Sat, Jul 07, 2007 - Page 14 News List

Globe trotting -- Vietnam 世界走透透:越南

STAFF WRITER

Vietnam has one of the fastest growing economies in the world and one of the oldest and richest histories as well. Come take a closer look at the country whose motto is "Independence, Freedom, Happiness."

越南名列全球經濟最發展快速的國家之林,也是歷史最豐富悠久的國家之一。讓我們一起來深度探索這個以「獨立、自由、幸福」為格言的國家。

A closer look 說古論今

Vietnam has been inhabited for several thousand years, with people beginning rice farming as early as 2000BC. An early dynasty formed in 257BC, but the Chinese Han Empire swallowed the area in 111BC.

Vietnam remained under Chinese control, gaining independence in 938. The French invaded in the mid-1800s. The colonial regime left only in 1954 after splitting the country in half: North Vietnam, led by Communist Ho Chi Minh, and South Vietnam, led by Ngo Dinh Diem. US troops began assisting the rulers in South Vietnam, but the North won and the country was reunited in 1976 as the Socialist Republic of Vietnam.

The official language is Vietnamese, but many minorities still speak their own languages. All students must study English, though Chinese, Japanese and Russian are also popular second languages. Some older Vietnamese who were educated in French still speak it as well.

Bicycles and motorcycles are the most popular modes of transportation for individuals, though the many rivers are also important for transportation around the country.

The staples of the Vietnamese diet are rice and noodles, much as in Taiwan. The cuisine is heavy on vegetables and light on oil. Mint and basil are favorite spices, and spicy peppers, lime and fish sauce are added to many dishes.

Soccer is the most popular sport in Vietnam, though chess, badminton, tennis and ping pong are also common pastimes.

越南人已定居在此數千年,早在西元前兩千年即開始種植稻米。早期的越南王朝建立於西元前二五七年,但於西元前一一一年遭中國的漢朝併吞。

越南一直受中國統治,但曾於西元九三八年獲得短暫獨立。法國在十九世紀中葉將越南納入殖民地,直到一九五四年越南分裂成兩國(共產黨胡志明領導北越,吳廷琰領導南越)才擺脫殖民統治。美軍當時援助南越的領導者,但北越戰勝,南北越遂於一九七六年統一為越南社會主義共和國。

越南的官方語言為越南語,但許多少數族群仍講自己的語言。學生在校都得學英文,但中文、日文與俄文都是頗受歡迎的第二外語。部分受法文教育的年長越南人仍會講法文。

腳踏車與摩托車是民眾最受歡迎的交通工具,但河川也是全國重要的交通管道。

越南和台灣相似,主食都為米飯與麵食。當地飲食重蔬菜,少油清淡,薄荷與羅勒是民眾最喜愛的香料,許多菜餚也都會佐以胡椒、萊姆與魚露。

足球是越南人最愛的運動,但下棋、羽球、網球與桌球也是普遍的消遣活動。

(翻譯:賴美君)

WHO KNEW? 你知道嗎?

When under Chinese rule, the Vietnamese wrote in classical Chinese, the same writing system used in Japan, Korea and China. Between the 1300s and late 1800s, some Vietnamese also used Chu nom, a script based on these Chinese characters. This script worked in much the same way as Chinese characters, with one side hinting at meaning (by using a standard Chinese character) and the other side indicating sound (if read in the Vietnamese language).

Nguyen Truong To proposed using a standardized version of Chu nom as the standard writing system of Vietnam in 1867, but was turned down by the emperor. As a result, the script was never standardized and never became an official writing system. Classical Chinese was replaced by Quoc ngu in the early 1900s, a roman script developed by Portuguese and French linguists.

越南人在中國統治之下會寫漢文,語系與日本、韓國及中國系出同源。十四世紀至十九世紀晚期,部分的越南人也採用由漢字衍生的「喃字」。這種書寫體與漢字相當雷同,複合字的一邊表意(使用標準漢語),另一邊則表聲(以越南語發音)。

一八六七年,阮長祚提議越南採用一套標準化的喃字,但遭皇帝否絕,所以喃字從未標準化或成為正式的語系。到了二十世紀初,漢字被葡萄牙與法國語言學家設計的「Quoc ngu」羅馬化越南語所取代。

A LOOK AT CONTEXT 思前想後猜字義

1. The king's regime made many nobles rich, but once the republic was established the common people also had a voice in government.

A regime is ...

a. a kind of plant.

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