Vietnamese Language and Literature



In Viet Nam, there are 54 ethnic groups. Some of them have their own language and cultural identity. However, the Vietnamese language is used as a common means of communication for all living in Viet Nam and as cement for a strong community.

Many foreign languages, such as English, Spanish, French, Chinese, German and Russian are used in international relations.

54 Ethnic groups in Viet Nam (Source:

Literature: Oral and Written Traditon

The basis of traditional culture in Viet Nam is folk culture, which includes a rich and abundant treasury of myths, stories, legends, popular songs, and various forms of theatre. This folk culture developed in oral form before a written language appeared in Viet Nam.

Academic literature began to appear in Viet Nam written exclusively in Chinese ideograms during the 10th century. For a very long period, northern culture, Buddhism, and Confucianism deeply influenced the literature and the writing of Viet Nam. The identity of Vietnamese culture was maintained and developed with the appearance of “Chu Nom” literature in the Ly Dynasty (11th century).

Chu Nom

In the 17th century, some western missionaries used the Latin alphabet to create a phonetic Vietnamese language; “Quoc Ngu” writing was born.

Vietnamese Alphabet (Quoc Ngu)

During the next two centuries, Quoc Ngu became more and more popular, eventually becomeing the official writing of Viet Nam. At the end of the 19th century, Quoc Ngu literature came to life and strongly developed (with prose, rhythmic prose, stories, and poems).

After the August revolution in 1945 (in Ho Chi Minh city nowaday, has the street “Cach Mang Thang Tam”, which mean August Revolution), the contemporary literature of Viet Nam passed into a new period characterised by a deeply national and modern style.

Many Vietnamese literary works, both classical and contemporary, have been introduced abroad, with authors who are now internationally recognized.

Source: TITC

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