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Language & Literature

Language & Literature

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Language and 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.

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

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.
 

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

Modern Literature
Vietnamese literary tradition has evolved through the multiple events that have marked the country’s history. New literary movements can usually be observed every ten years but in the last century, Vietnamese literature underwent several literary transitions.

A revolutionary campaign occurred at the beginning of Romanized Vietnamese literature, in an attempt to standardize its styles such as prose, poetry, and criticism. All the writings produced had one thing in common: the authors were using a powerful and flexible style to update events and trends and therefore predict social events.

For more than a half century the Vietnamese people fought two wars of resistance, and at the present time, are in a period of construction, industrialization and modernization. In this situation, in Vietnamese literature, movement and vital force currently exist.

Folk Literature
Since coming into existence, Vietnamese literature has been rich in folklore and proverbs; tales that have been handed down from generation to generation, gradually becoming valuable treasures.
The Muong ethnic group in northern Trung Bo has an epic poem called “de dat, de nuoc” (giving birth to the earth and water), whie the Thai ethnic group in the north-west has “xong chu xon xao” (seeing off and instructing the loving heart). This list could go on for quite some time. Folk literature grows during the processes of activity, labour, construction and struggle of the people. It is the soul and vital power of the nation. At the present time, all kinds of artistic and folk literature from each ethnic group are being collected and maintained.
 

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