Hán Việt

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Sino-Vietnamese word from 漢越, composed of (Han) and (Vietnamese).



Hán Việt

  1. (linguistics, of a lexical item) borrowed from Classical Chinese

Usage notes[edit]

  • Often translated as Sino-Vietnamese, and even such broadly understood English term may be defined with the above strict definition.
  • Hán Việt refers to a specific class of lexical items lifted from Classical Chinese texts, or text used by the bureaucratic and educated class. These items were borrowed with systematically derived pronunciations, with very few exceptions.
  • Not all Chinese-borrowed items are considered Hán Việt. Compare (non-Hán Việt) and hạ (Hán Việt), both of which mean "summer", but the former was borrowed from spoken Chinese. Due to the systematic method (fanqie) with which Hán Việt pronunciations were and are still derived from Middle Chinese, the vowel /ɛ/ in the former item is not valid, but the vowel /a/ in the latter item is. Items borrowed from spoken Chinese varieties or languages like the Cantonese tả pín lù do not count, either.
  • Compare Japanese 漢語 (kango), which refers to the Japanese equivalent lexical class that also disregards non-Classical-Chinese Chinese-borrowed items.

See also[edit]