Poetics Characteristics of Languages in Folk “Poetry Stories” of Tai People in Vietnam

Author: Pham Dang Xuan Huong (Faculty of Philology, Hanoi National University of Education, Vietnam)
Speaker: Pham Dang Xuan Huong
Topic: Poetics
The (SCOPUS / ISI) SOAS GLOCAL CALA 2020 General Session


Folk poetry stories of Vietnamese ethnic minorities represent a unique genre, in that the narratives are conveyed through fold poetic parallelism. Here, respective forms of poetry become predicated on the cultural and literary traditions of each ethnic people. Studies in Vietnam on poetic stories indicate that this category reaches a high level in the development of genres, owing to the combination of narrative tradition and lyrical folk songs of ethnic peoples.

This study seeks to expose the impeded development in the work of Vietnamese researchers in analyzing the rhyming methods and characteristics of languages in folk histories of ethnic minorities through Vietnamese translation. Despite that analysis of poetic stories emerging in written documents and ancient transcriptions, or by listening to singing-telling performances, analysis of this story telling in ethnic languages still represents an arduous task. Understandably, judgments of translated texts are highly subjective, and more so with the absence of communication with the original authors. Semantic distance between the translations and original poetic works is largely predicated on the lack of knowledge we currently have of the original stylistics of the language and genre. In addition, a large number of ethnic minority poetry stories have been collected and published only in respective ethnic languages, and without accompanied translation, a factor which also challenges scholarly analysis. Any effort to translate these works to other global languages would shed very much needed light on these works, and on these ethnicities.

This presentation will discuss the poetic characteristics of languages in folk rhymed histories of the Tai ethnicity, and will analyze the organizational relationships between the poetic characteristics of Tai languages and other poetic characteristics, in terms of characters, texture, and performance. All of these attempts aim to expose the admirable elements of these works from a emic perspective, and incorporating discussions of specific concepts and categories of Tai folklore.

Keywords: Folk poetry, Tai text