All posts by Sara Di Giovanni

It’s culinary culture day!

The fourth meeting with my group mates was all about the good food of our respective countries.

Duy and Danh talked about some delicious typical “tourist friendly” food. All of these plates listed below are  typical Vietnamese delicacies, and they also have a vegetarian version for most of these (I am a vegetarian and I was quite  interested in knowing this).

  • Phở
  • Bánh mì
  • Nem
  • Bún
  • Cuốn 

For the italian cuisine we talked about pizza, pasta, risotto and many more typical and delicious italian dishes. This meeting was focused on the cultural side of a country and language, and this gave insight on the typical diets of Vietnamese and Italians and the differences of these. After talking about the “tourist friendly” dishes we went on to some more “hardcore” Vietnamese dishes, which are not usually known around the world. This was very interesting culturally, because the origin of these dishes is poverty, in the sense that in the past the situation in Vietnam lead to a consumption of any edible good. The dishes eaten could be made up of almost any animal, this comes also from the Chinese influence.

It was so interesting to learn about the culinary culture of Vietnam.

Third meeting, third member!

Our Vietnamese-Italian third meeting was held on Saturday 03.10 with a surprising new member!

Duy Ha joined our group and now we are working as a trio. The dynamic will be the following: I will continue teaching Danh italian and I will also teach Duy Italian, the two of them will teach me Vietnamese together. It’s an unexpected and fun change of plan but we will follow with the same languages!

At the start of the meeting we introduced ourselves to our new member and we got to know each other a bit better. Duy is also in Vietnam so we will continue our learning and teaching process through Zoom.

Danh explained me how to form the past tense for verbs and how to form the plural of different words. This grammar part was very easy to understand because I only have to add a certain grammatical particle in front of the verb/word to make a change to a past tense or to a plural form. For this part it was quite easy for Danh and Duy to explain me how it works because it was quite an easy concept.
Duy also introduced me to Vietnamese culture by talking about different holidays in the country, with the both of Danh and Duy talking about these different holidays I got a really clear idea of what kind of events are worth celebrating in Vietnam. It was really interesting and fun to hear all of these events, but the most impressive fact is that they celebrate 2 Women’s days a year, the International Women’s day and the Vietnamese Women’s day. Any woman in Vietnam during these 2 days will be congratulated and offered flowers/small presents (depending on the type of relationship) to celebrate the day.

For the italian teaching, I introduced them to the verb tenses in Italian and we went through the ones that they will specifically use in an A1-A2 level of fluency. This part was very challenging because in the italian language there are many verb tenses, in contrary to English language the grammar is quite complicated, especially for someone who is not familiar with Romance languages. I think I got through to Danh on these concepts by minimising the verb tenses that he needs to learn, we will concentrate on the most used ones in an everyday use of the language.
My ability of teaching is improving but I can notice that the hardest parts to teach and make the other person understand are grammar and the complex rules of how to form sentences in the language.

Duy and I will have a “private” meeting during this week to catch him up on the things I have taught Danh already in the first 2 meetings so that he will then be able to follow the lessons I give Danh fully.

It’s exciting to see how different people learn a new language!

Bạn khoè không?

How are you? (Bạn khoè không? Come stai?)

Me and Danh had our second meeting on Saturday 26.09. We had to skip last week’s session because I was travelling to my home city during the day and Danh was busy in the evening. We had an intense second session though!

We started learning some grammar. I explained to Danh the genders in italian and how articles work. Grammar is quite difficult to explain to someone with no knowledge of the language, this is the part were both of us have to put most of the effort. For me, teaching these things is challenging because they come naturally to me, but I have to find the right way to explain how the rules work and to make my explanation as easy as possible for Danh to understand. Also, learning is always the hardest part at the beginning, especially concerning grammar and rules of the language.

The difference in italian and Vietnamese is huge, so we cannot use the same method for teaching/learning. I have to prepare material before hand and go over some rules myself, to be able to be clear e.g. on how to use the different articles.

Danh taught me about the different ways of approaching strangers, based on age and the level of intimacy with the person. It’s very interesting, because there are so many different words for pronouns! I enjoyed this part quite a lot, because I know some Japanese and there are similarities in the culture, especially the use of different pronouns for people of specific ages and/or to show more/less respect. I understood and assimilated this quite easily, mostly because of my previous knowledge in other language with similar use of pronouns.

For example:

  • pronoun for younger sister/brother: em
  • pronoun for older sister: chị
  • pronoun for older brother: anh

Some expressions:

  • How are you? : Bạn khoè không?
  • Nice to meet you? : Rât vui được gặp bạn

I am getting more and more excited to learn Vietnamese and I think that Danh and I are doing a good job in the teaching part. It’s the first time I teach someone italian and I think it’s the same for Danh so this has been quite the challenge! But the more challenging it is, the more excited I get to master a new language/skill.

I’ll add a picture of my notes, we again had a Zoom meeting seen as we cannot physically meet.



First meeting, first laughs!

It’s time for our first lesson!

Danh and me met online in a zoom meeting on Saturday 12.09. It was our first official meeting and it lasted 1,5 h, each of us was teaching for about 45 minutes .

Danh is in Vietnam so the only possibility of meeting for us is through Zoom. The first lesson was really exciting! In italian we went through the alphabet and some basic words and expressions. In Vietnamese we went through the alphabet and the different sounds that are formed with more letters. Vietnamese is hard!

The pronunciation for Danh in italian is quite easy, he’s very good at it. For me it was a bit more challenging because the sounds in Vietnamese are very different than in any other language that I speak. I am still very motivated and aiming for an A2 level!

We will meet every week and also go through the things we did on our own at home. It was really fun to have this first lesson with Danh and I am looking forward to learning more and getting better!








– Sara Di Giovanni