnam?
- Read our article on dating culture in Vietnam, especially in comparison to the West.
- Read about how Vietnamese women think differently about dating compared to American Women
- Read about how to flirt in Vietnamese.
Leave us a comment with your thoughts