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Vietnamese language, official language of Vietnam since 1954. Vietnamese is an Austroasiatic language related, albeit distantly, to Khmer and to some of the so-called 'tribal' languages of Eastern India. It is the first language of the majority of the Vietnamese population and has a considerable number of speakers not only in Southeast Asia but further afield, notably in the United States and in Australia. 


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Vietnamese was originally written with a Siniform (Chinese-like) script known as Chu-nom  or Nom . At first most Vietnamese literature was essentially Chinese in structure and vocabulary. Later literature developed a more Vietnamese style, but was still full of Chinese loan words. The greatest literary work in Vietnamese is Kim Van Kieu, the 'Tale of Kieu', a romance written by Nguyen-Du (1765-1820).


Chu-nom  was used until the 20th century. Courses in the Chu-nom  script were available at Ho Chi Minh University until 1993, and the script is still studied and taught at the Han-Nom Institute in Hanoi, which has recently published a dictionary of all the nôm characters.


During the 17th century, Roman Catholic missionaries introduced a Latin-based orthography for Vietnamese, Quốc Ngữ (national language),which has been used ever since. Until the early 20th century, Quốc Ngữ was used in parallel with Chu-nom. Today only Quốc Ngữ is used.


Language family





Writing style  

Latin (Vietnamese alphabet), Vietnamese Braille.


Number of speakers

About 82 million people mainly in Vietnam. Vietnamese speakers in the USA, China, Cambodia, France, Australia, Laos, Canada and a number of other countries.


Vietnamese language on websites

Vietnamese language on websites ranks on 22nd on its content available on net and it is 0.4% in terms of percentage.




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