Wiktionary:About Vietnamese

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Vietnamese is an Austroasiatic language that originated in Vietnam, where it is the national and official language. It is the native language of the Kinh ethnicity, as well as a first or second language for the many ethnic minorities of Vietnam.


Modern Vietnamese is descended from Middle Vietnamese, which was documented in Alexandre de Rhodes' Dictionarium Annamiticum Lusitanum et Latinum. According to Wikipedia, modern Vietnamese is the language as it was spoken from the 19th century to the present.

Many Vietnamese words are loaned from Chinese, either with the orthodox Sino-Vietnamese pronunciations (for which use the template {{vi-etym-sino}}) or with non-Sino-Vietnamese pronunciations (for which use {{vi-etym-sino|chinese etymon|hv/nat/preMC=n}}).


The template {{vi-pron}} or {{vi-IPA}} automatically adds several regional pronunciations in IPA.


Nouns can be added with the template {{vi-noun}}, classifiers can be added with {{vi-noun|cls=classifier}}.


The lemma form of Vietnamese words in Wiktionary is the "modern" spelling: always writing i instead of y in monophthongs ( instead of mỹ) and putting the tone accent on the second vowel in oa, uy, oe (khoẻ instead of khỏe). Other spellings should be added as "alternative spelling of", for which the template {{vi alternative spelling of}} exists. General consensus is that spellings need not be attested, as long as some spelling of the same word is; this means that a word like tụy đạo (attested with this spelling) will be listed at the (apparently unattested) spelling tuỵ đạo.

Proper names are not included in the spelling reform, such that the "traditional" spelling can be the main lemma.

As Nôm script (chữ Nôm) was (with decreasing frequency) used until well into the 19th century, Nôm spellings can be added with {{vi-noun|nôm character}} etc.

Chinese vs. VietnameseEdit

Note that many works written by Vietnamese people (especially older ones) were actually in Chinese. These works are nowadays often transcribed into quốc ngữ, reflecting the Vietnamese pronunciation; this does not change the fact that the language is still Chinese. Quotes from these works and word meanings derived from them should therefore not be added under the Vietnamese-language header.

To clarify, the following is Chinese:

  • 1077, “Nam quốc sơn hà”:
    Nam quốc sơn hà nam đế cư.
    Among the mountains and rivers of the South, the Southern emperor dwells.

The following is actual (Archaic) Vietnamese:

  • 13th century, Trần Nhân Tông, Cư trần lạc đạo phú, Đệ cửu hội:
    Trà Triệu lão, bánh Thiều Dương, bầy thiền tử hãy còn đói khát.
    Old man Triệu's tea, Thiều Dương cakes, the novices remain hungry and thirsty.