Vietnam Language Scripts

Among the 54 Vietnamese ethnic groups some have had their own scripts for a long time and some have not preserved their ancient scripts.

As a matter of fact, some ethnic groups consisting of some hundreds of individuals living in remote areas have their own languages.

Vietnam Language Scripts

Throughout the years, these languages have been enriched in terms of vocabulary, precision, and expression. However, the Viet language is most commonly used.

Vietnam Language Scripts

In terms of script, for a long time under northern domination, han (Chinese) was widely used in trade, education and state documents. This lasted until the beginning of 20th century. During the eighth century, parallel to the use of han, the Vietnamese created the nom script, which used the pictography of han to note the sounds of the Viet language. The appearance of the nom script marked a point of maturity in the national conscious of the Viet, and led to the development of literature in Vietnam.

Vietnam Language Scripts

In the 16th century, quoc ngu (a Romanized script produced by French missionaries) appeared and was substituted for both the han and nom scripts.

More than 80% of the population speaks Vietnamese or Kinh/Viet, the national language. Many ethnic minority people speak Kinh and their own native language.

Vietnam Language Scripts

Three scripts have influenced Viet Nam’s history:

  • Chinese Han ideograms were used until the beginning of the 20th century
  • The Nom script, created between the 11th and 14th centuries, was derived from Han script to transcribe the popular national language
  • European missionaries in the 17th century first developed Quoc ngu, the Romanised transcription of the Vietnamese language used to this day.

Vietnam Language Scripts

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