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Date : 08-05-12

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Ntawv Savina

Father M. Savina

In 1917, Father M. Savina, a French missionary in Southwest China, Vietnam, and Laos, published perhaps the first Hmong-French dictionary. He had actually developed a full script of Hmong writing system with RPA which he detailed in the beginning pages of his dictionary. Nearly no Hmong had known about the existence of this very rare and unique Hmong-French Dictionary until Yuepheng Xiong of Hmong ABC got ahold of an original copy from Europe, for $275. It was donated to the Hmong Archives which he co-founded. Currently the Hmong Archives has collected over 130,000 Hmong materials, and this Savina's Hmong-French Dictionary is one of the rarest items.

If anyone comes across a copy of his Hmong primer, which we believe there must be one, please contact the hmonglanguage.net or Hmong Archives at www.hmongarchives.org.

Below are pages excerpted from his Hmong-French Dictionary about the Savina Hmong Script or Savina Script. It was structured in similar format with the Vietnamese RPA writing system and the Hmong Vietnamese writing system in which the tone markers are placed on top and at the end of the vowels.


Keeb (Consonants): 



Suab (Vowels):


Cim (Tones):


Nplooj Piv Txwv (Sample Pages):


Source: The primer is property of the Hmong Archives | www.hmongarchives.org and the photo of Savina is from Dr. Mai Na Lee