British Journal of English Linguistics (BJEL)

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Indo-European Loanwords in Vietnamese Dictionaries in 18th And 19th Centuries


This research explores Indo-European loanwords in 18th and 19th-century Vietnamese dictionaries, focusing on three key sources: Vocabularium Anamitico Latinum (compiled in 1772-1773), Dictionnarium Anamitico-Latium (published in 1838), and Dictionarium Annamiticum Latinum (published in 1877). It reveals that Indo-European loanwords, primarily from Portuguese, French, and Latin, enriched the Vietnamese language during this period. The study identifies two main categories of loanwords: 1) religious terms, including names of dignitaries, saints, and Catholic rituals, and 2) words from European society, such as cacao, coffee, sausages, liqueur, and mangosteen.  These loanwords underwent phonetic adaptations to fit Vietnamese pronunciation, and some were directly translated into Vietnamese. This early integration of Indo-European words, especially those related to Christianity, played a vital role in expanding the Vietnamese lexicon, even before the extensive influence of French since 1858.

Keywords: Indo-European, Vietnamese, Vietnamese linguistics, loanwords

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