- Khmer language
or Cambodian languageMon-Khmer language spoken by more than seven million people in Cambodia (where it is the national language), southern Vietnam, and parts of Thailand.Khmer is written in a distinctive script, which, like the writing systems of Burmese, Thai, and Lao, is descended from the South Asian Pallava script (see Indic writing systems); the earliest inscription in Old Khmer is from the 7th century. During the Angkor period (9th–15th centuries), Khmer lent many words to Thai, Lao, and other languages of the region (see Tai languages). Khmer itself has borrowed many learned words from Sanskrit and Pali.
* * *also called Cambodian,Mon-Khmer language spoken by most of the population of Cambodia, where it is the official language, and by some 1.3 million people in southeastern Thailand, and also by more than a million people in southern Vietnam. The language has been written since the early 7th century using a script originating in South India. The language used in the ancient Khmer empire and in Angkor, its capital, was Old Khmer, which is a direct ancestor of modern Khmer. Several hundred monumental inscriptions found in Cambodia, southern Vietnam, and parts of Thailand, dating from the 7th to the 15th century, attest to the former widespread use and prestige of the language. It has exerted a lasting influence on the languages of the region, as evidenced by the large number of Khmer borrowings found in Thai, Lao, Kuay, Stieng, Samre, Cham, and others. Khmer has in turn liberally borrowed from Sanskrit and Pāli, especially for philosophical, administrative, and technical vocabulary.
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