Cantonese in Vietnam, reports from the field

Discussions on the Cantonese language.
amhoanna
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Cantonese in Vietnam, reports from the field

Postby amhoanna » Mon Jul 11, 2011 8:00 pm

1. This post is close kin to a series of posts over in the Hokkien forum entitled Hoklo in _________, reports from the field.
2. My impression is that Cantonese in Vietnam plays a role something like Spanish in the southwestern U.S., specifically in places like Santa Barbara and Santa Fe where Spanish speakers are not all disadvantaged economic migrants.
3. On my first trip to Vietnam a few years, I found that Cantonese didn't get you anywhere with most people in Vietnam. In fact, English was more useful in that sense than Canto. After several trips to VN, I'd say this still holds true.
4. But Cantonese speakers are everywhere in Vietnamese cities. They don't stay in one place and wall themselves off. They're scattered throughout the cities and some parts of the countryside. I get the feeling that I could find Cantonese speakers anywhere any time in Saigon if neces. by standing in the street and yelling in Cantonese. This is my experience in the Vietnamese diaspora too.
5. Sometimes, people will talk to me in Cantonese or, less commonly, Mandarin when they hear or guess that I'm one of the "People of the Boats" (nguoi tau). They always speak what seems to me to be native Cantonese, although in some cases their native language is not Canto. This is also my experience in the diaspora.
6. Sometimes in Saigon, people greet me with a "Lei hou ma" in the streets. This still really surprises me. This might be a testament to how widespread Cantonese is in Saigon and beyond.
7. At the Maco / Thienhau / Sea Goddess temple in Vungtau, the temple keeper approached me when I was reading a Chinese inscription. He spoke to me in Mandarin. Later I spoke to him in Cantonese. He turned out to be Cantonese. He didn't speak Teochew or Banlamese (Hokkien). I don't know if these two are spoken anymore in Vungtau.
8. It's common knowledge in Vietnam that VNese and Cantonese (the languages) have a lot in common. Many Vietnamese that don't speak Cantonese can speak a little anyway, or raise examples of words that are similar between the two languages. The VNese are generally unfamiliar with Teochew and Banlamese -- languages which in some ways are even more similar to VNese than Canton Cantonese is.
9. I've always thought that the VNese orthography was a great way to romanize languages such as Siamese Thai and Cantonese, but this doesn't seem to have caught on here. Most study materials sold in VN for Thai and Cantonese use incomplete and inconsistent romanization systems. Kind of ironic.
10. However, I did find a Cantonese self-study book in a bookstore teaching Cantonese using a phonetic system based on the Vietnamese orthography. The book displays kanji Cantonese, VNese translations, and romanized Cantonese in two forms -- one the Vietnamese-based one, the other Yale or one of the other commonly seen Cantonese romanizations. There are no languages anywhere between the covers besides Cantonese and Vietnamese. A map of the province of Kwongtung wraps around from the front cover to the back with all place names except the European ex-colonies in romanized Vietnamese. The dialog situations inside the book are based in Vietnamese places and situations, adding to the feeling that Cantonese isn't a foreign language, but rather just the second language of urban Vietnam. The Cantonese taught in the book is Canton-type Cantonese without a doubt, but doesn't seem to follow a Hong Kong standard, and some sentences seem to show VNese influence. The use of 有...冇 question structures with sentence-final 冇 is an example of a style of Cantonese common in "the countryside", but stigmatized and less heard in HK and Canton. This makes this book unique among all modern Cantonese teaching materials. The author discusses Cantonese in a sophisticated manner, even explaining to the reader that some Cantonese words have no kanji, and other words have semi-formal, non-classic kanji much like VN Nom.
11. It's interesting that the Tang literary layer of Vietnamese echoes colloquial Cantonese closely. Colloquial Cantonese expressions are often fully cognate with literary Vietnamese expressions having the same meaning.
12. It's interesting to consider that Hokkien, Teochew and Cantonese may've arrived in what's today southern Vietnam at roughly the same time as the Vietnamese language itself. When the Kinh Vietnamese -- basically a lost tribe of 唐人 Tong people -- were assimilating and pushing out the Khmers and the Cham, the Chinese were already on the scene.
13. Some places have different names in VNese vs Chinese. Vungtau is 頭頓 in Chinese, Taudan in Cantonese, with dan unrounded and rhyming with gan (literary 近) -- this is how the temple keeper said it. Ca Mau 金甌 is an interesting case. It seems possible that the VNese and the Cantonese "transcribed" a Cham or Khmer name into their own languages independently of each other, so that the VNese put the /m/ in the second syllable, and the Cantonese stuck it in the first. Whether the Cantonese were actually there that early is a good question. "Saigon" seems to have been transliterated into Chinese through the medium of Teochew or Hokkien. 西貢 is Saikong in either language, ... this loosely lines up with the VNese name in tone as well.
14. There are way more English speaking than Cantonese speaking Vietnamese. But Cantonese can be used to some extent to talk to Vietnamese that speak neither. This is a "communication of the heart", not "of the mind". It's the cadences, attitudes and emotions as well as etymological echoes that allow some level of communication between the languages even when one side doesn't understand the other on a verbal level.

Some more observations that don't tie in directly to Cantonese:

1. Reports of the Vietnamese having lost their links to some glorious past b/c they scrapped kanji ... have probably been overblown. While in Saigon U can barely turn around w/o seeing kanji -- and hangeul too -- there are towns where U can go block after block w/o seeing a single kanji. Yet the Vietnamese are surprisingly well versed in literary Chinese vocabulary, and use countless of these in their daily life.
2. Since the Vietnamese sound system tends to preserve literary Chinese phonological distinctions w/o creating too many homophones (a la Japanese, Mandarin, Korean), Vietnamese people are often able to understand everything about a literary Chinese etymon EXCEPT FOR how it's written in kanji. I wonder if this wasn't maybe the case throughout the Pearl Delta, for example, in the 19th century. E.g. my friends used an unfamiliar word "bat huu" when they were talking to me. As they explained it to me, I realized "bat huu" was 不朽. For them, this is just an everyday word. And these people don't have any kind of special background or training any language, including their own.
3. All bookstores here carry books that list out 3000 or 5000 or more kanji, usually in traditional form, along with their Vietnamese pronunciation and their colloquial Vietnamese equivalent -- in both kanji (mostly nom) and romanized Vietnamese. As somebody just pointed out to me, these books can help Sinophones learn Vietnamese fast.
4. I saw a book in a popular bookstore -- a Korean self-study material -- listing out Sino-Korean words in both hangeul and kanji along with their transcriptions in romanized Vietnamese. It was a pretty thick book, but in the entire book I didn't see colloquial Vietnamese equivalents being offered anywhere. The whole book only offered kanji and romanized Sino-Vietnamese to explain the Sino-Korean vocabulary. That this kind of book could sell in a popular (not specialist) bookstore ... speaks to how well Vietnamese people still know Sino-Vietnamese, so many years after switching to romanized writing. We could go as far as to say that the loss of kanji is mostly an aesthetic and political loss, b/c the VNese don't seem to have lost any awareness of the meanings of the Sino-Vietnamese etyma in their language.
5. It's interesting how scarce kanji are in Vietnam, outside of Saigon, compared to, say, any port city or town in Thailand, where kanji are all over the place everywhere. Yet the Vietnamese clearly identify with kanji in a way that Laos and Siamese do not. Yet although VNese identify with kanji in some deep-seated way, most of them can't read kanji and feel no urge to learn. On all these counts, the modern Vietnamese are probably very similar to pre-20th cen. Chinese peasants.

Just a big mixed bag of food for thought...

Mark Yong
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Re: Cantonese in Vietnam, reports from the field

Postby Mark Yong » Tue Jul 12, 2011 10:54 am

Hi, amhoanna,

Thanks for this detailed field report.

Throughout my residence in Australia, I have noticed a significant number of Vietnamese who speak fluent Cantonese. I used to attribute this to their intermingling with the Hong Kong migrant community in Australia. Your report certainly offers the possibility that they already spoke Cantonese even before coming to Australia.

Ah-bin
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Re: Cantonese in Vietnam, reports from the field

Postby Ah-bin » Tue Jul 12, 2011 12:07 pm

One of the things Vietnamese can no longer do is distinguish Chinese from Vietnamese written in Nôm, so now they have a portmanteau term "Hán Nôm", which seems to be official now. Most of the time they can't rad them, and sometimes in Hanoi you can see where they have repainted them on temples without knowing what they were writing and the shape has become warped so it is hard to see what the characters were.

I believe by the 3000 Kanji books you are referring to the Nhất Thiên Tự 一千字, Nhị Thiên Tự二千字, Tam Thiên Tự 三千字, and Ngũ Thiên Tự 五千字, these are not merely for the purpose of learning Characters, but also for the purpose of learning Nôm. These books were originally long rhymes that Vietnamese children would memorise for their basic education, but they have made modern versions of them with the Mandarin Pinyin and the Quốc Ngữ (Vietnamese Romanisation) transcription for each character. Children would learn all the concepts in pairs, so the two words would always be connected in their minds, e.g. tam 三 means ba.

I have met Vietnamese who know no characters at all, but know the first lines from the Nhất Thiên Tự 一千字

The Cantonese taught in the book is Canton-type Cantonese without a doubt, but doesn't seem to follow a Hong Kong standard, and some sentences seem to show VNese influence. The use of 有...冇 question structures with sentence-final 冇 is an example of a style of Cantonese common in "the countryside", but stigmatized and less heard in HK and Canton. This makes this book unique among all modern Cantonese teaching materials. The author discusses Cantonese in a sophisticated manner, even explaining to the reader that some Cantonese words have no kanji, and other words have semi-formal, non-classic kanji much like VN Nom.


I saw that Cantonese textbooks years ago in Hanoi, I believe the cover is yellow light blue and white coloured. Stupidly, I didn't buy it, and the next time I went to Hanoi it had been sold. I think the 有...冇 sentence is probably a reflection of change in HK and Canton, which has not happened in Vietnam.

I was also wondering whether they are saying "Lei hou ma" or "Nei hou ma", as I have also heard that Saigonese Cantonese is so conservative that they still distinguish between shaam 衫 and saam 三, a distinction that has passed out of use only within the last century in Canton.

I have never found any Cantonese speakers in Hanoi, sometimes if people were annoying me in English I would speak to them in Mandarin to get rid of them. Cantonese is spoken natively in the far north-east of the country. I have an old phrasebook for the Tho (now called Nung or Tay) language, with a column for Cantonese, which is named Nung! The Cantonese is romanised according to Vietnamese, but reflects the Kwong-sai pronunciation, which distiguishes saam 衫 from hlaam 三!

If you end up going through Nanning from Hanoi, you can use Cantonese in the older parts of the city and in the markets, even though children don't really speak it any more. Actually, you can use it in any city from Nanning to Canton, so long as it is on the main river system.

amhoanna
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Re: Cantonese in Vietnam, reports from the field

Postby amhoanna » Thu Jul 14, 2011 2:57 pm

Interesting!

I think maybe working from Canton Cantonese to Vietnamese is kind of ge2 xue1 sao1 yang3, trying to scratch your ankle w/o taking your boots off. And this is what some scholars do, or, worse, work with Vietnamese and Mandarin. Taking a good look at all the languages and dialects west and southwest of Canton, Sino- and non-, then looking at Vietnamese in that context, would probably be an eye-opener.

hokkien_learner
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Re: Cantonese in Vietnam, reports from the field

Postby hokkien_learner » Sun Aug 07, 2011 12:45 pm

amhoanna wrote:1. This post is close kin to a series of posts over in the Hokkien forum entitled Hoklo in 5. Sometimes, people will talk to me in Cantonese or, less commonly, Mandarin when they hear or guess that I'm one of the "People of the Boats" (nguoi tau). They always speak what seems to me to be native Cantonese, although in some cases their native language is not Canto. This is also my experience in the diaspora.


As a person, who was born in Cho Lon, I reckon everyone not to call us as Nguoi tau unless you want to pick a fight us :x . We always prefered us as Nguoi Hoa 華人 or to be more specific my family will prefer as Nguoi Tieu or 潮人 while other people prefer them as Nguoi Quang or 廣人.

Did you know that Saigon has always been under heavy influence of Cantonese and because of that influence, alot of Southern Vietnamese pronunciation is taken from Cantonese pronunciation. For example: Vietnam is the correct pronunciation in Vietnamese but in south they pronunciate as dzietnam because the cantonese pronunciate as yuet for Viet.

Yes there are alot of Cantonese and Teochew books and classes for people to learn in Saigon but unfortunately, I listened to Vietnamese speak Teochew and I cant get it at all but after listen for them to repeating 3 or 4 times then I get it :mrgreen:

Most of Chinese in Vietnam can speak Chinese language even though they never go to Chinese language school. Like me, I learn to write characters at the age of childhood at home :mrgreen:

Vietnamese is similar to Cantonese? Yes. Because Modern Vietnamese is Sino-Vietnamese Language if you want to put to exact term. 60% of Vietnamese words are from Cantonese.
Vietnam has 2 different traditional langauges. 1 is Han Viet (漢越語) and another one is Chu Nom but Chu nom is written in characters as well but Chu Nom also is considered a descendant of Han Language as well. For Example,
this 看 character is pronunciate as khan in Han Viet but now Vietnamese pronunciate as Thay which is from Chu nom very similar to Cantonese
Last edited by hokkien_learner on Sun Aug 07, 2011 1:14 pm, edited 1 time in total.

hokkien_learner
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Re: Cantonese in Vietnam, reports from the field

Postby hokkien_learner » Sun Aug 07, 2011 12:58 pm

I believe by the 3000 Kanji books you are referring to the Nhất Thiên Tự 一千字, Nhị Thiên Tự二千字, Tam Thiên Tự 三千字, and Ngũ Thiên Tự 五千字, these are not merely for the purpose of learning Characters, but also for the purpose of learning Nôm. These books were originally long rhymes that Vietnamese children would memorise for their basic education, but they have made modern versions of them with the Mandarin Pinyin and the Quốc Ngữ (Vietnamese Romanisation) transcription for each character. Children would learn all the concepts in pairs, so the two words would always be connected in their minds, e.g. tam 三 means ba.
.[/quote]

I am sorry but I have to correct you on some of your info, Ah Bin.
三 is Tam in HanViet.
and Ba is pronunciation for 3 in Chu nom and I will show you how to write chu Nom now.

If you write the word 巴 and 三 into one characters. Then you will have a Chu nom Character for 3. Remember 巴 must be on left and the bottom stroke of 巴 must be make longer to to the right so you can place 三 on top of that stroke.




That's how chu nom is :mrgreen:

amhoanna
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Re: Cantonese in Vietnam, reports from the field

Postby amhoanna » Sun Aug 07, 2011 10:11 pm

Found myself in a conversation with a local Cantonese speaker in the alley where I live the other day. This guy was in his 30s. Born, raised, lives and works in Cholon. Father is ethnic Canto, mother is Kinh. The word he used for Kinh was 安南人 Onlaamyan. (rest on the Canto forum)

He talked very fast and I could only understand 60 to 80% of what he was saying, but I barely noticed b/c I've been talking to people in mostly VNmese lately and only understanding 20-30%. :lol: I couldn't put a finger on it - his Cantonese was in some way different from "middle class" Canton, HK or KL Cantonese, but then so is the Cantonese spoken by a lot of blue-collar types everywhere, and I'd be hard pressed to understand more than 60-80% of their lingo too.

He didn't understand me when I referred to Cantonese as 白話 Paak-wa. I asked him how he learned Cantonese. He told me that basically all the Chinese in Cholon speak Cantonese. (Except I think he's referring to what we would call sinkheh on this forum.) Some areas are so heavily Cantonese-speaking that even pure Kinh speak it.

amhoanna
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Re: Cantonese in Vietnam, reports from the field

Postby amhoanna » Sun Aug 07, 2011 10:42 pm

Hail Hokkien Learner, well met once again. I've heard that 唐人 in Annam don't like to be called người Tàu. Why is that, exactly? Is it just b/c it sounds like "Boat People"? Or is there a deeper reason?

Personally, I will always identify as người Tàu, although I'll have to respect other people's wish not to be called that. For me, there's no other word in any language that captures my ethnic identity clean the way "người Tàu" does.

I don't like the word "người Hoa" and its equivalents b/c it seems to me that this is a word that was propagated first by the ROC and later the PRC as well - modern states with nationalist / ethno-chauvinist agendas. The word may've existed for a long time, but it seems that hardly anybody ever used it before ROC times. I will stand corrected if anyone can prove otherwise. Till then, should anybody call me người Hoa, I will correct them and say I am người Tàu instead.

I believe there's a grain of truth in what U say, that Vietnamese - Southern Vietnamese esp. - takes a lot of words from Cantonese. Technically, though, from what I know of the history, VNmese took a lot of words from ancient languages that may be deeply related to Cantonese (across time) - not from Cantonese itself. If U think about it, there are a lot of VNmese words, Sino- and otherwise, that actually sound more like their Teochew equivalents than their Cantonese equivalents. This is b/c modern VNmese, Cantonese, and Teochew didn't exist back then - they each evolved out of what was spoken back then.

There are some words that clearly come straight out of Cantonese, such as oành thanh = WONTONS and xì dầu = SOY SAUCE.

The linguistic history of what are today the Red River valley and the West River valley and that whole area in between (mostly Kwongsai 廣西), plus Hainam 海南, is tremendously interesting - much wilder than U would think just looking at modern-day Pearl Delta Cantonese.

The S VNmese pronunciation of "Viet" is not quite the same as "Country Cantonese" - the final is velar, and the vowel is a diphthong. Also, not all speakers have a /j/ initial. Std Cantonese with its rounded vowel is even farther off. But S VNmese /v/ in both of its incarnations definitely seems to be a local innovation. Who's to say, maybe contact with people speaking Teochew, Hokkien, Cantonese, Khmer or Cham brought it about.

It's cool that U've still got Vietnam and Saigon on your mind even though U've moved to Oz. If U want to become fluent in Hokkien, I'd suggest U immerse in a Hokkien-speaking environment when U have the time. Let us know if U need suggestions for where.
Last edited by amhoanna on Sun Aug 07, 2011 11:02 pm, edited 2 times in total.

amhoanna
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Re: Cantonese in Vietnam, reports from the field

Postby amhoanna » Sun Aug 07, 2011 10:47 pm

Here's a cool-looking forum on Cantonese:

http://tiengquangdong.com/index.phtml?/

(in VNmese)

U gotta love the forum tagline: 敢想敢做.

hokkien_learner
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Re: Cantonese in Vietnam, reports from the field

Postby hokkien_learner » Mon Aug 08, 2011 12:28 am

amhoanna wrote:Hail Hokkien Learner, well met once again. I've heard that 唐人 in Annam don't like to be called người Tàu. Why is that, exactly? Is it just b/c it sounds like "Boat People"? Or is there a deeper reason?

Personally, I will always identify as người Tàu, although I'll have to respect other people's wish not to be called that. For me, there's no other word in any language that captures my ethnic identity clean the way "người Tàu" does.

I don't like the word "người Hoa" and its equivalents b/c it seems to me that this is a word that was propagated first by the ROC and later the PRC as well - modern states with nationalist / ethno-chauvinist agendas. The word may've existed for a long time, but it seems that hardly anybody ever used it before ROC times. I will stand corrected if anyone can prove otherwise. Till then, should anybody call me người Hoa, I will correct them and say I am người Tàu instead.

I believe there's a grain of truth in what U say, that Vietnamese - Southern Vietnamese esp. - takes a lot of words from Cantonese. Technically, though, from what I know of the history, VNmese took a lot of words from ancient languages that may be deeply related to Cantonese (across time) - not from Cantonese itself. If U think about it, there are a lot of VNmese words, Sino- and otherwise, that actually sound more like their Teochew equivalents than their Cantonese equivalents. This is b/c modern VNmese, Cantonese, and Teochew didn't exist back then - they each evolved out of what was spoken back then.

There are some words that clearly come straight out of Cantonese, such as oành thanh = WONTONS and xì dầu = SOY SAUCE.

The linguistic history of what are today the Red River valley and the West River valley and that whole area in between (mostly Kwongsai 廣西), plus Hainam 海南, is tremendously interesting - much wilder than U would think just looking at modern-day Pearl Delta Cantonese.

The S VNmese pronunciation of "Viet" is not quite the same as "Country Cantonese" - the final is velar, and the vowel is a diphthong. Also, not all speakers have a /j/ initial. Std Cantonese with its rounded vowel is even farther off. But S VNmese /v/ in both of its incarnations definitely seems to be a local innovation. Who's to say, maybe contact with people speaking Teochew, Hokkien, Cantonese, Khmer or Cham brought it about.

It's cool that U've still got Vietnam and Saigon on your mind even though U've moved to Oz. If U want to become fluent in Hokkien, I'd suggest U immerse in a Hokkien-speaking environment when U have the time. Let us know if U need suggestions for where.



First of all, Let look at the meaning of Nguoi Tau.

Nguoi mean people or person. No problem with that.
About Tau, if you put in simple term. Yes it mean boat but if you put it into the exact meaning of Tau is. Look at below and I will explain:

Tau is Short term for Ba Tau or Do Ba Tau (another way and term to call Vietnamese Chinese in offensively meaning in Vietnam).
But Ba is short term for Ba Xao and Ba Xao in Vietnamese language mean liar.

Then we put all that, we Nguoi Tau could mean "the lying boat people" if you put it into the true meaning. The reason for this calling is because Vietnamese dont trust China so that term they are using to alert their local Viet fellow about our presence. Would you want people look at you and say "Look, a bunch of liars"?

About the language, I am not so sure but I was taught that North Vietnamese language is based on Chinese Tang Dynasty's education system while the south Vietnamese language is based on either Chinese Ming and Qing Dynasties's education system. Maybe I am wrong. Could be. Feel free to correct me.

hokkien_learner
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Re: Cantonese in Vietnam, reports from the field

Postby hokkien_learner » Mon Aug 08, 2011 12:36 am

amhoanna wrote:Here's a cool-looking forum on Cantonese:

http://tiengquangdong.com/index.phtml?/

(in VNmese)

U gotta love the forum tagline: 敢想敢做.


Sorry. I can say I am Vietnamese Chinese and so I am anti-Viet and I am also anti-Vietnamised Chinese people. So that forum is not for me and I am not gonna join them on that :oops:

amhoanna
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Re: Cantonese in Vietnam, reports from the field

Postby amhoanna » Mon Aug 08, 2011 4:00 pm

Sorry. I can say I am Vietnamese Chinese and so I am anti-Viet and I am also anti-Vietnamised Chinese people. So that forum is not for me and I am not gonna join them on that :oops:

I'm curious. Why are U anti-Viet?

Are U also against Anglicized Chinese people, or are U proud to be one? Perhaps this forum is not for U either and U're not gonna join us here?

About the language, I am not so sure but I was taught that North Vietnamese language is based on Chinese Tang Dynasty's education system while the south Vietnamese language is based on either Chinese Ming and Qing Dynasties's education system. Maybe I am wrong. Could be. Feel free to correct me.

Who "taught" you this? What do they mean by a language being based on an education system? If anything, both dialects seem to be pretty corroded in relation to the proto-language. I say this b/c some of the dialects in middle Vietnam seem to preserve a lot more distinctions than either N or S.

hokkien_learner
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Re: Cantonese in Vietnam, reports from the field

Postby hokkien_learner » Tue Aug 09, 2011 12:50 am

amhoanna wrote:
Sorry. I can say I am Vietnamese Chinese and so I am anti-Viet and I am also anti-Vietnamised Chinese people. So that forum is not for me and I am not gonna join them on that :oops:

I'm curious. Why are U anti-Viet?

Are U also against Anglicized Chinese people, or are U proud to be one? Perhaps this forum is not for U either and U're not gonna join us here?

About the language, I am not so sure but I was taught that North Vietnamese language is based on Chinese Tang Dynasty's education system while the south Vietnamese language is based on either Chinese Ming and Qing Dynasties's education system. Maybe I am wrong. Could be. Feel free to correct me.

Who "taught" you this? What do they mean by a language being based on an education system? If anything, both dialects seem to be pretty corroded in relation to the proto-language. I say this b/c some of the dialects in middle Vietnam seem to preserve a lot more distinctions than either N or S.



Make no mistakes.

Vietnamese Chinese people is people who still speak Chinese languages in Vietnam and still follow Chinese tradition and culture.
Vietnamised Chinese people is people who come from Chinese families but Cant speak Chinese at all and they proudly declare that they are Vietnamese people and denied that they have nothing to do with Chinese people and culture and they hate China. Furthermore, they usually follow the Vietnamese people to mock , make fun of us and our languages. in Vietnam, We used to call them Bon Mat Goc mean "People who forget about their own ancestor's tradition, root and culture".

I am anti-Viet because the way they been treating us is disgusting. They said they respect and friendly and always looking for close friendship with us but they always called us Nguoi Tau (even though they know it is offensive), they make fun of our language and tradition. They exterminated in Hanoi and Haiphong and masscred us Cho Lon many times before and they forcibly suppressed us many times in the past and if something happen between China and Vietnam, they blame everything on us. Like it was our faults that they lost in 1979 during Sino-Vietnam war.

I am only anti-Viet and anti-Vietnamised Chinese. I am not anti-Vietnamese Chinese or any anglicised Chinese.

About the language, we have our own books in Vietnam as well. and that what they said in the books.

furthermore, The so-called Modern Vietnamese language or Vietnamese language can put somewhat as a term of "a language never existed". Modern Vietnamese language is a language using a mixture of pronunciation and meaning from Han Viet and Chu Nom with a grammar modified by French.

If you want to know about Han Viet and Chu Nom, Visit theses site and you will know that both Han Viet and Chu Nom were written in Characters:

http://hanviet.org/

Han Viet was a language for Vietnam's scholars and government officials language just like we have qoon wa in China before

http://nomfoundation.org/vnpf_new/index.php?IDcat=52 or
http://www.facebook.com/group.php?gid=227657444504&v=wall

Chu nom is a language which was invented by indigenous Vietnamese people but was based Han writing system but was modified and they used pronunciation for more into pure Viet's natural speaking language. Chu Nom is usually used by Vietnamese peasants and common people in the old Vietnam and used to be called by Ha Nhan Ngon Ngu (下人言語) in Han Viet or those scholars

amhoanna
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Re: Cantonese in Vietnam, reports from the field

Postby amhoanna » Thu Aug 11, 2011 7:13 pm

It seems like every other time I go out and about and make conversation here, there'll be a Canto speaker in the group of people I'm talking to. Seems like U couldn't scatter a handful of green beans here w/o hitting a Cantophone. And this is Q3/Q10 (第三、十郡), well outside of Chợlớn 堤岸.

Today I spoke to an older gentleman whose parents fled Kwongtung during the Chinese Civil War. They came from Fayeun 花県, but they weren't Hakka. I had some trouble understanding the man. His pronunciation and his entire aura seemed very Vietnamized, more so than most of the Canto speakers I've met here. He didn't use the Cantonese pronoun 你 lei even once. Instead, he referred to me as 細佬 sailou. Very interesting, I thought. I had to kind of strain to understand him, esp. with the background noise, but fortunately I was able to "get" almost every sentence. I guess "studying abroad" in Canton is paying off. :P In the past I might've had a lot of trouble understanding these Canto spkrs in Saigon. Unlike KL Cantonese, Saigon Cantonese ranges far from the media standard.

Today's gentleman referred to MONEY as lui 鐳, pronounced exactly as it would be in Amoy-type Hoklo: rounded back /u/ in the diphthong (not fronted), in a high, level tone. The etymon was active for making compounds. At one pt he said 車鐳 che-lui. In the context, I'm pretty sure he meant BUS FARE. Chin 錢 didn't seem to figure in his vocabulary at all.

Another interesting observation. The Cantonese spkrs usually launch into Cantonese w/me as soon as they hear me say I'm "người Tàu", even though I always say I'm from Taiwan or Indonesia, countries where Cantonese is bahasa non grata. And while Chinese schools here teach Mandarin, I think there are lots of people who speak Cantonese but never learned Mandarin.

hokkien_learner
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Joined: Fri Aug 05, 2011 10:58 pm

Re: Cantonese in Vietnam, reports from the field

Postby hokkien_learner » Mon Aug 15, 2011 9:30 pm

Chinese people in Vietnam is not only concentrated in Cholon, we spread throughout the whole southern Vietnam. Several famous places of Chinese concentrated in Vietnam are Cholon (which is known for the last, oldest, most populous stronghold for Chinese people in Vietnam), Bien Hoa, Bac Lieu, Ca mao, Soc trang.

We even have our own poems about Bac Lieu and Ca mao but only available in Teochew and Cantonese. If you speak to people Cholon, maybe they can show you some.

You're right, most Chinese people speak Cantonese and never learn Mandarin. Just like me, if I am still in Vietnam, I would have no idea what is Mandarin language. However, due to China and Taiwan's influence, now alot of Chinese families in Cholon urged the young generation to learn Mandarin. Not sure about those Chinese Schools, but my cousin went to a private Chinese schools to learn Mandarin and they using Cantonese as instructive language.


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