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Sound Changes in Vietnamese through Dialect Contact

November 14, 2023 @ 7:00 pm - 8:30 pm

11/14, 7 PM Eastern Time & 11/15, 8 AM Singapore Time

This event will be held online only. REGISTER HERE.

Quang Nam Vietnamese, an Austroasiatic language, has several peculiarities in its pronunciation, making it very different from all other dialects of Vietnamese. There has been no linguistic account for this phenomenon. This talk will present evidence for the source of sound changes in Vietnamese using linguistic data and historical migration, focusing on cultural anthropology and ethnohistorical aspects. The talk argues that the Quang Nam dialect did not emerge from the language contact between ethnic communities, especially the local Cham people who speak an Austronesian language, and the Vietnamese immigrants. The Vietnamese people learn customs from the Chams, including agricultural practice, music, and architecture, and borrow some vocabulary, but the Chams have nothing to do with Quang Nam pronunciation. It was the early Vietnamese settlers from north-central Vietnam who brought with them their dialects to the current Quang Nam province, mainly from the 15th to 17th centuries. Through dialect contact and internal linguistic restructuring, a new dialect emerged. Linguistic evidence came from fieldwork data of sub-dialects spoken in remote areas of north central Vietnam. Other evidence came from historical records of migration. The ethnohistorical background of the Chams and Viets is also discussed. New linguistic data collected in 2023 in north-central Vietnam provide further evidence for the hypothesis, which explains special features in southern Vietnamese dialects.

Dr. Andrea Pham is Professor of Vietnamese and Linguistics at the University of Florida.

The talk will be followed by comments from Dr. Nala Lee, Associate Professor at the Department of English, Linguistics and Theatre Studies. In April, Dr. Lee will present a talk followed by comments from Dr. Pham.

This event is part of the Bringing Southeast Asia Home NUS speaker series, which aims to connect scholars of Southeast Asia located in the US Southeast with scholars of Southeast Asia at the National University of Singapore.


November 14, 2023
7:00 pm - 8:30 pm


Carolina Asia Center
View Organizer Website

The Carolina Asia Center supports diverse Asia-related events. However, CAC co-sponsorship of any talk, seminar, documentary screening, film screening, performance or celebration does not constitute endorsement of or agreement with the views presented therein. As an academic institution, we value diverse perspectives that promote dialogue and understanding.

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