Vietnamese i/ˌviɛtnəˈmiːz/ (tiếng Việt) is the national and official language of Vietnam. It is the native language of the Vietnamese (Kinh) people, as well as a first or second language for many ethnic minorities of Vietnam. As the result of Vietnamese immigration and cultural influence, Vietnamese speakers are found throughout the world, notably in East and Southeast Asia, North America, Australia and Western Europe. GEOGRAPHICAL DISTRIBUTION As the national language, Vietnamese is spoken throughout Vietnam by ethnic Vietnamese and by Vietnam's many minorities. A few thousand native speakers live just across the border in China. It also is spoken in overseas Vietnamese communities. In the United States, Vietnamese is the sixth most spoken language, with over one million speakers, who are concentrated in a handful of states. Official status Vietnamese is the sole official and national language of Vietnam. It is the first language of the majority of the Vietnamese population, as well as a first or second language for country's ethnic minority groups. Writing systems Up to the late 19th century, two writing systems based on Chinese characters were used in Vietnam. All formal writing, including government business, scholarship and formal literature, was done in Literary Chinese (chữ nho 𡨸儒 "scholar's characters"). Folk literature in Vietnamese was recorded using the Chữ Nôm script, in which many Chinese characters were borrowed and many more modified and invented to represent native Vietnamese words. Created in the 13th century or earlier, the Nôm writing reached its zenith in the 18th century when many Vietnamese writers and poets composed their works in Nôm, most notably Nguyễn Du and Hồ Xuân Hương (dubbed "the Queen of Nôm poetry"). However it was only used for official purposes during the brief Hồ and Tây Sơn dynasties.