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Index for Spices in Vietnamese

This in index is in β state.

Vietnamese (Tiếng Việt) is the national language of Vietnam (Việt Nam) and is also spoken by minorities in Laos and Cambodia. Its linguistic affiliation was, for many decades, a matter of debate, and every major language family of the region has already been postulated to be contain Vietnamese; since the 1990s, is is generally accepted that Vietnamese is an Austro–Asiatic language that has, however, been exposed to Chinese influence so throughly that more than 50% of ist core vocabulary has been borrowed. Also, it shows numerous typological and phonological parallels to Chinese, but these are interpreted as due to language contact, not due to ancestral relation.

Different to the neighbouring tongues (and, indeed, all major tonal languages in Asia), Vietnamese is writen in Latin Alphabet. The Vietnamese Latin Script derives from the work of Portuguese (later French) missionaries; it became widely used only in the century, when it was promoted to replace the older Sino–Vietic form of writing. The latter consisted of Chinese logographs (and quite often Vietnamese logographs that had been developed in Vietnam, but in full accord with the Chinese construction principles) and was difficult to learn. Vietnam’s literacy rate improved drastically during the century and ranges around 95%, on a par with the much whealthier Thailand.

The Vietnamese Alphabet is made up of 29 letters. Of the 26 English standard letters, four are absent (F,J,W,Z); yet Vietnamese has an additional consonant (Đ) and six more vowels (Ă,Â,Ê,Ô,Ơ,Ư). Every vowel can occur in up to six phonemic tones, and those are written with additional diacritics attached to the vowel letter; the diacritics are chosen to be iconic for the tone contour: À,Ả,Ã,Á,Ạ. BTW, its is not fully correct to speak of tone; rather, each if of the so-called tone is a complex of properties involving tone and other articulation features; for example, two tones are strongly glottalized .

Apart from a few recent loanwords, Vietnamese is written in form of isolated syllables (proper names have capital letters for every syllable). Half of the vowels bear a typographic accent in their base letter shape, and if those are to be combined with a tone mark, then two different accent marks have to attach a single vowel letter. This happens quite frequently and lends a characteristic, overdecorated quality to Vietnamese documents; it alsmost impossible to confuse a Vietnamese text with anything else.

The Vietnamese script is not very phonetic: There are pairs of homophones, whose distribution is defined via orthographic rules (e. g., C/K and I/Y); on the other side, there are many digraphs (e. g., NG, NH, KH, CH, TR), and for some of these, the pronuncition is not transparent from the constituents. The sound value of some letters changes while the position in a syllable, and there is significant difference between the dialects of North and South Vietnam. The script can hold more phonetic differences than are necessary for any spoken dialect, and therefore, each speaker is confronted with some degree of homophony; the benefit of that system is that the written form allows for an unambigous pronunciation in all major dialects.

This Index gives plant names in three spellings; only the first is correct Vietnamese. The second omits the tone marks, and the third all diacritical signs (arriving at pure ASCII); these are meant mainly for search engines and visitors without any Vietnamese font (that should be rare, by now). Vietnamese spice names often begin with a category word, e. g., cây plant, leaf oder rau herb, which impedes quick searching; such entries have been added in resorted form if necessary.   

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