Chữ Nôm

Chữ Nôm (𡨸喃, IPA: [cɨ̌ˀ nom], literally "Southern characters"),[1] in earlier times also called quốc âm or chữ nam, is a logographic writing system formerly used to write the Vietnamese language. It used the standard set of classical Chinese characters to represent Sino-Vietnamese vocabulary and some native Vietnamese words, while new characters were created on the Chinese model to represent other words.[2]

Chữ Nôm
Time period
(limited use)
Parent systems
Chinese characters
  • Chữ Nôm
Sister systems
Kanji, Hanja, Sawndip, Khitan large script

Although formal writing in Vietnam was done in classical Chinese,[3] until the early 20th century (except for two brief interludes), chữ Nôm was widely used between the 15th and 19th centuries by Vietnam's cultured elite, including women, for popular works, many in verse. One of the best-known pieces of Vietnamese literature, The Tale of Kiều, was composed in chữ Nôm.

In the 1920s, the Latin-based Vietnamese alphabet created by Jesuit missionaries displaced chữ Nôm as the preferred way to record Vietnamese. While Han characters are still used for decorative, historic and ceremonial value and as symbols of good luck, Nôm characters have fallen into disuse in any other function in modern Vietnam in favour of the alphabet. The task of preservation and study of Vietnamese texts written in Nôm (but also classical Chinese texts from Vietnam) is conducted by the Institute of Hán-Nôm Studies in Hanoi.


The Vietnamese word chữ (character) is derived from the Old Chinese word , meaning '[Chinese] character'.[4] The word Nôm in chữ Nôm means 'Southern', and is derived from the Middle Chinese word , meaning 'south'.[5]

There are many ways to write the name chữ Nôm in chữ Nôm characters. The word chữ may be written as , 𫳘(⿰字宁), 𪧚(⿰字守), 𡨸, , , 𫿰(⿰字文), 𡦂(⿰字字), or , while Nôm may be written as or .[6][7]


Chữ Nôm is the logographic writing system of the Vietnamese language. It is based on the Chinese writing system but adds a high number of new characters to make it fit the Vietnamese language.

In Vietnamese, Chinese characters are called chữ Hán ( ‘Han characters’), Hán tự (漢字 ‘Han characters’), Hán văn (漢文 ‘Han characters’), or chữ nho (字儒 ‘Confucian characters’).[8][9][10] Hán văn (漢文) also means Chinese language literature (in this case, Hán văn literally means ‘Han literature’).[11][12]

The term Hán Nôm ( ‘Han and chữ Nôm characters’)[13] in Vietnamese designates the whole body of Vietnamese premodern written materials, either written in Chinese (chữ hán) or in Vietnamese (chữ Nôm).[14] Hán and Nôm could also be found in the same document side by side,[15] for example, in the case of translations of books on Chinese medicine.[16] The Buddhist history Cổ Châu Pháp Vân phật bản hạnh ngữ lục (1752) gives the story of early Buddhism in Vietnam both in Hán script and in a parallel Nôm translation.[17] The Jesuit Girolamo Maiorica (1605–1656) had also used parallel Hán and Nôm texts.

The term chữ quốc ngữ (𡨸 "national language script") refers to the romanized writing system based on the Vietnamese alphabet.


Chinese characters were introduced to Vietnam after the Han dynasty conquered the country in 111 BC. Independence was achieved in 939, but Literary Chinese was adopted for official purposes in 1010.[18] For most of the period up to the early 20th century, formal writing was indistinguishable from contemporaneous classical Chinese works produced in China, Korea, and Japan.[19]

Vietnamese scholars were thus intimately familiar with Chinese writing. In order to record their native language, they applied the structural principles of Chinese characters to develop chữ Nôm. The new script was mostly used to record folk songs and for other popular literature.[20] Vietnamese written in chữ Nôm briefly replaced Chinese for official purposes under the Hồ dynasty (1400–1407) and under the Tây Sơn (1778–1802), but in both cases this was swiftly reversed.[21]

Earliest evidence

The use of Chinese characters to write the Vietnamese language can be traced to an inscription with the two characters "", as part of the posthumous title of Phùng Hưng, a national hero who succeeded in expelling the Chinese, albeit briefly in the late 8th century. These two characters literally mean "cloth" + "cover" in Chinese but when pronounced by the Vietnamese, the phonetic value is employed to represent vua cái ("great king"), or archaic Vietnamese bố cái ("father and mother", i.e. as respectable as one's parents). During the 10th century, the founder of the Đinh dynasty (968-979) named the country Đại Cồ Việt (). The second character of this title is another early example of using Chinese characters to represent Vietnamese native words, although which word it represents is still debated.[22][23]

The oldest surviving objects with chữ Nôm inscriptions are a stele (1209) at Bảo Ân temple containing 18 characters naming villages and people, and a stele at Hộ Thành Sơn in Ninh Bình Province (1343), listing 20 villages.[24][25]

The first literary writing in Vietnamese is said to have been an incantation in verse composed in 1282 by the Minister of Justice Nguyễn Thuyên and thrown into the Red River to expel a menacing crocodile.[24] The oldest Nom text that is still extant is the collected poetry of Emperor Trần Nhân Tông written in the 13th century.[26]

Hồ dynasty (1400–07) and Ming conquest (1407–27)

During the seven years of the Hồ dynasty (1400–07) Classical Chinese was discouraged in favor of vernacular Vietnamese written in chữ Nôm, which became the official script. The emperor Hồ Quý Ly even ordered the translation of the Book of Documents into Nôm and pushed for reinterpretation of Confucian thoughts in his book Minh đạo.[27] These efforts were reversed with the fall of the Hồ and Chinese conquest of 1407, lasting twenty years, during which use of the vernacular language and demotic script were suppressed.[28]

During the Ming dynasty occupation of Vietnam, chữ Nôm printing blocks, texts and inscriptions were thoroughly destroyed; as a result the earliest surviving texts of chữ Nôm post-date the occupation.[29]

Lê (1428–1788), Tây Sơn (1788–1802) and Nguyễn dynasties (1802–1945)

Among the earlier works in Nôm of this era are the writings of Nguyễn Trãi (1380–1442).[30] The corpus of Nôm writings grew over time as did more scholarly compilations of the script itself. Trịnh Thị Ngọc Trúc, consort of King Lê Thần Tông, is generally given credit for Chỉ nam ngọc âm giải nghĩa (the Explication of the Guide to Jeweled Sounds), a 24,000-character bilingual Han-to-Nom dictionary compiled between the 15th and 18th centuries, most likely in 1641 or 1761.[31][32]

While almost all official writings and documents continued to be written in classical Chinese until the early 20th century, Nôm was the preferred script for literary compositions of the cultural elites. Nôm reached its golden period with the Nguyễn dynasty in the 19th century as it became a vehicle for diverse genres, from novels to theatrical pieces, and instructional manuals. Apogees of Vietnamese literature emerged with Nguyễn Du's The Tale of Kiều[33] and Hồ Xuân Hương's poetry. Although literacy in premodern Vietnam was limited to just 3 to 5 percent of the population,[34] nearly every village had someone who could read Nom aloud for the benefit of other villagers.[35] Thus these Nôm works circulated orally in the villages, making it accessible even to the illiterates.[36]

In 1838, Jean-Louis Taberd compiled a Nom dictionary, helping with the standardization of the script.[37] In 1867, Catholic scholar Nguyễn Trường Tộ made the bold move to petition the Emperor Tự Đức to adopt Nôm as the official script. The court failed to make a break with chu Nho but Nôm did gain some sanction as Quốc Âm, i.e. the national speech.[38]

French Indochina and the Latin alphabet

From the latter half of the 19th century onwards, the French colonial authorities discouraged or simply banned the use of classical Chinese, and promoted the use of the Vietnamese alphabet, which they viewed as a stepping stone toward learning French. Language reform movements in other Asian nations stimulated Vietnamese interest in the subject. Following the Russo-Japanese War of 1905, Japan was increasingly cited as a model for modernization. The Confucian education system was compared unfavorably to the Japanese system of public education. According to a polemic by writer Phan Châu Trinh, "so-called Confucian scholars" lacked knowledge of the modern world, as well as real understanding of Han literature. Their degrees showed only that they had learned how to write characters, he claimed.[39]

The popularity of Hanoi's short-lived Tonkin Free School suggested that broad reform was possible. In 1910, the colonial school system adopted a "Franco-Vietnamese curriculum", which emphasized French and alphabetic Vietnamese. The teaching of Chinese characters was discontinued in 1917.[40] On December 28, 1918, Emperor Khải Định declared that the traditional writing system no longer had official status.[40] The traditional Civil Service Examination, which emphasized the command of classical Chinese, was dismantled in 1915 in Tonkin and was given for the last time at the imperial capital of Huế on January 4, 1919.[40] The examination system, and the education system based on it, had been in effect for almost 900 years.[40]

The decline of the Chinese script also led to the decline of chữ Nôm given that Nôm and Chinese characters are so intimately connected.[41] During the early half of the 20th century, chữ Nôm gradually died out as quốc ngữ grew more and more standardized and popular. In an article published in 1935 by Cordier he stated that quốc ngữ is rapidly dethroning Chinese characters and is replacing chữ Nôm so that by 1935 out of one hundred literate persons 70 knew quốc ngữ, 20 knew chữ Nôm and 10 knew Chinese characters.[42]


  • Đại Việt sử ký tiệp lục tổng tự.[43] This history of Vietnam was written during the Tây Sơn dynasty. The original is Han, and there is also a Nom translation.
  • Nguyễn Du, The Tale of Kieu (1820)
  • Nguyễn Trãi, Quốc âm thi tập ("National Language Poetry Compilation")
  • Phạm Đình Hồ, Nhật Dụng Thường Đàm (1851). A Han-to-Nom dictionary for Vietnamese speakers.
  • Nguyễn Đình Chiểu, Lục Vân Tiên (19th century)
  • Đặng Trần Côn, Chinh Phụ Ngâm Khúc (18th century)
  • Hồ Xuân Hương (18th century) female poet


The syntax of nôm naturally follows Vietnamese grammar, not Chinese grammar. For example, in nôm texts the Trịnh lords (1545–1787) are Chúa Trịnh (chữ Nôm: 主鄭) not as in Sino-Vietnamese Trịnh vương (chữ Hán: 鄭王). Here the character used (lord in Vietnamese, king in Chinese) is also different, but the difference in syntax is that in Vietnamese the noun "lord" precedes the name, whereas in Chinese "king" follows the name.

A similar example, in Vietnamese Truyện Kiều (傳翹, lit. "Tale of Kiều") the word "tale" precedes the name, but in Chinese syntax "tale" (truyện ) should follow the name Kiều. The nôm term "chữ Nôm" itself is an example of this. In Vietnamese nôm syntax the noun "script" (𡨸) precedes "Southern" (), whereas in chữ Hán the order is reversed and a purely Chinese chữ Hán character used instead of the locally created Chữ (chữ Hán: 喃字). Similarly with gods and heroes; the syntax of the popular name Thánh Gióng (聖容) differs from his chữ Hán name Phù Đổng Thiên Vương (扶董天王); the nôm name Mẫu Thoải (母水), has a Vietnamese syntax while her chữ Hán name Thủy cung Thánh Mẫu (水宮聖母) exhibits Chinese syntax. The official Chinese Tên chữ and vernacular Tên nôm for village names may also have different syntax as well as different characters.[44]

Chinese poems translated into Nôm could retain more Chinese syntax and poetic forms than those translated into Korean or Japanese.[45] Though as literature in Nôm developed it increasingly freed itself from Chinese syntax.[46]


In chữ Nôm, each monosyllabic word of Vietnamese was represented by a character, either borrowed from Chinese or locally created. There was no development of a syllabary like Japanese kana or Korean hangul; in part due to the analytic nature of Vietnamese, similar to Chinese, as opposed to the agglutinative morphology of Japanese and Korean.[47]

Borrowed characters

Unmodified Chinese characters were used in chữ Nôm in three different ways.

A large proportion of Vietnamese vocabulary had been borrowed from Chinese from the Tang period. Such Sino-Vietnamese vocabulary could be written with the original Chinese character for each word, for example:[48]

  • dịch ("service", "corvée"), from Early Middle Chinese (EMC) /jwiajk/[49]
  • bản ("root", "foundation"), from EMC /pən'/[50]
  • đầu ("head"), from EMC /dəw/[51]

To represent a native Vietnamese word, one method was to use a Chinese character for a Chinese word with a similar meaning. For example, may also represent vốn ("capital, funds"). When a character would have two readings, a diacritic may be added to the character to indicate the "indigenous" reading. Thus when is meant to be read as vốn, it is written as ,[52] with a diacritic at the upper right corner. The two most common alternate reading diacritical marks are and nháy (a variant form of ).[53] In this case, the word vốn is actually an earlier Chinese loan that has become accepted as Vietnamese; William Hannas claims that all such readings are similar early loans.[48]

Alternatively, a native Vietnamese word could be written using a Chinese character for a Chinese word with a similar sound, regardless of the meaning of the Chinese word. For example, (Early Middle Chinese /mət/[54]) may represent the Vietnamese word một ("one").[55]

To draw an analogy to the Japanese writing system, the first two categories are similar to the on and kun readings of Japanese kanji respectively. The third is similar to ateji, in which characters are used only for their sound value, or the Man'yōgana script that became the origin of hiragana and katakana.

Locally invented characters

In contrast to the few hundred Japanese kokuji and handful of Korean gukja, which are mostly rarely used characters for indigenous natural phenomena, Vietnamese scribes created thousands of new characters, used throughout the language.[56]

Similar to the Chinese writing system, the most common kind of invented character in Nom is the phono-semantic compound, made by combining two characters or components, one suggesting the word's meaning and the other its approximate sound. For example,[57]

  • 𠀧 (ba "three") is composed of the phonetic part (Sino-Vietnamese reading: ba) and the semantic part "three". "Father" is also ba, but written as (⿱), while "turtle" is con ba ba .
  • (mẹ "mother") has "woman" as semantic component and (Sino-Vietnamese reading: mỹ) as phonetic component.[lower-alpha 2]

A smaller group consists of semantic compound characters, which are composed of two Chinese characters representing words of similar meaning. For example, 𡗶 (giời or trời "sky", "heaven") is composed of ("sky") and ("upper").[57]

A few characters were obtained by modifying Chinese characters related either semantically or phonetically to the word to be represented. For example,

  • the Nôm character 𧘇 (ấy "that', "those") is a simplified form of the Chinese character (Sino-Vietnamese reading: ý).[58]
  • the Nôm character (làm "work", "labour") is a simplified form of the Chinese character (Sino-Vietnamese reading: lạm) ( > > ).[59]
  • the Nôm character 𠬠 (một 'one') comes from the right part of the Chinese character (Sino-Vietnamese reading: một).[60]

In Korea and Japan, phonetic systems were developed so that Chinese characters could be taught to the general public.[61] Vietnam's educated class looked down on Nom as inferior to Han, so they were not interested in doing the work required to turn Nom into a form of writing suitable for mass communication.[62] Like Chinese, Vietnamese is a tonal language and has nearly 5,000 distinct syllables.[18] Neither the Korean nor the Japanese writing systems indicate tones, so they cannot be accurately applied to the Vietnamese language without significant modifications to their systems.[19]

Most common characters

The website gives a frequency table of the 586 most common characters in Nom literature. According to this table, the most common 50 characters are as follows, with the modern spelling given in italics:[63]

  1. to be
  2. and
  3. các each; every
  4. một one
  5. there is
  6. 𧵑 của of
  7. được to get, to obtain
  8. 𥪝 trong in
  9. 𤄯 trong clear
  10. 𠊛 (or 𠊚) người people
  11. những (plural marker)
  12. học to learn
  13. như as
  14. từ word
  15. hội, gọi to meet, to call
  16. hay or, good
  17. không not
  18. thể body, able
  19. four
  20. cũng also
  21. 𠇍 với, mấy with, some
  22. cho to give
  23. society, company
  24. này, nơi this, place
  25. để to place
  26. quan frontier, barrier, gate
  27. quan to see
  28. trường school
  29. bản, vốn, composition, financial capital
  30. 𧗱 về to return; about
  31. kinh classic works, sutra
  32. hàng, hãng, hành, hạnh company, firm
  33. hàng sail; navigate
  34. sản, sẵn to give birth, to be prepared
  35. 𠚢 ra to get out
  36. thế world; era
  37. thế to replace
  38. thế position, power; like that, so
  39. thường frequent; common, normal, usual
  40. sự matter; event
  41. đó there; that
  42. to splash
  43. đầu head; top (of a multitude)
  44. đầu to throw, to send
  45. 𦓡 but
  46. khác another, different; further
  47. nhất first
  48. đến arrive, reach
  49. nhà home, house; family.


In 1867, the reformist Nguyễn Trường Tộ proposed a standardization of chữ Nôm (along with the abolition of classical Chinese), but the new system, what he called quốc âm Hán tự (國音漢字 lit. "Han characters with national pronunciations"), was rejected by Emperor Tự Đức.[64] To this date, chữ Nôm has never been officially standardized. As a result, a Vietnamese word can be represented by variant Nôm characters. For example, the very word chữ ("character", "script"), a Chinese loan word, can be written as either (Chinese character), 𡦂 (invented character, "compound-semantic") or 𡨸 (invented character, "semantic-phonetic"). For another example, the word béo ("fat", "greasy") can be written either as or . Both characters are invented characters with a semantic-phonetic structure, the difference being the phonetic indicator ( vs. ).

From 2013, Han-Nom Revival Committee of Vietnam, an internet-based organization has started its standardization work for Chữ Hán Nôm. Aiming at both chữ Nôm and Chữ Hán standardization, the Committee's "Chữ Hán Nôm Standardization Project[65]" is designed to determine the Standard chữ Nôm among many variant Nôm characters, to confirm the usage of chữ Nôm and Chữ Hán in Pure Vietnamese words, Sino-Vietnamese words (especially Vietnamese-made Sino-Vietnamese words), and Hybrid words, as well as to determine the chữ Nôm and Chữ Hán characters in Loan words for phonetic transliteration. Till 2015, based on discussions among many specialists of Chữ Hán Nôm, around 500 frequently-used Chữ Hán Nôm are determined and published on its website.[66]

Computer encoding

In 1993, the Vietnamese government released an 8-bit coding standard for alphabetic Vietnamese (TCVN 5712:1993, or VSCII), as well as a 16-bit standard for Nom (TCVN 5773:1993).[67] This group of glyphs is referred to as "V0." In 1994, the Ideographic Rapporteur Group agreed to include Nom characters as part of Unicode.[68] A revised standard, TCVN 6909:2001, defines 9,299 glyphs.[69] About half of these glyphs are specific to Vietnam.[69] Nom characters not already encoded were added to CJK Unified Ideographs Extension B.[69] (These characters have five-digit hexadecimal code points. The characters that were encoded earlier have four-digit hex.)

CodeCharactersUnicode blockStandardDateV SourceSources
V02,246Basic Block (593), A (138), B (1,515)TCVN 5773:19932001V0-3021 to V0-49275
V13,311Basic Block (3,110), C (1)TCVN 6056:19951999V1-4A21 to V1-6D352, 5
V23,205Basic Block (763), A (151), B (2,291)VHN 01:19982001V2-6E21 to V2-91712, 5
V3535Basic Block (91), A (19), B (425)VHN 02:19982001V3-3021 to V3-3644Manuscripts
V4785 (encoded)Extension CDefined as sources 1, 3, and 62009V4-4021 to V4-4B2F1, 3, 6
V041,028Extension EUnencoded V4 and V6 charactersProjectedV04-4022 to V04-583EV4: 1, 3, 6;
V6: 4, manuscripts
V5~900Proposed in 2001, but already coded2001None2, 5
Sources: Nguyễn Quang Hồng,[69] "Unibook Character Browser", Unicode,Inc., "Code Charts – CJK Ext. E" (N4358-A).[70]

Characters were extracted from the following sources:

  1. Hoàng Triều Ân, Tự điển chữ Nôm Tày [Nom of the Tay People], 2003.
  2. Institute of Linguistics, Bảng tra chữ Nôm [Nom Index], Hanoi, 1976.
  3. Nguyễn Quang Hồng, editor, Tự điển chữ Nôm [Nom Dictionary], 2006.
  4. Father Trần Văn Kiệm, Giúp đọc Nôm và Hán Việt [Help with Nom and Sino-Vietnamese], 2004.
  5. Vũ Văn Kính & Nguyễn Quang Xỷ, Tự điển chữ Nôm [Nom Dictionary], Saigon, 1971.
  6. Vũ Văn Kính, Bảng tra chữ Nôm miền Nam [Table of Nom in the South], 1994.
  7. Vũ Văn Kính, Bảng tra chữ Nôm sau thế kỷ XVII [Table of Nom After the 17th Century], 1994.
  8. Vũ Văn Kính, Đại tự điển chữ Nôm [Great Nom Dictionary], 1999.
  9. Nguyễn Văn Huyên, Góp phần nghiên cứu văn hoá Việt Nam [Contributions to the Study of Vietnamese Culture], 1995.[69]

The V2, V3, and V4 proposals were developed by a group at the Han-Nom Research Institute led by Nguyễn Quang Hồng.[69] V4, developed in 2001, includes over 400 ideograms formerly used by the Tay people of northern Vietnam.[69] This allows the Tay language to get its own registration code.[69] V5 is a set of about 900 characters proposed in 2001.[69] As these characters were already part of Unicode, the IRG concluded that they could not be edited and no Vietnamese code was added.[69] (This is despite the fact that national codes were added retroactively for version 3.0 in 1999.) The Nom Na Group, led by Ngô Thanh Nhàn, published a set of nearly 20,000 Nom characters in 2005.[71] This set includes both the characters proposed earlier and a large group of additional characters referred to as "V6".[69] These are mainly Han characters from Trần Văn Kiệm's dictionary which were already assigned code points. Character readings were determined manually by Hồng's group, while Nhàn's group developed software for this purpose.[72] The work of the two groups was integrated and published in 2008 as the Hán Nôm Coded Character Repertoire.[72]

CharacterCompositionNom readingHan VietEnglishCode pointV SourceOther sources
baba[emphatic final particle]U+5427V0-3122G0,J,KP,K,T
𠂉thươngthươngto loveU+50B7V1-4C22G1,J,KP,K,T
𠊛ngườingại ()peopleU+2029BV2-6E4FNone
suôngsongto become interested inU+391DV3-313DG3,KP,K,T
𫋙càngcường ()claw, pincerU+2B2D9V4-536FNone
𫡯giàutrào ()wealthU+2B86FV4-405ENone
Key: G0 = China (GB 2312); G1 = China (GB 12345); G3 = China (GB 7589); GHZ = Hanyu Da Zidian; J = Japan; KP= North Korea; K = South Korea; T = Taiwan.
Sources: Unihan Database, Vietnamese Nôm Preservation Foundation, "Code Charts – CJK Ext. E" (N4358-A).[70] The Han-Viet readings are from Hán Việt Từ Điển.

The characters that do not exist in Chinese have Han-Viet readings that are based on the characters given in parenthesis. The common character for càng () contains the radical (insects).[73] This radical is added redundantly to create 𫋙, a rare variation shown in the chart above. The character 𫡯 (giàu) is specific to the Tay people.[74] It has been part of the Unicode standard only since version 8.0 of June 2015, so there is still very little font and input method support for it. It is a variation of , the corresponding character in Vietnamese.[75]

See also


  1. The character is part of the proposed set for Extension E. See "Code Charts - CJK Ext. E", (N4358-A), JTC1/SC2/WG2, Oct. 10, 2012, p. 5. The V Source code is V04-5055.
  2. The character 媄 is also used in Chinese as an alternate form of 美 "beautiful".


  1. Nguyễn, Khuê (2009). Chữ Nôm: cơ sở và nâng cao. Nhà xuất bản Đại học Quốc gia Thành phố Hồ Chí Minh. p. 5.
  2. "Chữ-nôm script". Omniglot.
  3. Nguyễn, Tri Tài (2002). Giáo trình tiếng Hán. Tập I: Cơ sở. Nhà xuất bản Đại học Quốc gia Thành phố Hồ Chí Minh. p. 5.
  4. Nguyễn, Tài Cẩn (1995). Giáo trình lịch sử ngữ âm tiếng Việt (sơ thảo). Nhà xuất bản Giáo dục. p. 47.
  5. Nguyễn, Khuê (2009). Chữ Nôm: cơ sở và nâng cao. Nhà xuất bản Đại học Quốc gia Thành phố Hồ Chí Minh. pp. 5, 215.
  6. Vũ, Văn Kính (2005). Đại tự điển chữ Nôm. Nhà xuất bản Văn nghệ Thành phố Hồ Chí Minh. pp. 293, 899.
  7. Nguyễn, Hữu Vinh; Đặng, Thế Kiệt; Nguyễn, Doãn Vượng; Lê, Văn Đặng; Nguyễn, Văn Sâm; Nguyễn, Ngọc Bích; Trần, Uyên Thi (2009). Tự điển chữ Nôm trích dẫn. Viện Việt-học. pp. 248, 249, 866.
  8. Nguyễn, Tài Cẩn (2001). Nguồn gốc và quá trình hình thành cách đọc Hán Việt. Nhà xuất bản Đại học quốc gia Hà Nội. p. 16.
  9. Hội Khai-trí tiến-đức (1954). Việt-nam tự-điển. Văn Mới. pp. 141, 228.
  10. Đào, Duy Anh (2005). Hán-Việt từ-điển giản yếu. Nhà xuất bản Văn hoá Thông tin. p. 281.
  11. Hội Khai-trí tiến-đức (1954). Việt-nam tự-điển. Văn Mới. p. 228.
  12. Đào, Duy Anh (2005). Hán-Việt từ-điển giản yếu. Nhà xuất bản Văn hoá Thông tin. pp. 281, 900.
  13. Trần, Văn Chánh (January 2012). "Tản mạn kinh nghiệm học chữ Hán cổ". Suối Nguồn, tập 3&4. Nhà xuất bản Tổng hợp Thành phố Hồ Chí Minh: 82.
  14. Asian research trends: a humanities and social science review – No 8 to 10 – Page 140 Yunesuko Higashi Ajia Bunka Kenkyū Sentā (Tokyo, Japan) – 1998 "Most of the source materials from premodern Vietnam are written in Chinese, obviously using Chinese characters; however, a portion of the literary genre is written in Vietnamese, using chu nom. Therefore, han nom is the term designating the whole body of premodern written materials.."
  15. Vietnam Courier 1984 Vol20/21 Page 63 "Altogether about 15,000 books in Han, Nom and Han—Nom have been collected. These books include royal certificates granted to deities, stories and records of deities, clan histories, family genealogies, records of cutsoms, land registers, ..."
  16. Khắc Mạnh Trịnh, Nghiên cứu chữ Nôm: Kỷ yếu Hội nghị Quốc tế về chữ Nôm Viện nghiên cứu Hán Nôm (Vietnam), Vietnamese Nôm Preservation Foundation – 2006 "The Di sản Hán Nôm notes 366 entries which are solely on either medicine or pharmacy; of these 186 are written in Chinese, 50 in Nôm, and 130 in a mixture of the two scripts. Many of these entries ... Vietnam were written in either Nôm or Hán-Nôm rather than in 'pure' Chinese. My initial impression was that the percentage of texts written in Nôm was even higher. This is because for the particular medical subject I wished to investigate-smallpox-the percentage of texts written in Nom or Hán-Nôm is even higher than is the percentage of texts in Nôm and Hán-Nôm for general medical and pharmaceutical .."
  17. Wynn Wilcox Vietnam and the West: New Approaches 2010- Page 31 "At least one Buddhist text, the Cổ Châu Pháp Vân phật bản hạnh ngữ lục (CCPVP), preserves a story in Hán script about the early years of Buddhist influence in Vietnam and gives a parallel Nôm translation."
  18. Hannas 1997, pp. 78–79, 82.
  19. Marr 1984, p. 141: "Because the Chinese characters were pronounced according to Vietnamese preferences, and because certain stylistic modifications occurred over time, later scholars came to refer to a hybrid "Sino-Vietnamese" (Han-Viet) language. However, there would seem to be no more justification for this term than for a fifteenth-century "Latin-English" versus the Latin written contemporaneously in Rome."
  20. Marr 1984, p. 141.
  21. DeFrancis 1977, pp. 32, 38.
  22. DeFrancis 1977, pp. 21–23.
  23. Keith Weller Taylor The Birth of Vietnam 1976 – Page 220 "The earliest example of Vietnamese character writing, as we have noted earlier, is for the words bo and cai in the posthumous title given to Phung Hung. Although Vietnamese character writing was eventually developed for literary purposes"
  24. DeFrancis 1977, p. 23.
  25. Laurence C. Thompson A Vietnamese Reference Grammar 1987 Page 53 "This stele at Ho-thành-sơn is the earliest irrefutable piece of evidence of this writing system, which is called in Vietnamese chữ nôm (chu 'written word', nom 'popular language', probably ultimately related to nam 'south'-note that the ..."
  26. (in Vietnamese) Trần Nhân Tông, Cư trần lạc đạo phú
  27. "Reexamining the Reforms of Hồ Quý Ly 600 years ago"
  28. Hannas 1997, p. 83: "An exception was during the brief Hồ dynasty (1400–07), when Chinese was abolished and chữ Nôm became the official script, but the subsequent Chinese invasion and twenty-year occupation put an end to that (Helmut Martin 1982:34)."
  29. Mark W. McLeod, Thi Dieu Nguyen Culture and Customs of Vietnam 2001 Page 68 – "In part because of the ravages of the Ming occupation — the invaders destroyed or removed many Viet texts and the blocks for printing them — the earliest body of nom texts that we have dates from the early post-occupation era ..."
  30. Mark W. McLeod, Thi Dieu Nguyen, Culture and Customs of Vietnam, Greenwood Publishing Group, 2001, p. 68.
  31. Viết Luân Chu, Thanh Hóa, thế và lực mới trong thế kỷ XXI, 2003, p. 52
  32. Phan, John (2013). "Chữ Nôm and the Taming of the South: A Bilingual Defense for Vernacular Writing in the Chỉ Nam Ngọc Âm Giải Nghĩa". Journal of Vietnamese Studies. Oakland, California: University of California Press. 8 (1): 1. doi:10.1525/vs.2013.8.1.1. JSTOR 10.1525/vs.2013.8.1.1.
  33. B. N. Ngô "The Vietnamese Language Learning Framework" – Journal of Southeast Asian Language and Teaching, 2001 "... to a word, is most frequently represented by combining two Chinese characters, one of which indicates the sound and the other the meaning. From the fifteenth to the nineteenth century many major works of Vietnamese poetry were composed in chữ nôm, including Truyện Kiều"
  34. Hannas 1997, p. 78.
  35. Marr 1984, p. 142.
  36. DeFrancis 1977, pp. 44-46.
  37. Taberd, J.L., Dictionarium Anamitico-Latinum Archived 2013-06-26 at the Wayback Machine, 1838. This is a revision of a dictionary by Pierre-Joseph Pigneau de Béhain compiled in 1772–1773 and reprinted in 1884.
  38. Quyen Vuong Dinh, Văn bản quản lý nhà nước và công tác công văn, giấy tờ thời phong kiến Việt Nam, 2002, p. 50. The decree is entitled, Xin khoan dung Quốc Âm ("Please respect the national voice.")
  39. Phan Châu Trinh, "Monarchy and Democracy", Phan Châu Trinh and His Political Writings, SEAP Publications, 2009, ISBN 978-0-87727-749-1, p. 126. This is a translation of a lecture Chau gave in Saigon in 1925. "Even at this moment, the so-called "Confucian scholars (i.e. those who have studied Chinese characters, and in particular, those who have passed the degrees of cử nhân [bachelor] and tiến sĩ [doctorate]) do not know anything, I am sure, of Confucianism. Yet every time they open their mouths they use Confucianism to attack modern civilization – a civilization they do not comprehend even a tiny bit."
  40. (in Vietnamese) Phùng Thành Chủng, "Hướng tới 1000 năm Thăng Long-Hà Nội", November 12, 2009.
  41. DeFrancis 1977, p. 179.
  42. Cordier, Georges (1935), Les trois écritures utilisées en Annam: chu-nho, chu-nom et quoc-ngu (conférence faite à l'Ecole Coloniale, à Paris, le 28 mars 1925), Bulletin de la Société d'Enseignement Mutuel du Tonkin 15: 121.
  43. Đại Việt sử ký tiệp lục tổng tự, NLVNPF-0105 R.2254.
  44. Xavier Guillaume La Terre du Dragon Tome 2 – Page 59 "Elle comprenait en général un village principal (Xa) et les hameaux environnants (Làng). Le village viêtnamien possédait alors deux noms : un nom courant ou vulgaire (Tên Nôm) et un nom littéraire réservé à l'administration (Tên Chu)."
  45. The Columbia History of Chinese Literature -Victor H. Mair – 2012 Page 1097 -"Chinese vocabulary was largely kept in place even in poetic writings in Vietnamese using chu nom (adapted from the sinographs) phonetics. Chinese poetic forms could be maintained without the radical restructuring required by translation to a foreign syntax required in Japan and Korea.
  46. The Vietnamese novel in French: a literary response to colonialism -Jack Andrew Yeager, University of New Hampshire – 1987 Page 30 "Nom would eventually free itself of the influence of Chinese syntax and, with the gradual hardening of Confucian philosophy, become more important than Chinese for literary production in Viet Nam. By the eighteenth century, important ..."
  47. Marr 1984, pp. 141–142: "By the same token, some women developed word skills to the point where they could outmatch any male participants — much to the delight of their peers.9 Partly as a means to capture Vietnamese folklore in writing, the literati gradually improvised a separate ideographic system to accord with the sounds and syntax of the spoken language.10 known subsequently as nom, this unique Vietnamese script unfortunately remained even more unwieldy than the Chinese from which it was spawned. Unlike Japanese kana or Korean Hangul/no process of character simplification that resulted in a basic set of phonemes or syllables. Some of the problem lay in the tonal and nonagglutinative nature of Vietnamese as contrasted with Japanese or Korean.11 More important, however, was the attitude of most Vietnamese literati, who continued to regard Chinese as the ultimate in civilized communication and thus considered nom a form of recreation."
  48. Hannas 1997, pp. 80–81.
  49. Pulleyblank 1991, p. 371.
  50. Pulleyblank 1991, p. 32.
  51. Pulleyblank 1991, p. 311.
  52. is a visual approximation. The cá' and nháy marks will be added to the Ideographic Symbols and Punctuation in Unicode 13.0.
  53. Collins, Lee; Ngô Thanh Nhàn (6 November 2017). "Proposal to Encode Two Vietnamese Alternate Reading Marks" (PDF).
  54. Pulleyblank 1991, p. 218.
  55. Hannas 1997, p. 80.
  56. Hannas 1997, p. 79.
  57. Hannas 1997, p. 81.
  58. Nguyễn, Khuê (2009). Chữ Nôm: cơ sở và nâng cao. Nhà xuất bản Đại học Quốc gia Thành phố Hồ Chí Minh. p. 63.
  59. Nguyễn, Khuê (2009). Chữ Nôm: cơ sở và nâng cao. Nhà xuất bản Đại học Quốc gia Thành phố Hồ Chí Minh. p. 56.
  60. Vũ, Văn Kính (2005). Đại tự điển chữ Nôm. Nhà xuất bản Văn nghệ Thành phố Hồ Chí Minh. p. 838.
  61. Marr 1984, pp. 141–142: "Known subsequently as nom, this unique Vietnamese script unfortunately remained even more unwieldy than the Chinese from which it was spawned. Unlike Japanese kana or Korean hangul, there was no process of character simplification that resulted in a basic set of phonemes or syllables."
  62. Marr 1984, p. 142: "More important, however, was the attitude of most Vietnamese literati, who continued to regard Chinese as the ultimate in civilized communication and thus considered nom a form of recreation...Meanwhile, the minority of the literati who took nom writing seriously had to be careful not to offend the fraternity or be accused of subversion through circulating 'vulgar' texts."
  63. Comparison of Character Sets Archived 2013-06-16 at the Wayback Machine,
  64. DeFrancis 1977, pp. 101-105.
  65. 標準化:介紹 – 韋那威箕(VI NA UY KI)・委班復生漢喃越南
  66. 標準化:音節通常 – 韋那威箕(VI NA UY KI)・委班復生漢喃越南
  67. Luong Van Phan, "Country Report on Current Status and Issues of e-government Vietnam – Requirements for Documentation Standards". The character list for the 1993 standard is given in Nôm Proper Code Table: Version 2.1 by Ngô Thanh Nhàn.
  68. "Han Unification History", The Unicode Standard, Version 5.0 (2006).
  69. (in Vietnamese) Nguyễn Quang Hồng, "Giới thiệu Kho chữ Hán Nôm mã hoá" [Hán Nôm Coded Character Repertoire Introduction], Vietnamese Nôm Preservation Foundation.
  70. "Code Charts - CJK Ext. E", (N4358-A), JTC1/SC2/WG2, Oct. 10, 2012.
  71. Thanh Nhàn Ngô, Manual, the Nôm Na Coded Character Set, Nôm Na Group, Hanoi, 2005. The set contains 19,981 characters.
  72. Institute of Hán-Nôm Studies and Vietnamese Nôm Preservation Foundation, Kho Chữ Hán Nôm Mã Hoá [Hán Nôm Coded Character Repertoire] (2008).
  73. (in Vietnamese) Trần Văn Kiệm, Giúp đọc Nôm và Hán Việt [Help with Nom and Sino-Vietnamese], 2004, "Entry càng", p. 290.
  74. Hoàng Triều Ân, Tự điển chữ Nôm Tày [Nom of the Tay People], 2003, p. 178.
  75. Detailed information: V+63830", Vietnamese Nôm Preservation Foundation.
    "List of Unicode Radicals", VNPF.
    Kiệm, 2004, p. 424, "Entry giàu."
    Entry giàu",
Works cited
  • DeFrancis, John (1977), Colonialism and language policy in Viet Nam, Mouton, ISBN 978-90-279-7643-7.
  • Hannas, Wm. C. (1997), Asia's Orthographic Dilemma, University of Hawaii Press, ISBN 978-0-8248-1892-0.
  • Marr, David G. (1984), Vietnamese Tradition on Trial, 1920-1945, University of California Press, ISBN 978-0-520-90744-7.
  • Pulleyblank, Edwin George (1991), Lexicon of reconstructed pronunciation in early Middle Chinese, late Middle Chinese, and early Mandarin, Vancouver: University of British Columbia Press, ISBN 978-0-7748-0366-3.

Further reading

  • Chʻen, Ching-ho (n. d.). A Collection of Chữ Nôm Scripts with Pronunciation in Quốc-Ngữ. Tokyo: Keiô University.
  • Nguyễn, Đình Hoà (2001). Chuyên Khảo Về Chữ Nôm = Monograph on Nôm Characters. Westminster, California: Institute of Vietnamese Studies, Viet-Hoc Pub. Dept.. ISBN 0-9716296-0-9
  • Nguyễn, N. B. (1984). The State of Chữ Nôm Studies: The Demotic Script of Vietnam. Vietnamese Studies Papers. [Fairfax, Virginia]: Indochina Institute, George Mason University.
  • O'Harrow, S. (1977). A Short Bibliography of Sources on "Chữ-Nôm". Honolulu: Asia Collection, University of Hawaii.
  • Schneider, Paul 1992. Dictionnaire Historique Des Idéogrammes Vietnamiens / (licencié en droit Nice, France : Université de Nice-Sophia Antipolis, R.I.A.S.E.M.)
  • Zhou Youguang 周有光 (1998). Bijiao wenzi xue chutan (比較文字学初探 "A Comparative Study of Writing Systems"). Beijing: Yuwen chubanshe.


There are a number of software tools that can produce chữ Nôm characters simply by typing Vietnamese words in quốc ngữ:

  • HanNomIME, a Windows-based Vietnamese keyboard driver that supports Hán characters and chữ Nôm.
  • Vietnamese Keyboard Set which enables chữ Nôm and Hán typing on Mac OS X.
  • WinVNKey, a Windows-based Vietnamese multilingual keyboard driver that supports typing chữ Nôm in addition to Traditional and Simplified Chinese.
  • Online Editor, a browser-based editor for typing chữ Nôm.

Other entry methods:


Chữ Nôm fonts include:

  • Hanamin B – Japanese font supporting nearly 90,000 characters, including those in Unicode CJK Extension C.
  • VietUnicode Han Nom Font Set – Two open source TrueType fonts including Unicode CJK Extensions A and B.
  • NomNaTongLight – TrueType font, created by the Vietnamese Nôm Preservation Foundation, based on characters found in traditional Vietnamese wood-block prints.
  • Mojikyo
  • Han Nom Gothic – A sans-serif font for Chu Han Nom.
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