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Grandma and grandpa in Vietnamese: An in-depth look at familial terms

16/01/2024 8.370

Grandma and grandpa in Vietnamese are endearingly referred to as "bà" and "ông." These titles evoke a profound sense of respect, embodying the Vietnamese people’s deeply rooted traditions.

Grandmas and grandpas in Vietnamese

Grandma and grandpa in Vietnamese culture, addressed as "bà" and "ông," hold profound significance within the family. These terms extend beyond mere titles, embodying a rich tapestry of familial relationships, traditions, and cultural values. When you travel to Vietnam, you will realize that Vietnam offers not only breathtaking landscapes but also fascinating culture.

1. The roles of grandma and grandpa in Vietnamese culture

In Vietnamese culture, grandparents hold significant roles within the family structure. They are revered for their wisdom, experience, and everything they pass down to younger generations. In times of celebration or hardship, the presence and support of grandparents are particularly cherished. Grandparents are integral to major family events, such as weddings, where their blessings hold great significance.

The grandma in Vietnamese culture is typically seen as a nurturing figure. She is often the caretaker, passing on cooking skills and sharing family recipes. Grandmas also contribute to the moral and cultural education of grandchildren, teaching them about Vietnamese traditions, etiquette, and values. Meanwhile, grandfathers are respected for their authority and often serve as the family patriarchs. They play a crucial role in decision-making. They are regarded as the guardians of family heritage, sharing stories from the past and imparting a sense of cultural identity.

Grandmas and grandpas in Vietnamese

>>> Read more: Traditional Vietnamese culture: A complete guide for culture travelers

2. How to say grandma in Vietnamese?

Grandma in Vietnamese is "bà," and depending on the family relationship, there might be different ways of addressing or referring to her.

2.1. Paternal grandma

The paternal grandma in Vietnamese is "bà nội." The pronunciation is roughly "bah noy."

2.2. Maternal grandma

The paternal grandma in Vietnamese is "bà ngoại." The pronunciation is roughly "bah ngwai."

3. How to say grandpa in Vietnamese?

In Vietnamese, the term for grandpa is "ông." As with “bà,” the specific family relationship can affect how the grandpa figure is referred to. 

3.1. Paternal grandpa

The paternal grandpa in Vietnamese is "ông nội." The pronunciation is approximately "ohng noy."

3.2. Maternal grandpa

The maternal grandpa in Vietnamese is "ông ngoại." The pronunciation is approximately "ohng ngwai."

Grandmas and grandpas in Vietnamese

>>> Read more: Vietnamese phrases: A practical guide for travelers to connect with locals

4. The mother and father of grandpa and grandma in Vietnamese

The great grandma and grandpa in Vietnamese culture also have terms that vary based on the familial relationship. 

  • A paternal great grandma in Vietnamese is "bà cố nội," while a maternal great grandma in Vietnamese is "bà cố ngoại." 
  • Similarly, a paternal great grandpa in Vietnamese is "ông cố nội," while a maternal great grandpa in Vietnamese is "ông cố ngoại." 

Great grandmothers and great grandfathers traditionally play a role in preserving and passing down traditions. They often contribute to the family's cultural and moral education, sharing stories, wisdom, and practices with their descendants. Their experiences and perspectives offer a valuable link to the past, fostering a sense of continuity within the family.

Grandmas and grandpas in Vietnamese

>>> Explore: Vietnamese names: Naming traditions and 200+ common names for boys & girls

5. How do Vietnamese show respect to their grandma and grandpa?

In Vietnamese culture, showing respect to grandparents is deeply ingrained and is a significant aspect of family dynamics. Several traditional practices reflect this respect:

  • Addressing terms: The use of specific terms like "bà" for grandma and "ông" for grandpa inherently carries a sense of respect. This linguistic distinction emphasizes the importance of familial hierarchy and acknowledges the wisdom that comes with age.
  • Bowing: It is customary for younger family members, especially children and grandchildren, to greet their grandparents with a slight bow of the head as a gesture of respect. This simple act symbolizes deference and acknowledges the seniority of the grandparents.
  • Sharing meals: Sharing meals together is a significant way Vietnamese families express respect. Children often make an effort to help prepare or serve food to their grandparents, emphasizing the importance of family meals and the respect attributed to the elders.
  • Listening and learning: Showing respect to grandparents involves actively listening to their stories, advice, and experiences. This not only preserves family history but also honors the wisdom passed down through generations.
Grandmas and grandpas in Vietnamese

>>> Discover: Vietnamese people: Facts to know to have the best cultural experiences

6. Other situations to say “ông” and “bà” in Vietnamese

In certain situations, "ông" and "bà" are not used to address or refer to grandpas and "grandmas. 

  • Formal occasions: In formal settings such as meetings or gatherings, "ông" and "bà" serve as expressions of respect and courtesy. This usage reflects a form of reverence for seniority and is a polite way to address individuals.
  • Informal communication: In everyday conversations, especially with close friends or acquaintances of similar age, addressing them with "ông" or "bà" goes beyond mere titles. It becomes a friendly way of communication, fostering a sense of closeness and camaraderie within the conversation.

>>> More on: Vietnamese people's lifestyle: Dive into a rich tapestry of culture

Apart from how to say grandpa and grandma in Vietnamese, to learn more about how Vietnamese people refer to one another, consider traveling to Vietnam and hearing the locals converse firsthand. Vietnam travel experiences can teach you lots of things. Some of the top destinations to visit in Vietnam are Hanoi, Ho Chi Minh City, Phu Quoc, Nha Trang, Hoi An, Ha Long, etc. 

In these destinations, you can stay at Vinpearl’s hotels and resorts. These properties offer not only luxurious accommodations but also lavishing amenities that are guaranteed to provide you with the best experiences. From Vinpearl, you can also easily visit VinWonders to enjoy thrilling games and lively shows.

Grandmas and grandpas in Vietnamese

>>> Book rooms in Vinpearl Phu Quoc, Vinpearl Nha Trang, Vinpearl Resort & Golf Nam Hoi An, Vinpearl Resort & Spa Ha Long for your stay in the top destinations of Vietnam!

The roles of the grandma and grandpa in Vietnamese weave a narrative of wisdom, tradition, and intergenerational connection. Grandparents, as "bà" and "ông," are revered for their guidance, their preservation of cultural values, and the pivotal roles they play in shaping the identity of Vietnamese families.

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