Not Logged in.
Book Jacket

The Mountains Sing


Winner of the 2020 BookBrowse Debut Novel Award: A multi-generational tale set ...
Summary and Reviews
Excerpt
Reading Guide
Author Biography

In The Mountains Sing, Vietnamese names and words appear with their full diacritical marks. Did their inclusion affect your reading experience?

Created: 03/18/21

Replies: 18

Posted Mar. 18, 2021 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
davinamw

Join Date: 10/15/10

Posts: 2619

In The Mountains Sing, Vietnamese names and words appear with their full diacritical marks. Did their inclusion affect your reading experience?

In The Mountains Sing, Vietnamese names and words appear with their full diacritical marks. For Vietnamese speakers, these marks are necessary to interpret meaning : for example, the words ma, mả, má, mà, mạ, and mã all have separate meanings (ghost, grave, mother, but, young rice plant, and horse, respectively). Nonetheless, it is unusual for an American novel to include the marks. Did their inclusion affect your reading experience? How?


Posted Mar. 19, 2021 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
Hulananni

Join Date: 06/13/11

Posts: 52

RE: In The Mountains Sing, Vietnamese ...

The diacritical marks are what has made it nearly impossible for me to learn the language. They should always be included because they are elements of the language. I would not have liked to read those words without the diacritical marks. On the other hand I usually stop reading a book when the dialogue is in a specific dialect. I find it intrusive.


Posted Mar. 20, 2021 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
peggya

Join Date: 06/03/15

Posts: 41

RE: In The Mountains Sing, Vietnamese ...

I think the diacritical marks made the book more authentic and meaningful.


Posted Mar. 20, 2021 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
Windsong

Join Date: 05/07/13

Posts: 81

RE: In The Mountains Sing, Vietnamese ...

I was happy to see the diacritical marks. As soon as the pandemic ends and it is safe to go to nail shops, I am returning to my Vietnamese friends who have tried to teach me some words and phrases. I felt it did take the book authentic. I did use the translator on my phone to pronounce their names and to translate Grandmother's proverbs, So far, The Mountains Sing, is my choice for best of the year in historical fiction.


Posted Mar. 20, 2021 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
paulagb

Join Date: 08/16/17

Posts: 136

RE: In The Mountains Sing, Vietnamese ...

I am glad the diacritical markings were included. I kept wishing I also had a recorded version so I could hear the sound of the words.


Posted Mar. 20, 2021 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
catherynez

Join Date: 01/27/18

Posts: 64

RE: In The Mountains Sing, Vietnamese ...

I’m glad the markings were included. I think it added to the authenticity of the story.


Posted Mar. 21, 2021 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
jazzming

Join Date: 03/19/21

Posts: 21

RE: In The Mountains Sing, Vietnamese ...

Definitely glad to have them! This is how a reader can truly emerge themselves in the story...to look with our own eyes at the words that, even if we don't actively understand the words themselves, can relate to language in a new way. It helps my subconscious reader sink deeper into the culture of it.
I felt this author was very good at making me feel very present in the time and place.


Posted Mar. 23, 2021 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
lynne z

Join Date: 01/06/18

Posts: 21

RE: In The Mountains Sing, Vietnamese ...

They enriched the novel for me. I would imagine that a Vietnamese speaker would find them especially important for the story.


Posted Mar. 24, 2021 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
PKH

Join Date: 01/29/21

Posts: 34

RE: In The Mountains Sing, Vietnamese ...

The markings added authenticity to the story. I liked seeing how the language was used by the characters.


Posted Mar. 29, 2021 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
ColoradoGirl

Join Date: 05/16/16

Posts: 103

RE: In The Mountains Sing, Vietnamese ...

I agree with you all that it enhanced the story and added authenticity. It helped to remind me that this book took place in a different setting and they almost seemed to be like a foreign film with subtitles.


Posted Apr. 02, 2021 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
rebeccar

Join Date: 03/13/12

Posts: 459

RE: In The Mountains Sing, Vietnamese ...

The authentic spelling and diacritical marks are important to help establish the author's "own voices" authenticity. Also, I think it helps immerse the reader in the real world of Vietnam.


Posted Apr. 02, 2021 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
MHRussell

Join Date: 08/08/19

Posts: 4

RE: In The Mountains Sing, Vietnamese ...

I agree with your comments and want to inquire if there could have been an internet link at the end (beginning?) of the book that would connect the reader to an audible pronounciation guide.
I am an Audible fan and look forward to listening to this novel in order to gain a deeper immersion into the culture. I have recently finished reading Viet Thanh Nguyen's books and have been blown away by them. I will add The Mountains Sing to this collection.


Posted Apr. 05, 2021 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
davinamw

Join Date: 10/15/10

Posts: 2619

RE: In The Mountains Sing, Vietnamese ...

MHRussell--I checked with the publisher and there is no pronunciation guide available at this time; but I have passed on your suggestion,. so if I hear of anything in the future, I will post here and also contact you direct. (Davina, BookBrowse editor)


Posted Apr. 05, 2021 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
shelleys

Join Date: 06/19/19

Posts: 7

RE: In The Mountains Sing, Vietnamese ...

i agree with all of the readers who have commented before me. A people and a culture including the language should not be westernized for our convenience. I felt that when this book is read by Vietnamese speakers they will be gratified to see their language presented authentically.


Posted Apr. 05, 2021 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
Suzanne

Join Date: 04/21/11

Posts: 277

RE: In The Mountains Sing, Vietnamese ...

Occasionally I was confused trying to remember who was who. Eventually most characters became familiar. Being able to refer to the family tree was a help. I feel that words were improved upon when in the Vietnamese language; the authenticity of the language was more powerful, although my pronunciation, I’m sure, was way off.


Posted Apr. 05, 2021 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
MimiJo

Join Date: 02/28/20

Posts: 24

RE: In The Mountains Sing, Vietnamese ...

The diacritical marks are definitely necessary and may have slowed down my reading because I tried to figure them out. The author did translate the meaning for the most part. Usually I will listen to a book like this and I may do that later just to hear the pronunciations.


Posted Apr. 11, 2021 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
jodig

Join Date: 06/07/15

Posts: 30

RE: In The Mountains Sing, Vietnamese ...

I sometimes got confused by names and by the language/marks but that was fine - it added to the authenticity of the story and the submersion into what was going on. Just because a book is translated into English doesn't mean all of the substance of the original language needs to be wiped out.


Posted Apr. 11, 2021 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
debra

Join Date: 09/02/20

Posts: 23

RE: In The Mountains Sing, Vietnamese ...

I liked it, particularly for the proper nouns. It gave me a greater understanding of how the words are conceptualized in the mind of the Vietnamese speaker.


Posted Apr. 24, 2021 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
bettyt

Join Date: 05/12/11

Posts: 195

RE: In The Mountains Sing, Vietnamese ...

I am glad they were included but really wish I knew how they were pronounced.


Reply

Please login to post a response.