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T

Temple
l U
University
i
it Center
C t ffor Vi
Vietnamese
t
Phil
Philosophy,
h C
Culture
lt
&S
Society
i t

Ap
presentation by
y L Mai Phngg & Ng
g Thanh Nhn,, Nm Studies
The pre-AAS Workshop
Vietnamese Identities sponsored by the Vietnam Studies Group
March 26
26, 2014,
2014 Weigley Room,
Room Gladfelter Hall,
Hall Temple University

C dit
Credits

Nm Studies is a research project of the Temple University Center for


Vietnamese Philosophy, Culture & Society.

The Basic

The term Nm will be used to mean Hn and Nm


ideograms used in Vietnam by the Vietnamese people.
These ideogram repertoire is read (or pronounced) in HnVit or as native Vietnamese proper, and understood in
Vi t
Vietnamese
contexts.
t t
Nm is used in poetry, theaters, songs, folk arts, stories,
family genealogy, medicine, politics, history, geography,
philosophy, linguistics, arithmetic, astrology, geography,
social interactions, for over a thousand years.
The term Nm studies is a Vietnamese studies based on
texts written in Nm.

Tam thin t gii m


Three thousand
[Hn] ideograms in
[Vietnamese]
tongue, 1831,

Hong
H triu
i tn

mo nin mnh thu


thng hon tn
san
san,
Ph Vn ng
tng bn. Copies
are found in
NLV HN R.193,
R.468 and R.493,
VHN Nc 190

Tam thin t
gii dch quc ng
ng,, 1915
Three thousand
ideograms
supplemented by
[Vietnamese latin]
national script,
47 pp
pp. 26 x 16 cm.
Liu
Vn ng tng
bn.

[1915] Duy Tn
t mo qu thu tn
thuyn. Copies are
found in NLV HN
R.1667; HN R.0102;
HN R.1915; HN
0737-0738.


Tam thin
t
Tam Thin T Gii m "Three thousand [Hn]
ideograms in [Vietnamese] tongue" was printed in the midautumn of 1831, Hong triu tn
mo nin mnh thu thng hon tn san, by
Kim
Ki M Hnh
H h D
D Ng
N Th Nhm.
Nh The
Th woodblocks
dbl k were
kept by Ph Vn ng tng bn.
Hn-Nm
Nm students.
This is one of the oldest textbooks for Hn
The surviving copies have suffered severe damage.
Today, the National Library of Vietnam has 3 copies stored
in its Hn-Nm collection, with the catalogue id R.193,
R.468 and R.493. The Institute of Hn Nm Studies has one
cop catalogue
copy,
catalog e id Nc 190.
190

Our
Our web presentation

In order to facilitate reading this work, we present a digital


copy of R.0468 of the National Library of Vietnam on the
website of the Center for Vietnamese Philosophy, Culture
& Society at Temple University.
W also
We
l include
i l d a page-by-page,
b
id
ideogram-by-ideogram
b id
transcription in UniHan 6.0.0, and their corresponding
romanized Vietnamese quc ng transliteration.
http://vietcenter.temple.edu/nlv/nomcats.php

At the first
look
f
Tam Thin T Gii m (TTTG) Three

thousand [Hn] ideograms in [Vietnamese] tongue


tongue is
organized like a modern dictionary, with a clearly
identifiable entryy blocks.
Each entry has a head entry, which is a Hn ideogram
(that has a Hn-Vit pronunciation) and a group of Nm
id
ideograms
off the
th same meaning.
i
One may say that TTTG helps students to gain basic
vocabulary as well as a systematic understanding of the
vocabulary,
ideograms in contrastive pairs, and their proper Hn-Vit
and corresponding Nm ideograms.

What is gii
m?

?

By the beginning of the XIXth Century, the Hn


ideograms used in Vietnam, borrowed from Chinese in the
VIth Century, had been used, and had gained native
Vietnamese pronunciation, i.e. Hn-Vit, distinct from the
Chi
Chinese
pronunciation.
i ti
Vietnamese and Chinese both underwent independent
language changes.
We say that the book teaches Hn ideograms, Hn-Vit
pronunciation and Vietnamese Nm ideograms with
Vietnamese proper pronunciation.
This is the reason for the title to retain gii m,
e posed in nati
exposed
nativee Vietnamese tongue.
tong e

A poetic textbook

TTTG is composed in four-syllable verses of two


contrastive entries.
The head of the entry, to be read aloud in Hn-Vit, is
secondary in the rhyme flow of the verses.
Th ffourth
The
th syllable
ll bl off one verse rhymes
h
with
ith the
th secondd
syllable of the next verseor vn lng waist rhyme.
The tone rhymes alternate a vn trc oblique
oblique tone
tone with
a vn bng level tone.
A level tone is either thanh ngang high level tone, or
thanh huyn low level tone. An oblique tone is one of
thanh sc high rising tone, thanh nng creaky tone,
th h ng creaky
thanh

k rising
i i tone,
t
andd thanh
th h hi low
l rising
ii
tone.

Th verses
The
Rhymed ideograms are shown in orange and light blue.

Thin: tri/gii heaven; a: t earth


c: ct to
to hoist
hoist;; Tn: cn remain
remain
t: con child; tn: chu/chu
grandchild
g
lc: su/su six; tam: ba three
gia: nh family;
family ; quc: nc country
country
tin: trc fore; hu: sau/su aft
1915

1831

...

Ng Th Nhm
Also spelled Ng Thi Nhim (17461803),
originally
g
y Hyy Don, with ppen names t Hin,
and later Hi Lng i thin s The Great
Zen Master of the Ocean Capacity, was a famous scholar
andd writer
it during
d i the
th reigns
i
off the
th Late
L t LTy
L T Sn
S
Dynasties.
Ng Th Nhm came from a learned family of the north,
north
son of Ng Th S, in T Thanh Oai Village, today's
Thanh Tr District of the city of H Ni.
He won the first prize in the regional royal examination in
1768 at 22, and shared the first prize in advanced academic
achievement
hi
t in
i the
th nextt roundd off regional
i l royall
examination in 1775 at 29.

Ng Th Nhm
After the royal examinations, he was appointed to the
Administrative Ministryy duringg the reign
g of LTrnh.
In 1778 at 32 he was promoted to high ranking official of
Kinh Bc and Thi Nguyn Provinces, when his father
assumedd the
th same rankk in
i Lng
L
S Province.
Sn
P i
In 1788 at 42, Ng Th Nhm became a mandarin for the
Ty Sn court.
court At the end of 1789,
1789 the Ty Sn
defeated the Chinese invasion. In 1790 at 44, Ng Th
Nhm was promoted to Minister of Defense. He headed an
envoy to China. After Emperor Quang Trung died in
1792, he resigned and began to write about Vietnamese
B ddhi
Buddhism.

Ng Th Nhm
After Emperor Gia Long defeated the Ty Sn
y
y Ng
g Th Nhm and many
y mandarins of the Ty
y
Dynasty,
Sn were whipped in Vn Miu The Temple of
Literature in 1803. Ng Th Nhm died from the
punishment.
ih
t
His major works include Trc Lm tng ch
nguyn thanh The
The Pure Sound of the Bamboo Forest Sect
Sect
(1798-1802)...
Cf. Mai Quc Lin, ch bin v kho lun. Ng Th Nhm:
Tc phm, tp I-III. Th Ho, Kiu Thu Hoch & Trn
Huy Hn (dch). Tp. H Ch Minh: Trung tm Nghin cu
Q hc
Quc
h & Nxb
N b Vn
V hc.
h 2001-2002.
2001 2002 16x24cm.
16 24
896pp.,
896
560pp. & 488pp.


:
: an overview
The book was printed from woodblocks with bamboo ash
black ink on d mulberryy paper.
p p
The book has 24 sheets, each sheet 30 cm x 26 cm, folded
in half into two pages, and stab bound by thread. The cover
i simply
is
i l a protector
t t sheet.
h t
The text was printed in block columns from top to bottom,
and the columns run from right to left.
left
Each page (half a sheet) has 6 columns, and each column
11 rows, as such, each page has 66 blocks (or entries).
We number each block, from #1 to #3,012. The first page is
the title page.


:
: an overview
The book starts on page 1b, with the first column
reserved for the original
g
title T hc ton
yu Essential Compilation For Self-Study. Thus, the
second page starts the first only 55 ideogram blocks,
while
hil the
th restt off the
th book
b k has
h 66 blocks
bl k per page, or
132 per sheet.


:
: an overview
Each ideogram block holds one
entry.
y Each entryy has one Hn
column on the left, and a Nm
gii m column on the right.

Item
It
155

hu
kh

It
Item
112

thng
g, hnh
m thng,

The Hn column has one single Hn ideogram, in bold


and large print,
print in Tng th or Song font
font, called the
head of the entry.
The Nm column holds the corresponding Vietnamese
Nm term (sometimes more than one ideogram). At
times, as a guide to the pronunciation of the Hn column,
another
th ideogram
id
is
i presented
t d preceded
d d by
b the
th wordd
m is pronounced as.


:
: an overview
We will use the sheet number, side a (on the right
of the sheet image) or side b (on the left of the
Item 1790
sheet image),
image) the column number and the cell
position, to locate an entry block in the book. For

example, entry #1790 of TTTG is located on


phc
sheet #15, side a, column #2 and cell #8. We write
li
"15a.2.8".
We present each entry exactly as found in the
original TTTG. Transliteration of the ideograms
into romanized Vietnamese quc ng is laid out
right below, from left to right. The transliteration of
pp
on the first line in bold,,
the head Hn block appears
followed by the transliteration of the Nm column.

Head off an entry


Item 1790

phc
li

Each entry in TTTG has one head of entry.


TTTG has 3,012 entries, with 3,012 Hn
ideograms as heads in bold. Thus, the title
Tam thin t 3,000 ideograms.
On
O page 15
15a, 12 heads
h d off entries
t i repeated,
t d but
b t only
l
8 are fully identical. 3 other entries are also
identical elsewhere,
elsewhere i.e.
i e items #568 = #1009,
#1009 items
#899 = 1607, and items #1458 = #2456.
TTTG thus actually has 3,001 distinct entries,
although among them, 19 pairs of entries have the
same heads, and show the same Hn ideograms but
with
ith different
diff
t corresponding
di Nm
N ideograms.
id

Nm
column off an entry
Item 155

hu
kh

Item 112

thng
thng,
m
th hnh
h h

The Nm column holds one or more Nm ideograms with


the same meaning. For example, entry #155.
It may be qualified by a Hn-Vit homophone, preceded by
m
is
i pronouncedd as. For
F example,
l entry
t #112
(2a.6.2), thng scallion, the Nm column on the right
has three ideograms, m thng, hnh is
is pronounced
like thng, [meaning] scallion.

Nm
column off an entry
Item 112

thng
m thng, hnh
I
Item
1644

lim
lim

There are 468 entries in the book using this


form of presentation. The students thus
l
learn
the
h extra 468 Hn-Vit
H Vi ideograms,
id
as
homophones.
TTTG has 756 entries where the head
Hn and the Nm ideograms are identical,
or 25% of all the entries. For example,
p ,
Head ideogram lim ladys vanity case;
trousseau in entry #1644 (14a.1.5), is
id i l to the
identical
h Nm
N column
l
lim.
l Note
N
that Tam Thin T by on Trung Cn
prints lim: hp gng mirror
mirror
box instead.

A textual analysis
A textual analysis of TTTG is shown 5 different tables:
1. Ideograms
g
and their frequencies
q
of occurrences: a sorted
list of all ideograms in the book.
2. Inverse: Quc ng readings and their frequencies of
occurrences, which
hi h exposes quc
ng
(or
( phonetic)
h ti )
dimension.
3 Ideograms sorted by their classifiers (usually called b
3.
radicals), which exposes the classification dimension.
4. Direct borrowing: Entries with identical Hn and Nm
ideograms. There are 763 entries, where each has the same
Nm and Hn ideograms.
5 Duplicate
5.
D li t heads
h d off entries:
t i there
th are 30 rows, andd where
h
the duplicate entries occur.

Ideograms vs. sounds


TTTG has
Length:
g Total number of ideograms,
g
7,614, with 7,697
quc ng readings.
Vocabulary: Total number of unique ideograms, 4,214,
with
ith only
l 2,587
2 587 unique
i
quc
ng
readings
di
(as
( comparedd to
t
the entire 7,000 existing syllables in Vietnamese).
84 undecipherable ideograms,
ideograms we mark them each with a
.

Alternative spellings
TTTG has 29 ideograms for cy "plant; tree" with 5 different
spellings:
p
g
1 as in entry #37 (1b.5.4) :. This ideogram is
usually read as chi for "branch," as in entry #453 (5a.1.2).
8 as ,
as in
i entry #135 (2b.2.3)
(2b 2 3) :.
This
Thi ideogram
id
can also be read as hch or ht "seed" as in entry #1123
(10a 2 1)
(10a.2.1).
10 as , as in entry #813 (7b.3.10) :. This
ideogram can also be read as cc or gai for "thorn" as in
entry #689 (6b.4.7).
14 as , as in entry #1113 (10.1.2) :, and
1 as in
i entry
t #2519 (20b.2.11)
(20b 2 11) :.
This
Thi ideogram
id
is usually read hi the 12th earthly branch."

Vocabulary coverage
The book has useful ideograms coming from daily life in
Vietnam. It is a collection of essential vocabulary
y of about
3,000 Hn and over 1,200 Nm ideograms.
The book has 1,506 four syllable verses of two entries, with
antonymous
t
or complementary
l
t
meanings,
i
andd their
th i Nm
N
counterparts. It is like children's songs, which help
memorization.
memorization
This structure scattered ideograms of the same theme (or
class) all over the book. The pairing only keeps the
antonymous and complementary ideograms adjacent to
each other.

Vocabulary coverage
Some of the typical themes are family relationships, clans, body
parts, jewelry, religions, weather, directions, mountains and hills,
rivers, land and countries, administrative units, diseases, human
behaviors, feelings, smells, tastes, food, drinks, cakes, colors,
shapes music and dance
shapes,
dance, arts and crafts
crafts, number system,
system dates,
dates
calendar, stars, metals, animals, birds, insects, fish and aquatic
animals, trees and plants, roots, vegetation, fruits, flowers.
TTTG also
l provides
id an extensive
i list
li off human
h
behaviors,
b h i
grammatical particles, and reduplicative words specific to
g g
Vietnamese language.
One can also view specific ideograms related to building
quarters, social strata, house tools, clothing, and jewelry at
htt // i t t t
http://vietcenter.temple.edu/nlv/Forewords_TTTGA.html
l d / l /F
d TTTGA ht l

Vocabulary coverage
We provide frequencies of occurrences of TTTG
ideograms
g
sorted by
y their KangXi
g b radicals ((rather,
their classifiers).
The top frequencies of occurrences are thu 359,
th
h 336,
336 khu
kh 312,
312 tho
h 289,
289 mc
278,
278
nhn 207, tm 159, ngn 146, mch 141,
th 136,
136 xc 116,
116 nht 116,
116 kim 114,
114
n 110, ho 109, nhc 97, trng 94,
trc 90, min 84, and so on
The break down can be viewed at
http://vietcenter.temple.edu/nlv/tttgatexts.html#radicals

Family/clan
terms
/
: ng: ng grandfather, : b: b grandmother,
ph:
: pph: cha father, : mu: m mother, : p
v wife, : phu: chng husband, : b: bc older
uncle, : thc: ch younger uncle on the father side, :
cu:
cu
(younger)
(
) uncle
l on the
h mother
h side,
id :
c:

c aunt on the father side, : di: d aunt on the mother


side, : t: con child
side
child , : tn: chu grandchild
grandchild , :
tu: ch older sister, : t: ch older sister, :
huynh: anh older brother, : mui: em younger
sister, : : em younger brother, : l: em du
younger sister-in-law, : hn: du in-law, : t: r

son
i law,
in
l :
chu:
h l
lm r son-in-law,...

i l

Grammatical
Grammatical particles
: t: vy exclamatory particle, : da: vy affirmative
final particle, : tt: t surely; must, : gi: vy classical
final assertive particle
particle , : chi: i possessive
possessive particle
particle,
: do: bi because; caused by [maybe, ], : vu:
g in,, on,, at,, ggo to,, : ppht:chng
g negative
g
mark,, :
chng
vn: rng "say that, : h: vy particle of completed
action, : ni: bn hence, : h: vy exclamatory
particle, : mc: chng not;
particle
not; negative particle
particle , : th: v
more over; about to, : hip: hip vy ?, : ta:
m ta, y rather, somewhat, : h: sao how, : nhin:
song le however, : c: v vy thus; because, : yn:
vy thereupon; then, : ta: than i alas, : h: i!
interrogative or exclamatory final particle
particle , : phi: c ?
? , :
interrogative
trch: m trch, hi exclamatory particle, ...

Numbers
: bn: na half, : nh: hai two, : tam:
ba three, : ng:
g ng
g five, : lc: su six,
: thp: mt thp ten, : b: trm hundred,
: thin: nghn thousand, : vn: vn ten
th
thousand,
d ...
However, nht one, tht seven, and bt
eight
eight are missing
missing.
Other ideograms for numbers, like t four, cu and
chn "nine," c hundred thousand; hundred million,
triu million, t one thousand million, ... exist but
are not used for numbers.

Reduplication
There are two types of reduplication expressed in TTTG:
one by two different but phonetically related, and one by
the
h id
ideogram nhy.
h
The first type is expressed by two different ideograms, like
: ung: thong th leisurely
leisurely , : pht: phng
pht seemingly alike, : ho: mnh mang
p
, : nhn: nghi
g ngt
g foggy,
ggy , :
expansive,
ta: lng ling sauntering, []: khng: vi
vng hurry, : thc: thng tht utterly,
Th
The other
h 26 reduplication
d li i with
i h nhy,
h a marker
k off repetition
ii
of the preceding ideogram with known phonetic alternations.

Reduplication: nhy
Item 1644

thiu
m cu, ngi ngi

There are 26 Nm terms with nhy in


TTTG to indicate a repetition
p
of the
immediately preceded ideogram.
Entry #2449 (20a.2.7) has its Nm
counterpart, ,
literally
li ll ngi
i nhy,
h
lingering sadness. Thus, ideogram is
to be pronounced ngi,
ngi i.e.
i e repeating the
immediately preceding ideogram with
possible phonemic tone and coda harmony.

Spelling
rime :

?
S
Item 1644

llo
m bu, bu

In entry #1826 (15a.5.11), the head lo seems


to be formed by the spelling rime method, i.e.
lp
l qua thit,
h or
lo = l-(p)
l (p) + (q)-oa
(q) oa
In Tam Thin T 1959 byy on Trung
g Cn,, lo is
printed as , to signify fruits of the trees that
bear fruits. The corresponding ideogram in
TTTG was readd lo,
l matching
hi the
h spelling
lli rime
i
formation above. Edition Tam Thin T gii dch
quc ng 1915,
1915 at 29b.5.4,
29b 5 4 however
however, printed
bin: b melon.

The like: t
Item 1644

yu

m yu, yu

TTTG also uses t or t for the same.


For example,
p the Nm column of
entry #2430, 19b.6.10), literally reads in quc
ng as m yu, t, however, it is meant to be
readd m
yu,
yu.
That
Th is,
i ideogram
id
t in
i
this context signifies that the Nm ideogram
should read exactly as the previous one
one.

References
References
on Trung Cn
Tam Thin T . Tr c tng th, 143 Thm, Sign. 1959.
Peter du Ponceau
A Dissertation on the Nature and Character of the Chinese System of
Writing, in a letter to John Vaughan, Esq., American Philosophical
Society Philadelphia,
Society,
Philadelphia 1838.
1838
V danh
Tam Thin T Gii dch Quc Ng. Liu
Vn ng tng bn: [1915] Duy Tn t mo
qu thu tn thuyn. NLV HN R.1667; HN R.0102; HN R.1915; HN
0737-0738
Thiu Chu (1902-1954)
Hn Vit T in. H Ni, Nh xut bn uc Tu, 73 ph
Ri h d 815 pp. 1942.
Richaud.
1942

References
References
Ng Thanh Giang
i dch Hn-Nm trong tc phm Tam Thin T Gii m trn bnh din
cc n v ngn ng, Kho lun tt nghip, Khoa Ngn ng hc, i hc
Khoa hc X hi v Nhn vn. H Ni. 2002.
Ng Thanh Nhn
The syllabeme and patterns for word formation in Vietnamese,
Vietnamese Ph.D.
Ph D
thesis. New York University, 1984.
Cao Xun Huy, H Thc Minh, Lm Giang
Th vn Ng Th Nhm, Tp 1: Trc Lm tng ch nguyn thanh, Sch
tham kho Hn Nm. Ban Hn Nm, U ban Khoa hc X hi Vit
Nam. H Ni:
Nh xut bn Khoa hc
X hi.
1978. 322 pp
pp.
Vng Lc
An Nam dch ng "A glossary of Hn and An-nam Vocabulary:
I
Introduction
d i andd Notes."
N
"H
Hanoi:
i D
Danang P
Publishing
bli hi H
House, and
d Vi
Vietnam
Lexicography Center. 1995.

Thank you