For much of Vietnam's history the official written language was Classical Chinese, using, of course, Chinese characters. Chinese became established as the dominant cultural medium during the millennium (111 B.C. - 938 A.D.) when Vietnam was under direct Chinese rule.
Considering that Vietnam has been an independent nation for a thousand years, Quoc ngu has a surprisingly brief history. The system was developed by Portuguese Jesuit missionaries in the 17th century. The earliest extant dictionary using quoc ngu was the Dictionarium Annamiticum Lusitanum et Latinum,...
Modern Vietnamese is written with the Latin alphabet, known as Quoc ngu ( ) in Vietnamese. . Quoc-ngu was devised in the mid 17th century by Portuguese missionaries who modified the Roman alphabet with accents and signs to suit the particular consonants, vowels, and tones of Vietnamese.
Some 3,000 years ago, communities of Mon-Khmer and Tay people merged in the northern Red River and Ma River Deltas. These two groups developed a shared language, known as Viet-Muong, which was composed of two main dialects. Lowlanders spoke what was known as the "City" dialect, while people in midland and...
Among the 54 Vietnamese ethnic groups some have had their own scripts for a long time and some have not preserved their ancient scripts. As a matter of fact, some ethnic groups consisting of some hundreds of individuals living in remote areas have their own languages.
The traditional southern Vietnamese meal is made up of fresh ingredients that only the fertile Mekong Delta could provide, such as cá lóc, and a wide range of tropical fruit like mangosteen, mango, and dragon fruit. The southern style diet is very 'green', with vegetables, fish and tropical fruits as the...
Vietnamese people have a very good habit of saving, which are reflected by the regular meals – rice with a main dishes (meat or fish/shrimp), a vegetable food and a bowl of soup. Vietnam food is thus often jokingly labelled "food for peasants".
As recently as the 1930s and 1940s tribal women wore elaborately decorated, woven traditional dress; this has largely been replaced by a simplified version of dress worn everyday in rural areas
The Ao Dai is the most recognizable traditional dress seen in Vietnam, and though western style clothes are popular, this beautifully styled outfit is still actively worn throughout the country during Tet, at work, to weddings, and other national celebrations.
Traditional costumes of the Vietnamese people tend to be very simple and modest. Men wear brown shirts and white trousers. Their headgear is simply a piece of cloth wrapped around the head and their footwear consists of a pair of plain sandals.