“Chữ Nôm, is the ancient ideographic vernacular script of the Vietnamese language. After Vietnamese independence from China in 939 CE, chữ Nôm, an ideographic script that represents Vietnamese speech, became the national script. For the next 1000 years—from the 10th century and into the 20th—much of Vietnamese literature, philosophy, history, law, medicine, religion, and government policy was written in Nôm script. During the 24 years of the Tây-Sơn emperors (1788-1802), all administrative documents were written in Chữ Nôm. In other words, approximately 1,000 years of Vietnamese cultural history is recorded in this unique system.
This heritage is now nearly lost. With the 17th century advent of quốc ngữ – the modern Roman-style script—Nôm literacy gradually died out. The French colonial government decreed against its use. Today, less than 100 scholars world-wide can read Nôm. Much of Việt Nam’s vast, written history is, in effect, inaccessible to the 80 million speakers of the language.”1
“Chữ Nôm (𡨸喃, IPA: [cɨ̌ˀ nom], literally “Southern characters”),2 in earlier times also called Chữ Nam (𡨸南) or Quốc Âm (國音, “National sound“), is a logographic writing system formerly used to write the Vietnamese language. It used the standard set of classical Chinese characters to represent Sino-Vietnamese vocabulary and some native Vietnamese words, while new characters were created on the Chinese model to represent other words.3
Although formal writing in Vietnam was done in classical Chinese,4 until the early 20th century (except for two brief interludes), chữ Nôm was widely used between the 15th and 19th centuries by Vietnam’s cultured elite, including women, for popular works, many in verse. One of the best-known pieces of Vietnamese literature, The Tale of Kiều, was composed in chữ Nôm.
In the 1920s, the Latin-based Vietnamese alphabet created by Jesuit missionaries displaced chữ Nôm as the preferred way to record Vietnamese. While Han characters are still used for decorative, historic and ceremonial value and as symbols of good luck, Nôm characters have fallen into disuse in any other function in modern Vietnam in favour of the alphabet. The task of preservation and study of Vietnamese texts written in Nôm (but also classical Chinese texts from Vietnam) is conducted by the Institute of Hán-Nôm Studies in Hanoi.”5
… updating …
1 Source: Vietnamese Nom Preservation Foundation.
2 Nguyễn, Khuê (2009). Chữ Nôm: cơ sở và nâng cao. Ho Chi Minh City National University Publishing House. p. 5.
3 “Chữ-nôm script”. Omniglot.
4 Nguyễn, Tri Tài (2002). Giáo trình tiếng Hán. Tập I: Cơ sở. Ho Chi Minh City National University Publishing House. p. 5.
5 Source: The Wikipedia Encyclopedia.
BAN TU THƯ