Short On Beer

A site by Josh Short

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Category: Vietnamese

Wanted: Fellow Beginner Vietnamese Language Learners

I’ve reached a point in my Vietnamese studies that I’m ready to start openingly talking about it (more so than merely writing on this site that I’m unsure if anyone will ever read). I’ve reached a point where I’m ready to start connecting with other beginner Vietnamese learners.

Why do I want to connect with other learners? Three reasons. First, share resources. There has to be plenty of resources out there that I don’t know about. I learned about Mango in some weird, freak way. I’m positive there are other resources out there like this that I don’t know about. And I’m positive I can share my experience with another learner with Mango and help him or her out.

Second, I want someone or someones to be able to talk about my struggles with learning Vietnamese with. It’s tough to go through this alone, like in most things. I’d usually use for something like this but the Vietnamese habit in it has next to no users.

And third, accountability. I want someone who is also learning to keep me accountable. In return I’d do the same. It’s like my mastermind partner with EVF. She keeps me accountable and is someone I can bounce ideas off of in a judgement-free way and I’d love to have someone learning Vietnamese that I can think of similarly.

How will I do this? That’s for another post.

– Josh

Quizlet [Mini Review]

The other night I was laying in bed thinking about how I could keep practicing Vietnamese when I 1) didn’t want to take a Mango less, 2) didn’t want to watch a YouTube video and 3) was feeling lazy (like laying in bed about to fall asleep). Then I remembered about this free app/service I used to use when I was attempting to learn Korean and Japanese called Quizlet.

I don’t really know what to call Quizlet as a whole. From what I can tell it’s a crowd-sourced learning app (or website). You can learn just about darn near anything. I’ve found it helpful learning vocabulary for foreign languages. I learned how to count and basic phrases for both Korean and Japanese through Quizlet. You learn by joining “study sets.” Each study set contains lists of whatever you want to learn. Think flashcards (which is one learning feature). For foreign languages it’ll say something like “giỏi” on the Vietnamese side and “well” on the English side.

However since it’s crowd-sourced there are a few issues. First, you don’t know if it’s correct. And it being a foreign language you are kinda banking on the fact that it’s correct because it’s really difficult to know. There isn’t a review system or anything either.

Second is that you have no idea what’s available. There are dozens of pages when you search “Vietnamese Common Words.” You just have to choose based on what you see. This is difficult when you have a ton of choices. I just pick one or two and move on.

The third issue is that nothing is standard. This piggybacks on my last point. Some will list English first and some will list Vietnamese first. Some will have audio files attached with each word. Some will have pictures and other won’t. And this is all in the same study set.

The pros though greatly outweigh the cons. It’s free. It takes a little bit of digging but you can find some study sets that are true gems. They are well put together and thorough. Anddd the learning features are solid. There are flashcards, learning exercises, games, matching games, quizzes and more.

So now when I’m laying in bed staring at a bright screen with all of the world’s knowledge in it, instead of sleeping or scrolling through Twitter I can go through my Quizlet study sets and work on my Vietnamese.

– Josh

Why I’m Learning Vietnamese

Why am I learning Vietnamese? I think that’s an important question I need to keep coming back to in order to “keep my eye on the prize.”

First off, I’m learning Vietnamese because my wife and I will want our kid to learn it. And it’s no fun being the only one in the room not speaking the language. I know I’ll especially be bitter when my kid is speaking it and I’m not. So my first reason is to get a leg up on my kid who will in all likelihood be smarter than me.

Second is because I think it’s “cool.” Is that weird? Being fluent in another language that isn’t Spanish seems cool to me. Exotic might be a better word? Or, smart+cool+exotic all mixed together? Is there a word for that?

Third is for business opportunity. I was thinking about EVF last night. I was thinking about affiliate links and YouTube revenue and all those online business-y things. And realized that it will eventually all go away or transform into something else. That’ll probably happen sooner rather than later. Affiliate links and the like are much different (and from what I can tell perform much worse) than a couple of years ago. Why put all my eggs into that basket? Yes I will adapt with the times but I’ll have to adapt. Do you know what I won’t have to adapt? Language skills.

Language skills transcend time and market trends. It’s a classic skill that won’t ever lose value. In fact, as Vietnam’s economy continues to grow and become a major world player I believe it’s going to be a huge opportunity for those who speak both Vietnamese and English fluently.

I’m not thinking 10 months from now with this, I’m thinking 10 years from now. Hopefully this gamble will pay off. If it doesn’t, well, at least I’ll have a leg up on my kid and still be cool.

– Josh


The Nats game is streaming on my phone. My wrists and elbows are sticking to my wooden desk. I just got done washing the dishes. The steam from the hot water has me sweating on this warm mid-April night. Before the dishes I took my second Vietnamese lesson on Mango of the day!

Tackling two lessons in a day, one during the day and one at night, is a major milestone IMO. If exposure once a day is important, than twice a day has to be twice as beneficial. Tonight’s lesson, among other words/phrases, were the words for Mr. (Ông) and Mrs. (Bà). To my surprise, I already knew these! The exposure to Vietnamese over past decade+ around my wife and her parents and her parents’ friends taught me these words.

Little things like this are why I think this whole exposure thing is so crucial to learning a language. I’m still a rookie language learner. Outside of a couple Tim Ferriss blog posts I don’t know much about “optimizing how to learn a language.” I’m just doing what makes sense to me and so far it’s working.

– Josh

In A Groove

Ya know, it’s so simple. If you want to get better at something work on it a little bit at a time in a low-stress way as many days as you can. That’s basically what this whole site has been about since day one. I started with the discipline of writing and shipping something everyday. I feel like I’ve crushed that one and feel like I can just about darn near write about anything and publish it a week later. Now I’m turning my attention to Vietnamese.

If you want to get better at something work on it a little bit at a time in a low-stress way as many days as you can.

I’m starting to feel in a groove with Vietnamese. Today I took another Mango lesson. I finished up all the lessons in Chapter 2. Tomorrow I’ll take the Chapter 2 review. Today I also watched a lesson from that Southern Vietnamese YouTuber I mentioned about a week ago.

The combination of the two, learning legit basics from one and hearing how native speakers actually talk in the other, seem to be a mighty team. My Mango lesson was the very first thing I did after getting home and walking Peyt. It’s now something I look forward to everyday.

This is how forming habits should be. It should be fun. It should be in small increments. It should be something you look forward to each day.

– Josh

Quick Post

Busy day today. No Mango lesson but I did watch the YouTube channel I talked about yesterday. In the video the guy walked around his house, pointed out objects and then told how to say each one. It was what it was. Honestly didn’t retain anything I watched. But just hearing the language from a native speaker helps at some level.

It’s about exposure to the language. My in-laws are coming this weekend. I’ll definitely get exposed to Vietnamese through them. I think hearing and speaking a language as often as you can is the best way to learn it. Kinda obvious though right?

Alright. It’s late. I’m calling it quits for tonight.

– Josh

New Lunch Break Routine

During my lunch break when I’m in the office I generally watch a video or two from a handful of vloggers while I chomp down on last night’s leftovers. Most of the channels I watch are travel related — Miss Mina Oh, Abroad in Japan, Pho Your Eyes Only, Way Away, etc. Today I watching something different.

Several months ago I stumbled across a channel touting they teach Southern Vietnamese. This is very important because I literally can’t find the Southern dialect anywhere. And for the guy who can’t speak Vietnamese yet it’s quite difficult knowing if I’m getting instruction in Northern or Southern. Mango, from what I can tell, is in Northern BUT they talk about how Southerners say the same words. Today I gave this channel — Learn Vietnamese with SVFF — a shot.

I started from the beginning on their first video. Three things caught my eye right away: 1) The production quality could be much better 2) It’s quite unique and 3) They’re trying (it feels like they have passion and/or work ethic…I dig this).

As a video professional I will always critique quality. I can’t help it. I can’t turn it off. However I can get over it if the content is good. These guys, in terms of the competition, are fantastic. They were creative, educational and entertaining. I can’t ask for anymore!

It reminded me of Miss Mina Oh’s original channel — Sweet and Tasty TV — where I tried to pick up some Korean before my trip two years ago. Except it lacked her production quality which is darn near second to none.

These guys offer premium tutoring sessions over Skype. Tutoring is something I’m considering if I continue to keep learning. I want and think I can get most of the basics down with what’s currently out there. I’m going to keep watching more from these guys. Will keep you up-to-date…

– Josh


Alright! I’m 2-for-2 the last two days with practicing Vietnamese. Yesterday I reviewed chapter 1 and today I took lesson 1 of chapter 2. Mango actually calls this Unit 1 Chapter 2 Lesson 4. Sure, okay we’ll go with that.

This lesson I learned how to ask and tell if someone speaks Vietnamese (tiếng Việt) or English (tiếng Anh). I took this lesson weeks ago however I’ve forgotten everything I learned. Despite my lack of memory, I breezed through this lesson. I learned some new words like “well” = “giỏi” (pronounced: ya-oye, but as one syllable).

The lesson felt good. I was interrupted about halfway through, right when I was getting in the zone, but was able to come back and focus in on the last half without any resistance. I told Ph about what I learned and I actually was pronouncing things correctly. Pronunciation is something I know will be difficult for me.

Okay. Got this one done. Let’s keep grinding away at this tomorrow.

– Josh

Back At It

Yesterday I wrote about how I want to start doing something new with some of these writings. I want to focus them on my progress on two goals — learning Vietnamese and turning EVF into a sustainable passive income business.

After failing yet again with learning Vietnamese my hope is that this daily reminder will help me keep practicing and learning. Today, it worked!

I opened up my Mango Languages app. I had previously completed all 3 lessons and the review of chapter 1 and the first lesson in chapter 2. However it’s been a couple weeks so I wasn’t quite ready to jump into the next lesson AND I wasn’t quite feeling like starting over. I opened up the review of chapter 1 and took the 38-slide lesson.

I felt the rust right away. Once the wheels started rolling through it all started coming back to me. There were a few words I had completely forgotten — hot, cold, so-so — but that’s okay. The lesson tells you the answer and has you practice it so I was comfortable by the end.

The next time I jump back into Mango (tomorrow?) I’ll re-take chapter 2’s first lesson. And hopefully I can keep this thing right on rollin’.

– Josh

Something New

I want to start doing something new with some or most of these writings.

Over the past few weeks I’ve mentioned how I want to be focusing on a handful of lofty goals that will take me some time to accomplish. I’d like to use this website as a place for me to reflect on my progress with them. This is in the hopes of giving me an outlet to share my successes and struggles and document my journey with them.

I’d love to start with one goal and focus 100% on it. However as someone who loves to juggle many spinning plates I want to start with two goals.

The first goal is my goal of learning Vietnamese. I’ve failed yet again to create a habit of practicing it.

The second goal is to build EVF into a sustainable passive income business that can supplement a percentage of my monthly income. The goal and steps for this one, along with learning Vietnamese, need to be flushed out much, much more. However having these two goals in the forefront of my mind as often as I can can only lead to good things. Right?

Alright well tomorrow (probably) will be me documenting my work towards one or both of these goals.

That’s all I have for today.

– Josh