The Vietnamese are a sentimental people. This is especially apparent in popular music. Romantic themes in music skew heavily to unrequited love, love lost, or two lovers separated by circumstances beyond their control.
I learned several Frenchie songs in a college French class and I still remember them. Music is a powerful way to learn. "What a golden opportunity," I thought, "I'll learn some Vietnamese classics. Not only will I learn some new words, but it'll come in handy during the obligatory karaoke sessions with the staff."
Choosing a song dripping with the "love lost" themes above was easy. I just picked one at random. It is "Vầng Trăng Khóc" (The Moon Cries). I plugged the lyrics into an English/Vietnamese machine translator at vdict.com to get the general meaning of the song. It's sung as a duet by two people who once were lovers. For a reason I'm unable to determine (the song may not say) they are separated and their love has faded. They sing achingly for the love they once shared and for what might have been. Click to listen.
One line in the song I've seen elsewhere is "Em và anh mỗi người một nơi." Translated literally, it is "Me and you, each person one place." More figuratively, I translate it as "Everyone has their place, including us." The idea is that time and circumstances have separated the lovers, but they must accept it because everyone has their own destiny. It's kinda poetic.
The machine translation yielded some especially excellent lines. One is "There Will by you love you forsooth giblets." No idea about that one. Two others are "Stoutly when new hornbeam retrevial," and "Because aching suffer prestissimo the two of us asteroid separates." I am not making this up.
I'm listening to this song over and over while reading the lyrics so I can carry the tune and nail the pronunciation. On Monday I'll review the lyrics with my Vietnamese teacher so I understand the meaning of each line. Look for me on Vietnam Idol.