Khmer, also known as Cambodian, is the official language of the Kingdom of Cambodia and it is spoken by almost all Cambodians.  Khmer is also understood by people in many bordering countries such as Thailand (in the eastern provinces of Buriram, Surin, and Srisket in the northern Thailand), in the Mekong Delta region of South Vietnam, and in southern Laos.

Khmer is the major modern representative of the Mon-Khmer language family which includes hundreds of related dialects scattered over most of mainland Southeast Asia.  As for foreign influences on the language, the Khmer language has borrowed many words from Sankrit.   With the advent of Theravada Buddhism at the beginning of the fifteenth century, Khmer began to borrow Pali words, and continues to use Pali as a major source of neologisms today.  During the period of French domination, many French words were borrowed into the language and have become a part of the colloquial language, as well as medical and technical terms.  There is also a smattering of Chinese and Vietnamese loanwords in colloquial speech.

Unlike Thai, Vietnamese, and Lao, Khmer is non-tonal and has a high percentage of disyllabic words which are derived from monosyllabic bases by prefixation, and infixation.


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