Vietnamese is a language that used to use Chinese characters, but doesn't use them in everyday language nowadays. Are they still taught in school?

2 Answers 2


There are Chinese language courses in many schools across Vietnam, just as in the West or any other country that has recognized the need for L2 Chinese speakers.

But if you are asking about education in the old Nôm script as part of the mandatory national curriculum, the answer is no. Nevertheless, there is growing interest in the old writing system, research work and computer support got better in the last couple of years and there are voluntary evening classes and similar, attended by young and old who are curious to know how it works. But ask a random ordinary Vietnamese whether they know any Nôm or Chinese characters and the likelihood of that is very low.

If you would like to find out more about the Hán-Nôm script visit this page.

  • 1
    This sounds fairly in line with what I've read in the past -- I distinctly remember reading on Wikipedia that many Vietnamese were unable to read pre-colonial texts, and as a result, that a number of them were "transcribed" into the current script.
    – user5714
    Aug 17, 2015 at 1:55

No. At school we only learn the meanings of basic Sino-Vietnamese syllables, not the Chinese logograms. For example we learned that tử means a child or die, but most people don't know that those are different characters (死, 子 and many more), and of course they don't know how those characters are written in Chinese.

As I know before the unification a few characters are actually taught in high school but they're not taught anymore. There are some proposals to introduce about 100 basic Chinese characters to the syllabus again but most people go against it.

You may want to read these

Do most Koreans and Vietnamese know the hanja/hán tự for their own names?

Do Vietnamese still use Hán tự (HanZi/ Hanja /Kanji) besides Quốc ngữ alphabet?

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