The oldest known surviving grammar of quốc ngữ, called the Linguae Annamiticae seu Tunchinensis brevis declaratio, was published in 1651 in Rome and written in Latin by French Jesuit missionary Alexandre de Rhodes. Presented here is the first complete English translation of de Rhodes’ text. It comprises eight chapters: quốc ngữ letters; accents; nouns; personal, reflexive, and demonstrative pronouns; relative and interrogative pronouns; verbs; additional parts of speech; and syntax. This English version makes this Latin text, which is a fundamental work highlighting the origins of quốc ngữ, accessible to non-Latin-reading scholars of the Vietnamese language for the first time. Included with this translation is an introduction that situates de Rhodes’ work in the context of other contemporary Jesuit linguists also working on quốc ngữ and points out that the Brevis declaratio follows the model of the grammar book of Manuel Alvares. Appended at the end of the translation is a glossary that clarifies some linguistic vocabulary de Rhodes used.
A Translation of the Linguae Annamiticae seu Tunchinensis brevis declaratio: The First Grammar of Quốc Ngữ
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Andrew Gaudio; A Translation of the Linguae Annamiticae seu Tunchinensis brevis declaratio: The First Grammar of Quốc Ngữ. Journal of Vietnamese Studies 1 August 2019; 14 (3): 79–114. doi: https://doi.org/10.1525/vs.2019.14.3.79
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