Chu Nom Revival [Vietnamese]

papen
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Re: Chu Nom Revival

Postby papen » 2010-12-02, 17:34

From my experience. It's not that hard to learn Chinese characters. My background is I'm Vietnamese born in Saigon but origin is Hanoi (where my parents were from). I studied English as 2nd language and Mandarin as 3rd language. Honestly about chu Nom, it's not hard to learn if you study Chinese. and as I said before it's not hard to learn Chinese characters. The 1st year was tough as I had to write a lot. But the 2nd year was fine. Now I'm in 3rd year with Mandarin and I can read/write/speak. My vocabulary around 1000 characters. And knowing 1000 characters help to learn new characters easily as they just combine all the small characters to form a new meaning.

For Chu Nom, It's hard with writing but learn how to read it is easy as well as the meaning. Well, I don't think the government needs to spend a lot of money with it. In Vietnam, there're a lot of students learning Chinese and most of them are interested in Chu Nom as well.

I don't deny the fact that Quoc Ngu is easy. But both have good and bad points. Chinese characters have more meaning in it while knowing Quoc Ngu, you can pronounce any words even if you don't know the meaning. The bad points of Quoc Ngu is people can't difference the word as a single character, and they need double words to know the meaning (truc thang ; thang = fly up , truc = vertical.) But how's about: truc giac, chinh truc. They have the same but different meaning and they are written differently in Chu Nom.
Like someone mentions before the words: Dat Nuoc . The word Nuoc has the Country character Quoc (Quoc Gia 国家 ) ,
Image

while the word Nuoc as water is written as
Image

the 3 dots has the Water character (水)
For Vietnamese people, they can difference it as they're used to it. But for example a foreigner learning Vietnamese. When they look up dictionary in Quoc Ngu. Both are written the same way and the meaning are completely so far away (water, country). Then they have to learn when it's water, when it's country and it makes Vietnamese becoming harder for foreingers to learn.

I don't mean Vietnamese people should go back to use Chinese characters as I know many people don't like Chinese. But we must look at the weakness of Quoc Ngu. China's becoming richer because of the fact many foreigners coming to China as well as learning Chinese. I don't deny the fact that many foreigners also coming to Vietnam but all have the same problems learning Vietnamese.
There's a saying like this: If you want to know my mind, speak English. If you want to know my heart, speak my language. So for the future of Vietnam, In my opinion, we should study both Quoc Ngu and Chu Nom. It means we will have 2 writing system go together. The befinits of it is Vietnamese student can learn European languages easily (English, French,Spanish) while study Asian language (Chinese,Japanese) easily as well. Besides, Vietnamese can understand literature (poems, stories) written in Chinese and Chu Nom, read their family's trees, as well as understand what written in temple, old castle in Hue, etc.

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Re: Chu Nom Revival

Postby ThumbsUp » 2010-12-15, 9:03

I'm not sure if they're already planning on reviving the script but it looks like something is going on behind the scenes to keep this script up to date with technology. We can completely use this script right now on a computer as easily as typing Chu Quoc Ngu which is pretty awesome for whoever is planning on learning the script.

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Re: Chu Nom Revival

Postby mafke » 2010-12-15, 18:55

IME Vietnamese people are in generally in favor of people preserving old Chu Nom texts and for some people (other people) to learn and use it for those reasons.

I'm fairly sure that any plans to make it a required part of the educational system would be met with a lot of resistance (and I'm sure there are no plans by anyone to actually do such a thing).

Remember that pro chu nom propoganda aside the replacement of chu nom with quoc ngu was a process that started from the bottom up and there was a long period where both were in use and quoc ngu eventually simply gained more readers and writers than chu nom (hardly surprising that). Decrees about quoc ngu being the official writing system were recognizing the real status quo not changing it.

And I would disagree with the statement: "We can completely use this script right now on a computer as easily as typing Chu Quoc Ngu" since Chu Nom was never very well standardized. Not to mention problems in trying to come up with characters for elements that entered the language after chu nom had passed out of daily usage.

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Re: Chu Nom Revival

Postby ThumbsUp » 2010-12-16, 5:57

I agree for the most part.

They should however make it as a required course in college or high school for
a quarter or semester. That would really help preserve the script without having to
force it down their throats by making it an official script. It would at least
introduce the script to people and possibly gain some interests into actually pursue
deeper knowledge of Chu Nom.

It would be like Vietnamese 102 and also helping students gain deeper understanding
of the language.

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Re: Chu Nom Revival

Postby hlysnan » 2010-12-16, 6:47

ThumbsUp wrote:I agree for the most part.

They should however make it as a required course in college or high school for
a quarter or semester. That would really help preserve the script without having to
force it down their throats by making it an official script. It would at least
introduce the script to people and possibly gain some interests into actually pursue
deeper knowledge of Chu Nom.

It would be like Vietnamese 102 and also helping students gain deeper understanding
of the language.


I don't think this will help people appreciate it. If you make it an elective in high school, I'm sure it would be more popular than if it were a required course.

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Re: Chu Nom Revival

Postby Tenebrarum » 2010-12-16, 6:50

ThumbsUp wrote:They should however make it as a required course in college or high school for
a quarter or semester. That would really help preserve the script without having to
force it down their throats by making it an official script..

You can't make Nôm a required subject in school and say you're not forcing anything down anybody's throat. Because you are.

FYI, The Hán-Nôm department in Saigon's University of Humanities closed a few years ago due to severe lack of student interest.
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Re: Chu Nom Revival

Postby ThumbsUp » 2010-12-16, 7:05

Draven wrote:
ThumbsUp wrote:They should however make it as a required course in college or high school for
a quarter or semester. That would really help preserve the script without having to
force it down their throats by making it an official script..

You can't make Nôm a required subject in school and say you're not forcing anything down anybody's throat. Because you are.

FYI, The Hán-Nôm department in Saigon's University of Humanities closed a few years ago due to severe lack of student interest.


This is exactly what I mean. Chu Nom will have barely any hope at life if it weren't somehow technically introduced to the people. They need some sort of hands on.

It'll be forcing the introduction of Nom down their throats but not forcing them to learn the script. It's different because it would actually introduce a lot of people to Nom and would help preserve the script because now people can major in it and actually get paid for knowing it (so they can teach required Nom courses). Some students might also want to delve deeper into learning the script after the course which will help preserve it even more.

We're not forcing them to learn the script, just forcing them to understand it more. Kinda like mandatory art classes, math classes, english classes etc. They're pretty much forced but we're not forced to use it everyday. Those classes just introduce them to us so we understand it better and later on we may want to be art majors,math majors, or english majors, or majors in which math or nom is required etc.

This is a writing system if it isn't somehow used you can't expect it to be able to be fully preserved in the future.

Besides it's only a semester or quarter class. I'm sure many people didn't mind taking art classes they didn't like or music classes. I bet they appreciated art and music much more after they've actually taken the course and had some understanding about them.

Edit: Another way you can see it is Nom class would be like a history + language course but more focused on the writing script. I think just teaching the script without discussing about it's importance to be preserved (discussing about its historical significance, through literary works and how it expresses our language etc) would be boring.
Last edited by ThumbsUp on 2010-12-16, 7:19, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Chu Nom Revival

Postby abcdefg » 2010-12-16, 7:15

They could put a unit or chapter into textbook, Thumbsup, the introduction purpose will still be done. I don't think it'd stand a chance to be a stand-alone subject.
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Re: Chu Nom Revival

Postby ThumbsUp » 2010-12-16, 7:29

abcdefg wrote:They could put a unit or chapter into textbook, Thumbsup, the introduction purpose will still be done. I don't think it'd stand a chance to be a stand-alone subject.


Hmm that might work too. The students can actually learn about it for possibly a month or so in a year long history or Vietnamese language course and do a project on it where they research Chu Nom literature and copy a original Chu Nom paragraph and discuss about it in class.

It might encourage students to take on elective Chu Nom courses and later on maybe more.

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Re: Chu Nom Revival

Postby Tenebrarum » 2010-12-16, 7:41

I wouldn't count on the education system in Vietnam for complicated tasks like encouragement of genuine learning or stimulation of curiosity. Their idea of education is quite different from what you have in the West.
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Re: Chu Nom Revival

Postby mafke » 2010-12-16, 8:12

I could see requiring a semester (or year long) course for certain majors at the university level, especially Vietnamese and some kinds of linguistics majors (maybe also Chinese and Japanese majors) and then, on the basis of demand, other electives added and that's about it to be honest.

As Draven says demand is generally going to be pretty limited and I can't imagine any real world scenarios for chữ nôm to ever become anything much beyond a subject of study for some scholars, occasional decoration and a hobby for a few dedicated language geeks (no insult intended, I'm one myself though I can't work up much enthusiasm for nôm).

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Re: Chu Nom Revival

Postby ThumbsUp » 2010-12-16, 9:12

mafke wrote:I could see requiring a semester (or year long) course for certain majors at the university level, especially Vietnamese and some kinds of linguistics majors (maybe also Chinese and Japanese majors) and then, on the basis of demand, other electives added and that's about it to be honest.

As Draven says demand is generally going to be pretty limited and I can't imagine any real world scenarios for chữ nôm to ever become anything much beyond a subject of study for some scholars, occasional decoration and a hobby for a few dedicated language geeks (no insult intended, I'm one myself though I can't work up much enthusiasm for nôm).


True. I think as long as we have a good amount of people literate in Chu Nom I'd be happy. Just in case we stumble across any artifacts or ancient documents/literary works and need some people to translate it into Quoc Ngu for us. I'm hoping Chu Nom literacy can at least reach somewhere in the thousands.

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Re: Chu Nom Revival

Postby mafke » 2010-12-16, 10:41

mafke wrote:I'm hoping Chu Nom literacy can at least reach somewhere in the thousands.


That seems like a reasonable goal.

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Re: Chu Nom Revival

Postby mōdgethanc » 2010-12-16, 10:50

I haven't been following this thread so forgive me, but what exactly is the point of reviving this script? I mean for practical purposes, not historical and cultural. Is there a significant amount of pre-colonial material written in it?

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Re: Chu Nom Revival

Postby hlysnan » 2010-12-16, 11:50

Talib wrote:I haven't been following this thread so forgive me, but what exactly is the point of reviving this script? I mean for practical purposes, not historical and cultural. Is there a significant amount of pre-colonial material written in it?


Even then, pre-colonial material can be and probably is rewritten in Chữ Quốc Ngữ. I think there is very little practical purpose, besides easier access to Chinese I guess.

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Re: Chu Nom Revival

Postby abcdefg » 2010-12-16, 15:48

Chữ Nôm is like Vietnamese Chinese. I think it'd be far more practical for Vietnamese people to learn Chinese language in full, instead of knowing only several morphed characters.

Even the elites who were fluent in Chinese and knew Chữ Nôm had troubles in communicating. They couldn't communicate in written form to commoners, because commoners didn't know Nôm script. And they couldn't communicate in spoken form to Chinese people, because Chinese people don't pronounce Chinese letter the Vietnamese way.
Tôi kể người nghe chuyện Phố-trong-sông,
chuyện những mùa Đông đi qua thời con gái.
Bóng đổ dài, bước chân người mê mải
Gió chở mùa về,
hoang hoải cả giấc mơ..

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Re: Chu Nom Revival

Postby mōdgethanc » 2010-12-16, 16:31

Yasha wrote:Even then, pre-colonial material can be and probably is rewritten in Chữ Quốc Ngữ. I think there is very little practical purpose, besides easier access to Chinese I guess.
It's very different from Chinese though. Wouldn't the characters have to be standardized to match the meanings of the Chinese ones? Or is that already a form of writing in Vietnamese?

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Re: Chu Nom Revival

Postby Tenebrarum » 2010-12-16, 16:45

abcdefg wrote:Chữ Nôm is like Vietnamese Chinese.

Actually it's just plain Vietnamese, more or less the language we're speaking now. That's why you have "Hán Nôm" - The "Hán" part is like Japanese Kanji, used for writing Hán Việt roots from (Tang) Classical Chinese. The "Nôm" part consists of Chinese characters shoehorned to record Vietnamese words - words that are either native, or borrowed from Chinese but naturalized, or borrowed from somewhere else. The great thing is, by looking at Nôm, you can tell that our forefathers kept a pretty good track on etymology: the naturalized Sinitic borrowings (like chìm, càng, vách etc.) are usually represented by their ancestral Chinese characters, but have a little mark that looks like an apostrophe on their side to "cue" the reader, telling them this word or that word must be read the naturalized way. That means, when that mark is removed, the characters would become Hán again and ought to be read as proper Tang Chinese (e.g trầm, cường, bích...). Efficient, but oh so very treacherous.
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Re: Chu Nom Revival

Postby abcdefg » 2010-12-16, 17:57

Yep, that's why I said chữ Nôm are morphed Chinese characters with Vietnamese pronunciation. It employs Chinese characters to record Vietnamese speech so the writing is Chinese or Chinese-like, but pronunciation is Vietnamese.

Forming a Nôm letter is like forming a Chinese letter, with 2 components: one signifying the pronunciation and one signifying its meaning.

Scholars at that time invented Chữ Nôm in quite various ways:
- Use a complete, unmodified Chinese letter for a Vietnamese letter, keep the meaning of the Chinese character unchanged.
-> Used for Sino-Vietnamese, where Vietnamese borrows the whole word from Chinese and has no equivalent counterpart.

- Combine 2 Chinese letters: Meaning + Pronunciation.
For eg., 'nửa' = 'bán' (1/2) + 'nữ (pronounced like 'nửa')'.

- Combine a Chinese letter with a Chinese radical.
For eg., 'đồn' (thổi) = 'đốn' + radical 'khẩu'

Sometimes when the situation required, scholars could:

- Combine 2 Chinese letters with one or more Chinese radicals

- Combine a Chinese letter with a Nôm letter

- Combine 2 Nôm letters

- Combine 2 Nôm letters with one or more Chinese radicals

- ...

Each word is tailored-made, so before the Nôm was that widespread (among elites, when they'd been familiar with the word enough to get the writer's meaning), its reader of course had to make guesses and dip in the creativity pool. Obviously some words are still remained mysteries now because no-one can know for sure what its inventor meant.
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Re: Chu Nom Revival

Postby ILuvEire » 2010-12-17, 1:41

I feel like shooting myself in the head every time Chu Nom comes up. It's cool, but so impractical. Quoc Ngu all the way!
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