Is the prostitute in Full Metal Jacket talking in Vietnamese because I can't catch what she is saying? It sounds like random mumbling and not Vietnamese. I was raised in a Vietnamese family, but can't understand what she is saying...

I tried looking for some information on the Internet, but I couldn't find anything on that. Is it really possible that Kubrick didn't check if the actors are speaking Vietnamese?

Here is the link to the scene:

Edit: I don't think she was not Vietnamese because the guy is talking to her in Vietnamese and it's easily understandable. So, it wouldn't make sense if she was replying to him in a foreign language.

  • She never says the word "beaucoup". The guy keeps saying "She says too beaucoup", but the girl never says that word. Seems strange. Jul 14, 2016 at 14:29
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    The Translate app I just installed on my Samsung insists the second thing she says, which sound like "no boom wah", translates to "Cooked beef noodle" in Vietnamese. Jul 14, 2016 at 17:29
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    I'm Italian and don't have the first clue about Vietnamese language but since Kubrick's obsession for every tiny detail regarding his movies is vastly documented, although no one is immune to error (not even him), I highly doubt that he wasn't aware of this. This site 'claims' that one of the Vietnamese words for "big" is something like bu, which seems like half the word. Another possibility is that the girl is not Vietnamese but might be of a near country (Laos, Thailand, Cambodia?)
    – Pesetas74
    Jul 15, 2016 at 8:31
  • I'm going to speculate that it might be French, or some version thereof. Which isn't too far fetched since Vietnam was under French control until the first Indo-china war. It may have been a lingua franca for dealing with non-Asians (thus "too beaucoup"). I know very little French, but on my first listen, "no boom wah" struck my ears as "No bon. Noir."
    – Tom
    Jul 15, 2016 at 19:12
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    @Tom, you have good ears. You managed to make what you wrote "no boom wah" which came pretty close to what she said although with the wrong intonation & tempo. The attempt was to say "Nó bự quá" (he/it is too big). In Southern Viet dialect, the Q is often mis-pronounced as W, and that was intended in the script to conform with how Southern Viet is commonly spoken. Feb 6, 2017 at 0:25

1 Answer 1


The actress is speaking Vietnamese but is obviously reciting the script and not a native speaker (the pimp is). She is not able to make most of the intonations sufficiently clear along with an off tempo. Thus you cannot easily understand what she's saying. It doesn't sound Viet at all upon first listening.

After a couple of tries with the context considered, and in relation to how she answers the pimp, I can hear what she is saying, albeit totally butchered. The first sentence is most difficult as it is the longest for her (skipping the conversation with the GI):

Put: Không chịu Mỹ đen đâu ([I] Don't want the Black American)
Pimp: Sao không chịu? (Why not?)
Put: Nó bự quá (He's too big)
Pimp: Thôi chịu đại đi, có gì đâu à? (Just go ahead. It won't matter)
Put: Dẹp đi (Forget about it [literal = put away)
[Pimp & GI line]
Put: OK, OK, em chịu (OK, I agree [accept])

Now that you have the script, I bet you can hear what she's saying. Enjoy! This was fun.

  • You missed a line. After she says he's too big and the pimp responds (according to your translation, he says, "Just go ahead. It won't matter"), the Put says something that sounds (to my English-speaking ears) like, "Neah Deee". Can you add that line to the translation above? Feb 6, 2017 at 16:29
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    @Johnny, you're right. That line is missing. It's very hard to make out but likely a common Viet expression akin to the English "forget about it," which is "Dẹp đi" (pronounced [ Jep Dee ] D in Viet is a soft J(South) or Z(North) sounds, unlike hard D in English). She incorrectly made the Dẹp tone inflected up, and then the đi tone down. Dẹp should be down and đi is uninfected. Thanks for catching it. I added it in the answer. Feb 6, 2017 at 17:06
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    Congratulations, this answer is the winner of the monthly answer challenge.
    – Napoleon Wilson
    Mar 26, 2017 at 0:50

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