Great exchange: 86-year-old street vendor in Saigon converses in 5 languages

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Tran Thi Dinh, 86, can speak English, French, Cantonese Chinese and Khmer to her customers. Photo credit: VnExpress Tran Thi Dinh, 86, can speak English, French, Cantonese Chinese and Khmer to her customers. Photo credit: VnExpress

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At the age of 86, Tran Thi Dinh still walks briskly between the small tables of her curbside coffee shop. 
The octogenarian said she has been running the street stall for 37 years now.
She had earlier worked for some American and French employers before 1975, and her French and English skills were “enough to help me communicate with them,” she told news website VnExpress.
“I can speak French, English, Cantonese and Cambodian, but cannot read or write,” she said. 
“I studied the languages because I need to understand my foreign customers. I had tried Korean and Japanese. But I gave up because not many of my customers are Korean and Japanese, so it’s a bit difficult for me to practice.”
Her small stall on Pham Ngu Lao Street in the popular backpacker area sees dozens of customers, many of them foreign tourists, every day.
She closes it quite early, at around 4 p.m.
“I want to go home and play with my four grandchildren,” said Dinh. 
 

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