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The Khmer Language – The Language of Cambodia (also known as Cambodian)

The Khmer language is the speech of the Khmer/Cambodian people. It is the principal language of Cambodia. It is the second most commonly spoken tongue after Vietnamese. It is spoken in seven different countries of which Thailand and Vietnam are included. There are 14 million Khmer speakers in the world and different Khmer dialects

The Khmer language has been affected by Sanskrit and Pali. Sanskrit is a religious language of Hinduism and used in the literature of Jainism and Buddhism. Pali is the language of the first existing sacred writings of Buddhism.

In the written Khmer language, there are consonant-vowel series that are written as a single group. Khmer is written left-to-right with vowel symbols that can be put before, after, or below the consonant they trail. 

There are different Khmer dialects that can be mostly understood by all speakers of the Khmer language. The Khmer tongues are interchangeable but do have some differences. The Khmer speaker from Phnom Penh may have some trouble understanding a Khmer from the Surin Province, Cardamom Mountains, in southern Vietnam. The dialects are homogeneous from the north to the south. A Khmer Knom from Vietnam may have some trouble speaking to a Khmer in Sisaket Province in Thailand.

The Khmer make up 90% of the Cambodian population. The great Khmer empire thrived from the 9th to the 13th centuries. The present countries of Thailand, Cambodia, Laos, and southern Vietnam were in the Khmer empire. The marginal areas were lost to Siam and Vietnam. France became a protector to Cambodia in 1863. Cambodia gained independence in 1953. In 1970 the Khmer Rouge, Communist guerrillas, took over Cambodia. Around 1.7 million people perished under the Khmer Rouge from 1975 to 1979. Vietnam plundered Cambodia and thousands of people went to Thailand. After much fighting, there is stability in Cambodia now. 

The Khmer Empire was the biggest empire in Southeast Asia during the 12th century. The seat of the Khmer empire was the capital Angkor. It was the biggest city in the world at that time. Angkor has an area of 1,150 square miles. Angkor Wat is the famous religious temple there.

Theravada Buddhism is the official tenet of Cambodia. There is a decree in Cambodia saying a shrine was built by King Jayavarman and his son, Rudravarman for Buddha. A Brahman was chosen to protect the shrine. The Khmer support Brahmanism which comes from Hinduism and Buddhism. Brahmanism is a common religious practice of orthodox Hinduism . From the practice comes the Brahmanism with the caste framework and equates God with the forces and laws of the universe. Theravada Buddhists comprise more than 95% of Cambodians. The ethnic Khmer are mostly Buddhist and the Khmer's customs and daily life reflect their Buddhist creed. Most of the Khmer follow an extreme combination of Theravada Buddhism, Hinduism, belief that creation has a conscious life, and veneration of ancestors.

Contact Axis Translations for assistance with Khmer or Cambodian translation and transcription.