From Proto-Vietic *teːm (night), probably from Proto-Mon-Khmer *btɔm. Cognate with Muong têm, Tho [Cuối Chăm] teːm¹. Compare Semelai petom, Mon ဗ္တံ, Khmu [Cuang] psɨəm, Riang [Lang] sɔm¹.

The Vietnamese words for "day" and "night" and their cognates have the same distribution within Vietic: reflexes of *-ŋiː (day) and *teːm (night) are only attested in Thổ, Pong and Viet-Muong, i.e. the "innovative Vietic" group, lacking cognates in the generally more conservative languages. Unlike the case of *-ŋiː (day) (> ngày), the existence of presyllable (if it existed) in Vietic can not be straightforwardly recovered: the tone of the word is consistently A1 in all languages, indicating what was most likely a monosyllabic root with voiceless onset (what the root is currently reconstructed as). The mismatch of vowels (Vietic showing front vowel, while the rest showing central or back vowels) is probably the biggest hindrance to connect đêm to other AA words. The cognacy between Vietnamese đêm and the other AA words, therefore, might be questionable.

Non-final *t in the non-Northern branches sometimes corresponds to a fricative, an affricate or a palatal stop in Northern branches, cf. *trsam (right) and *c₁aŋ (bitter) in Proto-Khmuic, whose Proto-Vietic cognates are *tam (> Vietnamese đăm) and *taŋʔ (> đắng) respectively.





đêm (, 𡖵, 𣈔, 𣈘, 𣎀)

  1. night, especially late night after 9 PM, including the wee hours of the morning; the overnight hours; compare tối (evening/night right after dark, about 6 to 8 PM)
    Đêm qua đi ngủ mấy giờ?
    When did you go to bed last night?
    • 15th century, Nguyễn Trãi, “芭蕉 Ba tiêu "Banana"”, in Quốc âm thi tập (國音詩集):
      Từ bén hơi xuân tốt lại thêm,
      Đầy buồng lạ mầu/màu thâu đêm.
      With the first sign of spring, rejuvenated,
      After [just] a night, the bunches [of bananas] are now miraculously full.

See also

Derived terms