Among the 54 Vietnamese ethnic groups some have had their own scripts for a long time and some have not preserved their ancient scripts. As a matter of fact, some ethnic groups consisting of some hundreds of individuals living in remote areas have their own languages.
More than 80% of the population speaks Vietnamese or Kinh/Viet Nam, the natinal language. Many ethnic minority people speak Kinh and their own native language.
Three scripts have influenced Viet Nam’s history:
- Chinese Han ideograms were used until the beginning of the 20th century.
- The Nom script, created between the 11th and 14th centuries, was derived from Han script to transcribe the popular national language.
- European missionaries in the 17th century first developed quoc ngu, the Romanised transcription of the Vietnamese language used to this day.