The national language of Cambodia.
belongs to the Mon-Khmer subfamily of the Austro-Asiatic languages.
written with an Indian-derived alphabet.
spoken by some 8
- has had considerable influence from Sanskrit,and Pali. Some of
these influences, such as Sanskrit and Pali, come from the influence
of Buddhism and Hinduism on Khmer culture; the latter two are the
result of linguistic contact and geographic proximity.
- the Cambodian language is somewhat unusual
among its neighboring countries' languages of Thai, Lao and Vietnamese
in that it is not a tonal language.
- Dialects are sometimes quite marked; notable variations are found
in speakers from Phnom Penh (the capital city) and Battambong.
- A notable characteristic of the Phnom Penh accent is a tendency
toward slang and laziness in pronunciation, much like American urban
slang. For instance, "Phnom Penh" will sometimes be shortened to "m'Penh".
Another characteristic of the Phnom Penh accent is observed in words
with an "r" subconsonant in the first syllable (that is, where r is
the second consonant, as in the English word "bread"). The r is not
pronounced, the first consonant is pronounced harder than usual, and
the syllable is spoken with a dipping tone much like the "hoi" tone in
the Vietnamese language. For example, I have heard the word "dreey"
(meaning "fish") pronounced "te"; the "d" becomes a "t", and the vowel
(long A) begins low and rises in tone.