Science Fair Project Encyclopedia
|Khmer (ភាសាខ្មែរ - Phéasa Khmér)|
|Spoken in:|| Cambodia,|
Vietnam, Thailand, USA, France, Australia
|Total speakers:|| 7 million native +|
1 million learners
|Official language of:||Cambodia|
Khmer is one of the main Austroasiatic languages. Sanskrit and Pali have had considerable influence on the language, through the vehicles of Buddhism and Hinduism. As result of their geographic proximity, the Khmer language has influenced Thai and Laotian and vice versa.
A notable characteristic of the Phnom Penh accent is a tendency towards what might be considered "relaxed" pronunciation, with some parts slurred together or dropped entirely. 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" in the second position of the first syllable (that is, where "r" is the second consonant, as in the English word "bread"). The "r" is not pronounced, and the first consonant is pronounced harder than usual, and the syllable is spoken with a dipping tone much like the "hỏi" tone in Vietnamese. For example, some people pronounce "dreey" (meaning "fish") as "te"; the "d" becomes a "t", and the vowel (similar to "long A" in English) begins low and rises in tone. Another example is the word for orange: it is pronounced kroich (the older form) by those in the countryside, but simply koich (without the r) by those in the city.
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