See also: Chu Nom

Vietnamese

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Examples

: this is a phonogram ( (MC mok), SV: mặc) used to write mặc (to wear).
𢀨: this is a chữ kép (phonogram with double phonetics, phonetic (MC gjoX) + phonetic (MC lang)), used to write sang (luxurious, wealthy) and its historical forms.
: this is a semantogram ( (to be able to)) used to write hay (to know, to be aware of).
𡗶: this is a semantogram with double semantics (semantic (above, upper) + semantic (sky)) used to write trời (sky) and its historical forms.
𩄲: this is a semantophonogram (semantic (rain) + phonetic (MC mej) (SV: ) used to write mây (cloud).
: this is a semantic rebus character, used to write đám (cluster, bunch), originally a phonogram ( (MC 'angH)) used to write áng (cluster).

Etymology

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chữ (character) +‎ Nôm, literally "the southern characters" wherein "southern" refers to Vietnam as opposed to northern which is China.

Pronunciation

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Noun

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chữ Nôm (字喃, 𡨸喃, 𡦂喃)

  1. (writing) a historical writing system derived from Chinese characters that was once used to write Vietnamese
    Synonym: Quốc âm (obsolete)
  2. (by extension) certain writing system(s) derived from Chinese characters historically used by certain groups of speakers of Tai languages in Vietnam to write their language(s), now usually grouped together as chữ Nôm Tày ("the Nôm script of the Tày people")
    Chữ Nôm của dân tộc Tày tỉnh Bắc Kạn vừa được công nhận là Di sản văn hóa phi vật thể cấp quốc gia.
    The Nôm script of the Tày people of Bắc Kạn Province has just been recognized as a national intangible cultural heritage.

Usage notes

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  • Although often (mis)portrayed as being what Nôm characters were, semantophonograms were simply one category of characters in Nôm texts. Even in the early 20th century (the last days of Nôm literature), no Nôm texts were spelled with only semantophonograms. The majority of Nôm texts were a mix of mostly phonograms and semantophonograms, with other types of characters occupying a smaller portion. Many of modern presentations of Nôm texts often show very dense use of semantophonograms (some of which were very rare or are straight-up ghosts), which might be misleading of what Nôm texts were actually like when they were in regular use.
    • 19th century, Nguyễn Đình Chiểu, Tale of Lục Vân Tiên:
      些低拱固𠬠昆
      𠸜𱺵裴儉奴群於京
      Ta đây cũng có một con,
      Tên là Bùi Kiệm, nó còn ở kinh.
      I also have a son,
      His name is Bùi Kiệm; he's still at the capital.
      The example above is from an early 20th century (1916) copy of an original work from mid-19th century. In these two lines, , , , , are phonograms used purely for their phonetic values; 𠬠, 𱺵 are simplified forms of and respectively (also used as phonograms); 𠸜, are semantophonograms; , are phonograms with semantic matching ( might instead belongs here); and , , are straightforward Sino-Vietnamese elements.
    • 18th century, Đặng Trần Côn (鄧陳琨) (circa 1705–1745) (original Chinese), translated by Đoàn Thị Điểm (段氏點) (1705–1746/1748) (traditionally claimed), might actually be translated by Phan Huy Ích (潘輝益) (1751–1822), Chinh phụ ngâm khúc (征婦吟曲) [The Song of a Soldier's Wife], lines 25-26:
      外頭梂渃𤄯如𤀓
      塘边梂𦹵木群𡽫
      Ngòi đầu cầu, nước trong như lọc,
      Đường bên cầu, cỏ mọc còn non.
      Beneath the bridge the brook flows crystal-clear,
      Along the nearby path thrives grass, still young.
      This example shows denser use of semantophonograms. , , are phonograms used for their phonetic values; is a simplified form of ; , , 𤄯, 𤀓, , 𦹵 are semantophonograms; 𡽫 (non, young) here is a phonetic rebus from 𡽫 (non, mountain), a semantophonogram; and , are straightforward Sino-Vietnamese elements.

See also

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