Why is China jealous of huge Vietnam

history

The Vietnamese language has been attributed, according to some, to a group of Sino-Tibetan languages ​​that represent a kind of union of the Chinese and Tibetan languages ​​(Maspero H. “some Annamite words of Chinese origin”, quoted by Trinh Huy Tiên, the personality of Vietnam, Saigon).

Others prefer to attribute it to the Austro-Asian languages ​​(austro means southern). Given the monosyllabic (one syllable per word) and polytonal (different tonality) types, this hypothesis is the most likely.

In fact, intonation plays a very important role in the Vietnamese language. With the six different tones in each pronunciation using the same word, these tones can completely change the meaning of a word.

Chinese colonization, which lasted almost ten centuries, greatly influenced Vietnamese culture. During this period, Chinese characters (Nho Ngu or Han Ngu) dominated the school and administration.

After its independence (939 AD) Viêt Nam continued to use Chinese characters. But very soon the intellectual class needed an independent form of writing to transcribe their language. This is how Chu Nôm, or demotic writing, was born. The Nôm is an imprint of Chinese characters to write the Vietnamese language, like the Latin characters in the West to transcribe French or another language.

Legend has it that the invention of “Chu Nom” was attributed to Hàn Truyên, a justice minister under the rule of Trân Thai Tôn (1225 - 1257), but in reality the Nôm is the joint work of men of letters. Unfortunately, the structure of the Nôm is freely defined, without a basis or fixed rules, nor codifications, in particular this form of writing was only addressed to a certain intellectual class and it did not have a popular basis. The failure of the attempt to liberate the Vietnamese from the Chinese script was therefore inevitable.

Later, at the beginning of the 14th century, the regent Hô Quy Ly tried to bring the Nôm back into position, as in the 16th century under the rule of Emperor Quang Trung; but eventually the weight of the Chinese script (Han Ngu) continued to occupy its dominant place - solely out of respect for Confucianism (Nho Giao), which reigned as a master in Vietnamese society at the time.

The extraordinary event that finally concretized the cultural independence of the Vietnamese language was in the 17th century when Western missionaries arrived. The Quôc Ngu (national script) was born on the basis of the Latin alphabet and supplemented with accents or characters (so-called diacritics to determine the different tones in the pronunciation). This is how the Vietnamese script finally got its alphabet.

Thanks to the Quôc Ngu, the Vietnamese managed this turning point to achieve complete exemption from the Chinese script. They never forgot the Catholic priest Reverend Alexandre de Rhodes, who published a Vietnamese-Portuguese-Latin dictionary (Dictionarium annamiticum lusitanum) in Rome in 1651. This brought this people a fantastic cultural revolution, the collective work of Quôc Ngu, which became the national script at the beginning of the 20th century.