The "Khmer" Language

Cambodian, also known as “Khmer”, is the official language of the Kingdom of Cambodia. It is also spoken in northeastern Thailand (Khmer Surin) and in the Mekong Delta region of southern Vietnam (Khmer Kraom), as these were both Cambodian territories. 

Dating back to the 7th century, Khmer is one of the Austroasiatic languages (*). Following the spread of Hinduism and Buddhism in Cambodia, it was influenced by Sanskrit and Pali (**).

Unlike the languages of neighboring countries, Khmer is non-tonal, meaning that words are stressed on the final syllable.

As for its script (Khmer: អក្សរខ្មែរ), it too is based on the ancient Indian alphabet.


(*) Austroasiatic languages are a family of languages spoken mainly in Southeast Asia and eastern India.

(**) Sanskrit and Pali are ancient South Asian languages in which the sacred texts of Buddhism are written.