Vietnam Time

2/22/2018 3:08:12 PM

Vietnamese in Czech Republic seek ways to preserve late linguist’s heritage

(VNF) - Vietnamese people in the Czech Republic are seeking ways to preserve the collection of books and documents about Vietnam left by late Czech linguistic professor Ivo Vasilijev, an expert on Vietnamese studies and a friend with great love for the country.

Vietnamese Ambassador Truong Manh Son pays tribute to Dr. Ivo Vasiljev (Photo: VNA)

Prof. Dr. Ivo Vasiljev is known for his dedication to and love for Vietnam who left the Vietnamese community in the Czech Republic a very meaningful heritage – the Czech-Vietnamese dictionary, co-authored with Vietnamese engineer Nguyen Quyet Tien to help Czech-born Vietnamese learn their mother language.

It is not only a dictionary but a bilingual encyclopedia providing knowledge on many areas, ranging from society, culture, history to geography and biology. The work is a symbol of friendship between the peoples of Vietnam and the Czech Republic.

Vasiljev died in October 23rd, 2016 at the age of 81 when he just started to write the fifth out of six volumes of the dictionary.

In May 2016, the encyclopedia won the second prize of the Dictionary of the Year award by the Union of Interpreters and Translators of the Czech Republic despite only three volumes were released.

Vasiljev interpreted for President Ho Chi Minh when a Czechoslovakian delegation visited Vietnam in 1966. He was the first Czech to translate Nhat Ky Trong Tu (Diary in Prison) into the Czech language and also researched Vietnamese ancient heritage and old scripts.

Nguyen Quyet Tien, the co-author of the Czech-Vietnamese dictionary, told Vietnam News Agency that he is still determined to complete the six-volume encyclopedia as his late fellow’s will.

Nguyen Quyet Tien (L) and Prof. Dr. Ivo Vasiljev,  two co-author of the Czech-Vietnamese dictionary that help the Vietnamese community in the Czech Republic overcome the language barrier. (Photo: VOV)

Ha Manh Hung, a Vietnamese in Ceske Budejovice, has an idea to archive and use valuable documents and thousands of books Vasiljev left to his society in Czech.

Sharing Hung’s view, President of the Vietnamese People Association in the Czech Republic Hoang Dinh Thang said it is necessary to preserve the professor’s heritages and the association is discussing ways to protect these documents for Vietnam’s next generations in the European country.

“I have deep impressions about late President Ho Chi Minh”

Prof. Dr. Ivo Vasiljev has written many articles about late President Ho Chi Minh in the Czech Republic.

Vasiljev said he had learnt Vietnamese in Prague from two Vietnamese teachers: Duong Khac Tu and Tran Xuan Dai. He later taught Vietnamese to Czech students at Prague University. Since 1959, he has conducted extensive research into Vietnamese language and history, and was recently invited to be the first postgraduate student to prepare for the teaching of Vietnamese studies at Prague University and Academy.

In 1966, during his visit to Vietnam as an interpreter for the Czech Government delegation, Vasiljev was greatly impressed by President Ho Chi Minh, who took special care of such interpreters like him.

Vasiljev said Ho Chi Minh was a great leader who had extensive knowledge in various fields, including world culture and history. He said he had the good fortune to meet President Ho Chi Minh in Vietnam in 1966.

He read President Ho’s Prison Diary and was interested in many poems in the collection, especially the poem Tieng Gia Gao (sound of pounding rice) which was presented by him many times at seminars and conferences in various countries.

It took more than 10 years for Vasiljev to translate the Prison Diary into Czech thanks to the assistance of a young Czech poet.

Vasiljev has visited Vietnam regularly and taken part in many research projects in the country, including a project to excavate ancient artefacts sunk in Cu Lao Cham (Cham Islands) area. From 1997 to 2000, he made long annual trips to Vietnam lasting from several weeks to 15 months. In 2000, he published a book written in Czech with the title “In Search of the Heritage of the Ancient Viet”. This book was created during his fact-finding tours to Vietnam from 1985-1986 with the assistance of many Vietnamese scholars and scientists.

Even when he was getting older and cannot travel so often, Vasiljev has made many presentations to introduce Vietnam’s history, people and land to international friends in European countries. He said he would continue to write more about Vietnam and focus on living conditions of the Vietnamese community in the Czech Republic./.

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