Vernacular reading—reading Classical Chinese texts in the local vernacular—was practiced throughout the Sinosphere, everywhere people adopted Chinese characters to write and read. Recent research indicates that it took place in Vietnam as well. In this paper, we introduce the variant of this practice found in Japan: kanbun kundoku (漢文訓讀). We then use the extensive documentation of the annotation, glossing, and punctuation of texts in Japan and China to identify similar practices in Vietnamese texts. Using materials digitized by the Vietnamese Nôm Preservation Foundation for the National Library of Vietnam (NLV) as well as materials housed at Thắng Nghiêm and Phổ Nhân temples, we identify reading glosses, pòyīn, proper name glosses, reference marks, and punctuation, added in black or vermillion ink depending on the type of annotation. We suggest that further study of such annotations will help clarify the ways in which Vietnamese readers learned, studied, and read Classical Chinese.

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