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Khmer Languages

Khmer Languages

Khmer [phiəsa khmae]; or more formally as [kheamara phiəsa], or Cambodian, is the language of the Khmer people and the official language of Cambodia. With approximately 16 million speakers, it is the second most widely spoken Austroasiatic language (after Vietnamese). Khmer has been considerably influenced by Sanskrit and Pali, especially in the royal and religious registers, through the vehicles of Hinduism and Buddhism.

It is also the earliest recorded and earliest written language of the Mon–Khmer family, predating Mon and by a significant margin Vietnamese. The Khmer language has influenced, and also been influenced by, Thai, Lao, Vietnamese, Chinese and Cham, all of which, due to geographical proximity and long-term cultural contact, form a sprachbund in peninsular Southeast Asia.

Khmer is primarily an analytic, isolating language. There are no inflections, conjugations or case endings. Instead, particles and auxiliary words are used to indicate grammatical relationships. General word order is subject–verb–object. Many words conform to the typical Mon–Khmer pattern of a "main" syllable preceded by a minor syllable.

The Khmer language is written with an abugida known in Khmer as អក្សរខ្មែរ  [aks;3;H0; kD8;maH0;e], "Khmer script". Khmer differs from neighboring languages such as Thai, Burmese, Lao and Vietnamese in that it is not a tonal language.