Category Archives: Vietnamese


Trần (2011, 2015) on the Nôm Script

Nôm scholar, Dr. Tran Trong Duong, has shared with me his recent publications on the development of the writing. (Thank you, Dr Dương!)

Tran 2011

Trần, Trọng Dương  (2011). Tổng Thuật Tình Hình Nghiên Cứu Diễn Biến Chữ Nôm (A Review of Research in the Development of Nôm).  Tạp Chí Hán Nôm (Magazine of Nom Studies 2(105): 11-28.  (In Vietnamese).

Tran 2015

Trần Trọng Dương (2015). Nguồn gốc, lịch sử và cấu trúc chữ Nôm từ bối cảnh văn hóa Đông Á (The source, history and structure of the Nôm script in the cultural background of Southeast Asia).  In Lã Minh Hằng (Ed.).  Nghiên cứu Nôm từ hướng tiếp cận liên ngành (Interdisciplinary Approaches to the Study of the Nôm Script)(pp. 53- 80). Hanoi: Nxb Từ điển Bách Khoa.  (In Vietnamese).


A Dictionary on Nguyen Trai’s Language

Nom* scholar, Tran Trong Duong, has published a dictionary in 2014 to help those who want to understand the profound poems of Nguyen Trai ( 阮廌 1380–1442), who was a politician, tactician, and scholar-advisor to Emperor Le Loi (1428–1433).  Understanding the language of Nguyen Trai’s creations is the first step before further analysis of his works can be made.
*Nom was the script made up of Chinese-like characters used approximately from the 12th century to the 19th century to record the Vietnamese language.  Nom publications focused on poetry, history, medicine and religion.
Read more:

Language planning; script reforms (2)

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Here’s the second post relating to language planning and script reform. This article by Professor Joseph Lo Bianco is found in the edited volume by professors Nanette Gottlieb and Chen Ping (2001) entitled Language Planning and Language Policy: East Asian Perspectives. The volume provides rich insights on the developments of languages and scripts in each unique environment of East Asia.  In the case of Vietnam, a variety of factors promoted the use of the script and not a central planning effort.



Language policy and planning; script reforms (1)

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This is the first of the four posts relating to language planning and/or the development of some scripts in East Asia. One of the posts will consist only of a picture.

Briefly, the first short article in this post discusses the strategies adopted by the revolutionaries to educate the northern Vietnamese. The second, written in the Chinese language, discusses the promotion of the “national language” (Quốc-ngữ ), and the third presents the past, present and future of Sinographic languages. Read on…





Acquiring Vietnamese tones; Northern Vietnamese phonology

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Here are two articles relating to the Vietnamese language: One is on the difficulties encountered by learners of Vietnamese written by Jessica Bauman, MS, Allison Blodgett, PhD, C. Anton Rytting, PhD, Jessica Shamoo, BA (2009); the other, by James Kirby (2011) on Northern Vietnamese phonology.




Ancient Printing Methods in Vietnam

Bronze-blocks at Sinh Village, Hue. Photo from Vietnam Heritage Photo Awards 2012. Photo: Hoang Huu Tu
Bronze-blocks at Sinh Village, Hue. Photo from Vietnam Heritage Photo Awards 2012. Photo: Hoang Huu Tu

Someone who prefers to remain anonymous sent in the photographs of two articles on the preservation of writing in the recent Heritage Magazine published in Vietnam. (Thank you!). I found the articles on the Internet and have decided to upload the VNHeritage articles for your reading. These non-academic articles have made me think about the early forms of printing on woodblocks and cloths in this region. (And what are the old and new methods used in the region where you live?).

When I worked in the archives, some publications of the early 20th century had pages which were so brittle that I had to hold my breath when turning them. Regardless of the preservation or printing methods that were used for the publications, it gladdened me of course to be able to trace language change and understand the various kinds of influences from the previous eras.

In any case I am grateful for the records and preservation. New techniques, such as digitisation, have really made research a great deal easier now and should be appreciated and more widely applied.