Jean-Louis Taberd

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The 1838 Dictionarium Anamitico-Latinum.
A page of Jean-Louis Taberd's 1838 Vietnamese-Latin dictionary (Dictionarium Anamitico-Latinum), based on the manuscript dictionary of Pigneau de Béhaine.[1]
Map of the Vietnamese Empire, in Taberd's 1838 Dictionarium Latino-Annamiticum.

Jean-Louis Taberd (1794–1840)[2] was a French missionary of the Paris Foreign Missions Society, and titular bishop of Isauropolis, in partibus infidelium.[3]


Born in Saint-Étienne, Jean-Louis Taberd was ordained priest in Lyon in 1817. He joined the Paris Foreign Missions Society in 1820, and was appointed to become a missionary in Cochinchina, modern Vietnam. In 1827 he was appointed Vicar Apostolic of Cochinchina, and Bishop of the titular see of Isauropolis in 1830.[2][3] With the persecutions of the Emperor of Vietnam Minh Mạng, Mgr Taberd was forced to escape the country.

Jean-Louis Taberd first went to Penang and then Calcutta, where, with the help of Lord Auckland and the Asiatic Society he was able to publish his own Latin-Vietnamese dictionary in 1838.[3] He improved upon the previous works of Alexandre de Rhodes and Pigneau de Béhaine, whose 1773 Vietnamese-Latin dictionary he had been handed in manuscript form.[4] He also published Pigneau's dictionary in 1838 under the name Dictionarium Anamitico-Latinum.[1]

In his work The Geography of Cochin China, Taberd reports the Paracel Islands (today a hotly disputed island territory in Southeast Asia) as having been conquered and claimed by Emperor Gia Long in 1816.[5]


In the late 19th century, the renowned Catholic college Institut Taberd was founded in Saigon by the Brothers of the Christian Schools and, since 1943, to educate a Vietnamese elite.[6][7]


  • Dictionarium Latino-Annamiticum completum et novo ordine dispositum (Latin-Vietnamese dictionary), 1838
  • Dictionarium Anamitico-Latinum, primitus inceptum ab illustrissimo P.J. Pigneaux, dein absolutum et ed. a J. L. Taberd, Serampore, 1838
  • The Geography of Cochin China
  • Notes on the Geography of Cochin China, Journal of the Asiatic Society of Bengal 6/7 (1837/39)


  1. ^ a b Manteigne[who?], p.67
  2. ^ a b Catholic hierarchy
  3. ^ a b c The Asiatic Journal and Monthly Register, p.195
  4. ^ Wörterbücher: Ein Internationales Handbuch Zur Lexikographie by Franz Josef Hausmann, p.2584 [1]
  5. ^ Sovereignty Over the Paracel and Spratly Islands by Monique Chemillier-Gendreau p.180 [2]
  6. ^ JSTOR: The Vietnamese Elite of French Cochinchina, 1943, RB Smith - 1972 [3]
  7. ^ JSTOR: Conflict in the Classroom: A Case Study from Vietnam, 1918-38 GP Kelly - 1987 [4]