biết

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See also: biet and biệt

Vietnamese[edit]

Etymology[edit]

Norman and Mei (1976), Schuessler (2007), Sagart (2008): Related to Min Chinese (to know) (proto-Min: *pat). The direction of borrowing is debated; Norman and Mei, and Schuessler favour an Austroasiatic origin for this word, and regard Min as a loan. Sagart, on the other hand, proposes that the sense “to know; to recognise” in both Min and Vietnamese is an extension of the sense “to differentiate; to separate” of (OC *pred, *bred), and hence treats V. biết as a non-Sino-Vietnamese reading of Chinese (SV: biệt), a semantic development shared with Min.

Also compare Proto-Bahnaric *băt (to know) (Starling).

Pronunciation[edit]

Verb[edit]

biết ()

  1. to know; to be aware of
    • 1936, Vũ, Trọng Phụng, Số đỏ [Dumb Luck] (in Vietnamese):
      Cụ Hồng lại nhăn mặt lần thứ mười mà khẽ gắt cũng lần thứ mười rằng:
      — Biết rồi ! Biết rồi ! Khổ lắm, nói mãi !
      Great-granddad Hồng groans for the 10th time as he grimaces also for the 10th time: "Oh I get it! I get it! Enough with the nagging already!"
  2. to learn about; to realize
  3. to know how to; to be able to
    biết đọc
    can read
    biết viết
    to know how to write

Derived terms[edit]