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Chinese characters
Precursors
Traditional Chinese
Variant characters
Simplified Chinese
Simplified Chinese (2nd-round)
Traditional/Simplified (debate)
Kanji
Hanja
Hán tự
East Asian calligraphy
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Hán tự (Vietnamese pronunciation: [hǎːn tɨ̂ˀ] lect?, , meaning "Chinese character") or chữ Hán, chữ Nho ([cɨ̌ ɲɔ], 𡨸, literally "script of Confucian scholars") is the Vietnamese term for Chinese characters, which was used to write classical Chinese and the Sino-Vietnamese vocabulary in Vietnamese language, in contrast to chữ Nôm, which was used to write the native vocabulary in Vietnamese language.

In imperial Vietnam, formal writings were, in most cases, done in classical Chinese, while Vietnamese was only used for recording literature. These writings are indistinguishable from those classical Chinese works produced in China, Korea, or Japan.

The readings of Hán tự, like Kanji and Hanja, reflect that of Middle Chinese, and provide valuable data for the study of historical Chinese phonology.

The use of classical Chinese, and its written form, Hán tự, died out in Vietnam during the 20th century, after the French colonization and Vietnamese independence.

A system of modified and invented characters modeled loosely on Chinese characters called chữ Nôm, which, unlike the system of Hán tự, allowed for the expression of purely Vietnamese words, was created in Vietnam at least as early as the 13th century. While designed for native Vietnamese speakers, it required the user to have some understadings of chữ Hán, and thus chữ Nôm was used primarily for literary writings by cultural elites (such as the poetry of Nguyễn Du and Hồ Xuân Hương), while almost all other official writings and documents continued to be written in Hán Văn (classical Chinese) until the 20th century.

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Wiktionary

Up to date as of January 15, 2010

Definition from Wiktionary, a free dictionary

Vietnamese

Hán tự in this word

Noun

Hán tự (Hán tự 漢字)

  1. Chinese character

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