Vietnam Social Sciences, S. 5 (2017)

Cỡ chữ:  Nhỏ  Vừa  Lớn

Tracing Origin of Phrase “đòi một” in Nguyen Du’s Tale of Kieu


Tóm tắt

The phrase “đòi một” makes it difficult for those who study and compile the Truyện Kiều (the Tale of Kieu), resulting in sometimes a vague and unspecific interpretation. According to the Truyền kì mạn lục tăng bổ giải âm tập chú (Collection of Chuanqi Tales Randomly Recorded with Supplementary Annotations and Nôm Transliterations) dated in the 16th – 17th centuries, “đòi một” is translated from the phrase 獨步 (Dúbù or độc bộ as written in Vietnamese) in Literary Sinitic, of which 獨 () is translated as “một” (alone) and 步 () as “đòi” (i.e. “to step”, “to go”, or “to accompany” as per its meaning in the compound “theo đòi”). At that time, “đòi một” means “to go alone” in the literal sense, but it has also a derivative sense, which is “nobody can catch up with” or “nobody can be compared with”. The phrase “đòi một” started to be used in Vietnamese language not later than in the 16th or 17th century and was used again by Nguyen Du in the Tale of Kieu. Furthermore, “đòi” means the same as “đuổi”, as they share a common etymon, which is 追 (zhui/truy; i.e. to pursue or to chase) in Literary Sinitic.

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Vietnam Social Sciences, ISSN: 1013-4328