Nhật dụng thường đàm is a dictionary composed by Phạm Đình Hổ (1768-1839). This is a small Sino-Vietnamese bilingual dictionary, explaining Han script based on Nom script and arranged in 32 categories such as: Astronomy, Order of morality, Confucianism, Taoism, Buddhism, Body, Dwelling-house, Effects, Food, Fruits, Appliances, Weapons, Disease, Beasts, Insects etc…Not much terms but it could be considered as enough to learn and know common words and phrases. This dictionary is also used as a document to compare the differences of words by giving explanation the meanings of Han script based on Nom script.
Bilingual dictionary “Nhật dụng thường đàm” has been kept in the National Library of Vietnam presently with the library number is R.1726. It was engraved in the Tự Đức 4th year by Đồng Văn Trai printing house. In addition to the cover and preface pages, this book includes 52 sheets and printed in dó paper. The content is divided into 32 categories. Each category is separated into various entries. Each entry is divided into 2 parts: one part is Han script and another is the explanation part for Han script based on Nom script. For example 天Thiên: 羅𡗶is the sky; Nhật 日:羅𩈘𡗶 is the sun.
According to the statistics of researchers, Sino-Vietnamese vocabulary accounts for 70% Vietnamese language. Thus, it would be really essential for Vietnamese students or foreigners who want to study Vietnamese to have a certain knowledge of Sino-Vietnamese vocabulary. At the moment, besides a number of specialized training schools about Han Nom like: Vietnam National University, Hanoi; Vietnam National University Ho Chi Minh city, Hue University of Science. The remainders are training institutions like universities, specialized colleges of social humanism. Generally, most students of these schools must study Han Nom and Sino-Vietnamese vocabulary.
As an objective of Vietnamese Nom Preservation Foundation (VNPF), we continue digitizing the dictionary named Nhật Dụng Thường Đàm based on the result of “Digital library of Han Nom books” cooperated between the National Library of Vietnam (NLV) and The Vietnamese Nom Preservation Foundation (VNPF). Hoping that this dictionary (digital number: nlvnpf-0693; library number: R.1726) is an useful tool for students in general and Han Nom students in particular. Especially is for people who start learning Han Nom.