Jump to content
Learn Chinese in China

Sign in to follow this  

If you know Vietnamese...

Recommended Posts


If you know Vietnamese, do you think Vietnamese should be written monosyllabically or disyllabically or even polysyllabically? (e.g. HANOI instead of HA NOI; QUOCGIA instead of QUOC GIA)

I found a link and the author has urged all Vietnamese to reform their writing form. He named this reform (maybe not he who named it...) as "Vietnamese 2020", that he hoped that people would adopt this new writing form by 2020.

Here's the link:


The document is long but is quite interesting (though he just repeated his points again and again, so at the end it could be boring), and some points are just plain dumb.

I think he's quite a nationalist (of Vietnam) and he tried to defend Vietnamese language of being inferior, while I agree it's not an inferior language, I can't agree many of his points. It seems to me that he defined a language as superior if it was di- or polysyllabic and using romanized characters, etc.

He also mentioned some points about the reform of Chinese writing system in "The other pictures", you may have a look, though this is a part that I don't wanna discuss in this board. (if you want to discuss it, please go to the relevant board.)

Okay, back to my intention of writing this post, do you think Vietnamese should be written monosyllabically or disyllabically or even polysyllabically?

Share this post

Link to post
Share on other sites
Site Sponsors:
Pleco for iPhone / Android iPhone & Android Chinese dictionary: camera & hand- writing input, flashcards, audio.
Study Chinese in Kunming 1-1 classes, qualified teachers and unique teaching methods in the Spring City.
Learn Chinese Characters Learn 2289 Chinese Characters in 90 Days with a Unique Flash Card System.
Hacking Chinese Tips and strategies for how to learn Chinese more efficiently
Popup Chinese Translator Understand Chinese inside any Windows application, website or PDF.
Chinese Grammar Wiki All Chinese grammar, organised by level, all in one place.


I think Vietnamese should be remain as it is now, i.e. written monosyllabically, for many reasons:

- writing it polysyllabically does not make it easier to read or to write. In the past, hyphenation ("-") has been used to link polysyllabic "words", but it has been dropped for ... simplification (Yes, there was a "traditional" latinized :wink: Vietnamese too...). Ex: Hà Nội (河内) was written Hà-Nội. It's now written Hà Nội. Writing as Hànội is just a great leap backward concerning orthography simplication.

- Polysyllabic words have the reverse problem: syllabe separation. If "quốc gia" (quốc 国 + gia 家) were written "quốcgia", what would be the components: "quố + cgia" , or "quốcg+ ia", or "quốc + gia" (of course, this is over-exaggerated, but the point is: polysyllabic writing does not make the language easier to learn).

- The reasons invoked for writing polysyllabically has nothing to do with nationalism (sensitive issue :wink: ...): on the contrary, it seems to me a mere imitation of western languages or Chinese Pinyin. Linking associated monosyllabic "words" is just a question of habit or training, just as Chinese characters do no need to be glued to be read or understood a multi-character word.

- Just a pragmatic point of view: it's easier to process automatically (i.e. with Information technology) Vietnamese as it is now than if it were written polysyllabically, and futhermore, transcription of Hán-Việt or chữ Nôm on the basis 1 character---> 1 monosyllabic "word" is easier.

I think Vietnamese orthograhy is simple enough and does not need any complexification :wink: Vô vi 无为 (some would say: laziness) is the root of efficiency

Share this post

Link to post
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and select your username and password later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.
Note: Your post will require moderator approval before it will be visible.

Click here to reply. Select text to quote.

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

Sign in to follow this  

  • Create New...