Cambodian language

Cambodia is a largely homogeneous country, with over 90% of the population being Khmer and speaking Khmer, which is also the official language. Many Cambodians also use French and English as second languages, which are commonly taught in schools and universities.

Khmer (ភាសាខ្មែរ / Pronounced: Muscles), also known as Mien (Man), is the language of the Khmer, a South Asian language influenced by Sanskrit and Pali. Due to its geographical proximity, Khmer language is impacted by other languages in the region such as Thai, Lao, Vietnamese, and Cham and vice versa.

The Khmer language can be traced back to a period before the Khmer-Mon people had any contact with the Indians, dating back to BC times. Despite this, the Cambodian language and culture have been significantly influenced by Indian culture, and many Indian borrowings are still used today. During the French colonial period, a special written form of the Khmer language was created, which forced countries in the Indochinese peninsula to use the Latin script. Despite this, the Khmer people, particularly monks, made great sacrifices and struggled to preserve their language and culture, which can still be seen and heard today.

Khmer language has four dialects that can be understood by each other:
• The language is spoken in Phnom Penh (considered the standard language),
• Northern Khmer, also known as Khmer Surin, is spoken by the Khmer in northeastern Thailand
• Cardamom Khmer, an ancient speech of a small population in the Cardamom Mountains of western Cambodia [3].
• Khmer Krom, in southern Vietnam

The alphabet includes:
• Consonants: 33 letters and 32 feet, divided into 2 voices O and Ô;
• Normal vowels: are vowels that must be assembled with consonants to make sense. Consists of 24 letters, but when pronounced, each letter has 2 different sounding voices.
• Independent vowel: is a vowel that does not need to rhyme with any consonant that also has meaning (because it has meaning) consisting of 13 characters;
• Khmer is primarily an analytic, isolated language. There are no modifiers, conjugations, or grammatical suffixes. Instead, particles and adjectives are used to define grammatical relationships. The word structure is generally subject-verb-object. The word classifier appears after the noun count, though not always present as in Chinese. In spoken language, common topic-commentary structures and social relationships among conversation participants determine word usages, such as pronouns and honorifics.

The Khmer language is unique compared to its neighboring languages, such as Thai, Burmese, Lao, and Vietnamese, as it is not a tonal language. It has been written in the Khmer script since at least the 7th century, which is an abugida script derived from the Brāhmī script and the South Indian Pallava script. Over the centuries, the Khmer script was developed and widely used.

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