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Preservation of the Vietnamese Nôm Script

Public Seminar

Friday 16th November 2012, 12.15pm to 1.45pm, Room NAB.1.07, New Academic Building, LSE

Speaker: John Balaban

Chair: Roger Montgomery

In 2000 John Balaban published Spring Essence: The Poetry of Ho Xuan Huong in modern, roman-script Vietnamese, and in the old ideographic script called Chu Nôm, modelled on Chinese and used for 1000 years to represent Vietnamese speech. This book was the first time that Nôm had been printed in the modern sense. Spring Essence caused a stir in Vietnam and abroad, especially after President Clinton mentioned the book as a cultural bridge in his State Dinner speech in Hanoi.

The publication was also the beginning of endeavour by Balaban and Vietnamese associates in IT, mathematics, and linguistics to delve further into this heritage. The Vietnamese Nôm Preservation Foundation was thus created and became a leader in digital preservation and display of writing in this ancient script, in disuse since 1920 when colonial authorities banned it. The Foundation, which subsequently published the first printed dictionary of Nôm, now represents Nôm as a world script recognised by the Unicode Standard.

Professor John Balaban, President of the Nôm Foundation since 1999, is Professor of English and Poet-in-Residence at North Carolina State University. He will be speaking on how poetry and translation led him to work in cultural preservation and what kinds of work remain.

Dr Roger Montgomery| is a Visiting Senior Fellow at the LSE Asia Research Centre.

Additional Information

This event is free and open to all with no ticket required. Entry is on a first come, first served basis. For any queries email arc@lse.ac.uk| or call 020 7955 7615.

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Preservation of the Vietnamese Nôm Script