(HBO) - One of the great literary values of Mo Muong is the value of language. Language is one of the most basic problems of Mo Muong. Just as bricks that are the building blocks of magnificent and monumental architectural works, language is the material constituting literary works in general, including Mo Muong in particular.


Mo Muong language crystallizes from the familiar language of the People, in which the role of many generations of "major shamen” has been constantly continuing, interfering and creating the immortal Mo Muong, which has existed and developed over thousands of years. In the process of creation, the language of Mo Muong has the characteristics that become a very remarkable literary value: The language of Mo Muong is the language of the ancient Vietnamese Muong. The language of Mo is abstract, fanciful, both real and unreal.

If modern Vietnamese describes things very accurately and clearly, it seems that Muong language does not have that ability, yet it has a lot of figurative and onomatopoeic properties. Try to analyze the image of an animal called "Ti̒l wi̒l tươ̭ng wươ̭ng” with the cry "ngaw u !”… The name evokes the imagination of an animal with many large circular patterns with quiet and unexpected gestures, walking on tiptoes, stalking the prey without making a sound, but when the sound "ngay u!” comes out, the action is lightning fast, extremely ferocious, causing bloodshed, making both young and old terrified. Therefore, the translators of Mo Muong often leave the name unchanged, leaving the reader's imagination alone.

The essence of Mo language is vows, storytelling in rhyme, it is still rough and it has not been distilled and refined like the scholarly poetry. However, it also has its own nuanced spirituality because it always coexists with the ritual of performing Mo. That nuanced soul is reflected in the long sentences of 13-15 words. If a long Mo sentence is cut into two or three small parts so that it is áy to translate, it is no longer a ritual in Mo. The shamen who know how to read those cutscenes won't understand what they're talking about.

If the spirit of Muong is the key element of content for Mo to survive for thousands of generations, the rhyme is a formal factor to ensure the survival of Mo. When using rhyme, the shamen are truly linguistic wizards, both literally and figuratively. A famous shaman said: "The shaman must know the way clearly and unequivocally.” It is true that without seeing the clear path how can the shaman lead his soul around Muong, to the heavens, to the underworld, returning home, and finally returning to Muong Ma through thousands of journeys and stops. On that long journey, each rhyme is a ladder for the learners and the shamen to lean on to remember, memorize and overcome

The vocabulary ammount of Muong language is not large as the Vietnamese language. How did the author use words and rhyme in order to have thousands of Mo sentences? There is usually a rhyme between the preceding and following sentences. There are rhymes that use meaningful language and there are rhymes that use meaningless language. This meaningless sound is often accompanied by accompaniment sounds mâ̒l, kâ̒l… (padded to rhyme).

In addition to the common words, sometimes we come across very difficult ancient words. Those are truly pearls covered with the dust of time. If they are sharpened, we will get shiny ones. The following are some of the most difficult sentences, yet they are the best ones in Mo Muong.

The first sentence: "Khṷ khót tlêênh khôông to̭ hoo̒ng hảw lă̭n"... 

In order to get Khot and Ban bags, - the most important tool of the shaman’s practice, the two people have to cross nine mountains, ten rivers, nine waterfalls and ten rapids, nine days and ten nights to reach the Khot annd Ban mountains in upstream and downstream river. It is necessary to dig and dig, and search to get the precious pebbles, the wild cat bones (the tiger claws), the copper ax blades... Getting a full boat and bringing it close to the destination, then bumping into the dragon's mouth and falling into the river, it is obligatory to continue returning to Khot and Ban mountains. So where are Khot and Ban mountains? It is the place on the river "to̭ hoo̒ng hảw lă̭n, to̭ hoo̒ng hảw ti̒m”. "To̭ hoo̒ng” is a word that's both hidden and very amciets, it is so ancient that it's no longer used today. Only those in their 80s remember the sentences with these words. To̭ hoo̒ng mă̭t tlơ̒i moo̭c, to̭ hoo̒ng mă̭t tlơ̒i lă̭n, saying "to̭” the rice ofering name. Ỏ anoter sayings in Mo "Teẻnh to̭ hoo̒ng cho nhả kải kôô̭c khăng tôô̒ng” (Hit right there). From the meanings of the above summed-up sentences, we get that the meaning of the word "hoo̒ng” is right there, hit that spot, dive into that place. And when combining with the context of the above sentence, we can translate a sentence of Mo into Vietnamese as follows:

Khot mountain is on the river where the sun is about to set

Ban mountain is onthe river where the sun is about to sink

The language of Mo Muong is the eternal language of the ancestors, the leading epic language in Southeast Asia, and it is comparable to humanity, and it deserves to be preserved and honored. The most unfortunate thing is that Muong language is so good, the language Mo is so good, however it is not expressed in the traditional writings of Muong people. Another worry is that Muong language in general and the language of Mo Muong in particular are at risk of being lost in the next generations. Preserving and promoting the cultural identity of Muong, including Muong language and the language of Mo Muong, is a heavy responsibility placed on the shoulders of not only the cultural and educational agencies but also on the whole society. It is requested that the whole society shoulder the burden, share, and take responsibility for this precious cultural treasure to be honored and perpetuated with the nation.


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