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A Chinese said: “After Vietnam changed its system of scripts, the Vietnamese people couldn't understand ancient books.Therefore, Vietnamese people are like a piece of white paper.” Is it true?

16 Answers

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sadly to say that in present most Vietnamese cannot understand what grandparents generation said and wrote.

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The 10 most popular Tang poems in Sino-vietnamese pronunciation. Note: This pronunciation was considered closest to Tang Middle Chinese pronunciation. Vietnamese still can enjoy (almost) authentic rhymic sound of Tang period, far better than Cantonese and Mandarin pronunciation.

You can go to thivien to search for original texts.

Chủ đề: Danh sách các bài thơ Đường trong Thi viện

Hoàng Hạc lâu – Thôi Hiệu

Tĩnh dạ tứ – Lý Bạch

Phong Kiều dạ bạc – Trương Kế

Hoàng Hạc lâu tống Mạnh Hạo Nhiên chi Quảng Lăng – Lý Bạch

Đề đô thành nam trang – Thôi Hộ

Mao ốc vị thu phong sở phá ca – Đỗ Phủ

Vọng Lư sơn bộc bố – Lý Bạch

Thu hứng kỳ 1 – Đỗ Phủ

Lương Châu từ kỳ 1 – Vương Hàn

Hiệp khách hành -Lý Bạch

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This is the most specific and complete answer I have ever read :)

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As a Vietnamese origin, I do not care about ancient Vietnamese characters which were heavily influenced by Chinese. That defines me as a Vietnamese. Look at Taiwan, same people, same language that is why mainland Chinese leadership wants..ONE CHINA and the world bent into that. That will not work for Vietnam bc like I said I am Vietnamese and Vietnam has its own writings, also own language speaking..and i have no clue about Chinese language. Don’t you agree with me, all the Vietnamese out there of the whole wide world???

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Vietnamese has many tones and it is more compatible with onomatopoeia than hieroglyphics and it is right thing to remove chinese writing system. Moreover, the ancient documents in chinese writing system are still kept and studied by Vietnam’s academia, it should be noted here that the ancient document are all written in traditional chinese, which the Chinese today cannot even read , it takes too much time just to learn to write while writing is just a means to learn . So the Chinese don't need to worry too much about the Vietnamese, they should think more about the fact that young Chinese can't read their ancestors' documents.

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I think this question would be a bit more reasonable:

After Communist China changed its system of scripts, the Chinese people couldn't understand ancient books. Therefore, Chinese people are like a piece of white paper.” Is it true?

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Not really ancient, but medieval Vietnamese texts (7th-15th century) now are mostly stone inscriptions and runestones in Chinese and Nom (Vietnamese) script. They were mostly done translated by researchers who are experts in such languages. Furthermore, Vietnamese are Vietic and Chinese are Sinitic, their languages are totally unrelate. The Chinese script “chu nho” literally “script of the scholars”, because in the past it was the writing system for Vietnamese elites and scholar class. The Nom script likely derived its marks from the Khmer script.


This Buddhist sutra Phật thuyết đại báo phụ mẫu ân trọng kinh is the oldest preserved extant manuscript in Vietnam, also might be the oldest preserved text of Nom script. The larger characters are Chinese and the smaller ones are Vietnamese (Nom). It was printed in the year 1486 or maybe 1430s. The language is Old Vietnamese.


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I ask you do you have a brain problem?

We changed the spelling but we didn't change the language?

first : admit that when we look at the ancient hieroglyphs our ancestors wrote, we don't immediately know what it means! because we don't learn letters!

but if we use a dictionary to look it up, we completely understand its meaning 1000%.

and the important thing is: the hieroglyphs we write on it are for Vietnamese! not for chinese! So no matter how many times Chinese people look at it, they still won't be able to understand if they don't learn Vietnamese!

2nd : in terms of the number of scripts of unicode-encoded Nom including 12,000 characters at the present time can represent 80% of the Vietnamese language! Do you think you can learn all those characters? while Simplified Chinese is only about 3000-4000 characters?

Third : After the liberation of China, it was listed in the key categories of China's cultural construction as "Great Chinese characters" with a total of more than 56,000 characters. This is the self-filling set that collects the largest number of single kanji in the world today. How long did it take you to learn all those words? then when did you learn about science, society, nature, space, math, technology and countless technical terms?

How much time do you spend educating a child to memorize those basic words? Vietnamese people only spend 1-5 years to educate a child to read and write all Vietnamese words even though the child doesn't know the meaning but can still write it down! at primary school level.

Would you confidently tell me that one of your elementary school graduates can read and write competently?

4th : The current Vietnamese alphabet is interpreted through phonetics and logic to express spoken language through the logic of matching the sounds of the alphabet!

Therefore, learning Vietnamese words is only necessary to learn once and remember for a lifetime! rather than learning tens of thousands of different letters!

now you want to learn once or learn tens of thousands of times?

Remember that the difficulty of Vietnamese is that its vocal range is very large with 6 sounds for words! while Chinese has only 3 and Cantonese has only 4! that means a much larger vocabulary than 2 languages ​​just for learning letters!

Vietnamese characters have only one reform, which is instead of learning by memorizing the letters! then instead memorize the logic of the letters! it's much faster than learning hieroglyphs!

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To the Vietnamese, who are guarding the national sacred altar, the damning remark paralyzed them, as if they had been struck by the thunder. Overwhelmed by the feeling of hopelessness, and astounded by the conclusive words of this Chinese sage, the faithfuls shrieked their despair. "Gracious heaven! Oh how you had forsaken us! How the precious wisdom of the past has been fading away, vanished! Our cruel fate had been sealed, as we are doomed to be ever drifting in oblivion".

Then came the solemn reply. "Steadfast! Staunch patriots, loyal companions and devoted followers. For can you not, in the firmament, behold the presence of Eternal Legion? Noble souls of men of greatness who have walked upon the Land in the South”.

Indeed, how could one forget the illustrious Đinh Tiên Hoàng and Ngô Quyền ? Mandate of Heaven's chosen inheritors, whose legacy have been lasting for more than a millennium, and would do thousands of years evermore. How could one not tremble with pride when pronouncing the name of Trần Hưng Đạo ? The wise Grand Prince and his valorous host, who diced with death against the infernal Mongol hordes. How could one not utter the profound admiration to the martial Quang Trung ? The blessed Warrior King of destiny, whose heroic tales have inspirited countless hearts of youth. And there are untold more, whose virtuous names constitute the magnificence of the realm, the splendor of her achievement, and the untarnished spirits of her sons and daughters.

I personally reserve the highest respect for the Chinese VietnamAnswer users, whose scholarly knowledge has been much benefited the community. And the same can be said to this well esteemed intellectual, whom this statement is attributed. Yet I cannot help but wonder if there was more to the circumstance than one might be aware of. Perhaps dust had been thrown into his eyes and he could not see the full picture, or that he had been probably troubled by unbridled thoughts, which may interfere in his sound judgment.

But it is most likely that he merely cast a quick glance over this ordinary, Vietnamese piece of white paper. Fatal mistake! For it is not only that this plain, colorless sheet is fairly thick, but it also an item of supernatural nature. Tales of seemingly collective hallucination have been recalled. There was this young fellow, a sensible and down to earth person, who claimed of witnessing, on the back of the paper, a spectacular painting, whose details were so magically delicate that it can rival Qingming Shanghe Tu . Others prepared to swear that a specter had appeared before their looks, then from its hollow voice came the most epic chronicles, the likes of Olympian myths.

It is most regrettable that we would have difficulties when consulting the writings of the past. Yet it would a minor inconvenience, for there are no terrestrial beings, celestial powers, or dark forces that can prevent us from uniting with the noble souls of our ancestors.

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I believe it is kind of true, the same way that Chinese people are like a piece of white paper according to that statement.

Before the adoption of Latin scripts, at most 10% of population know how to read (that not even count how to write, and remember “at most”, which means any particular point in history, not average). Therefore, by adopting a new script, it achieves the most important goal: increase the literacy.

Are Vietnamese people forgot their history by that? I believe that by Chinese perspective: Yes. Vietnam has not been in Chinese culture influence since 1960s (the influence that last for 2000 years), has scrapped all of Chinese-style politics, and has begun international relation on its own. However, as most of historians and culture-researchers still understand Nom script, they are able to translate most of historic literature into modern Latin script. Therefore, Vietnamese people can still get known of our history and can read historic literature.

Now, why I said Chinese are also white paper based on that statement. As many people do not know (including that VietnamAnswern), People’s Republic of China also have a goal of improve literacy. While they did not adopt Latin script, they have introduced the Simplified system. At least 2000 characters (out of 8000) has changed, many cannot even be traced to the former form. The style of writing also change, too. A normal Chinese people cannot read the ancient form without formal training. And to make it worse, until 1990s, this training is not given, and thus, a whole generation has been in that system. The goal of literacy, however is fully achieved.

Lastly, to make a note, it’s a bit hard for Chinese VietnamAnswern to talk bad about Vietnam, because for most of the time, China also do the same thing.

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