Professor of linguistics Hoang Thi Chau

As a distinguished lecturer and devoted scientist, Hoang Thi Chau has made valuable contributions to the study of Vietnamese linguistics. She is also the first-ever female professor of linguistics in Vietnam.

Hoang Thi Chau’s scientific career was marked with her being sent to study at Lomonosov University in the former Soviet Union by the Vietnamese Government in 1956.

Returning to Vietnam in 1963, Chau began working for the Linguistics Division under the Philology Department at the University of Social Sciences and Humanities.

Her research titled “Identifying ethnic groups in Vietnam” (with co author Nguyen Linh), “The link between the origin of ancient times in Southeast Asian and rivers’ names”, “Territorial Waters of Van Lang State in linguistic documents”, caught the attention of many experts immediately after they were published in 1963.

These researches helped Chau clearly identify her long-term career: focusing on researching toponymy, dialects, ways of teaching Vietnamese and standardisation of geographic names. She was recognised as one of the leading experts in these fields.

To complete the research on the Tay Nung language, this female researcher and her students had to take fact-finding tours of various remote areas to study and investigate languages of ethnic groups even during the war against America. She herself made great contributions to researching phonology and scripts of these groups.

After 13 years working in the Linguistics Department, Chau left for the former Democratic Republic of Germany to teach Vietnamese at the prestigious University of Humboldt in Berlin and 5 years later, in 1980, Chau successfully defended her PhD thesis.

Hoang Thi Chau is the author of a book in German on teaching Vietnamese language. This book is a manual for teaching Vietnamese at Humboldt University now.

As head of linguistics in the Philology Department of the University of Hanoi from 1983 to 1993, Chau always tried her best to expand cooperation with other countries in researching and training. She and some colleagues co-wrote a Vietnamese teaching book with 3 volumes for Cambodians.

Hoang Thi Chau has published 6 books and written 54 newspaper articles (excluding works in the past 2 years).

Chau won the State prize for science and technology research in 2005.

Professor Chau retired in 2005 but she still does research, lends a hand in PhD theses, post-graduate compositions and writes articles for scientific magazines and conferences.

Translated by Mai Huong