About the Khmer Language
Khmer, also known as Cambodian, is the language of the Khmer people and the official language of the Kingdom of Cambodia. Belonging to the Mon-Khmer language family, which includes other languages and dialects spoken in parts of Myanmar and the Malay world as well as in Cambodia, Khmer is one of the oldest languages of Southeast Asia. Spoken Khmer likely dates back to the beginning of the Christian era; written Khmer, based on an Indian-style alphabet known simply as Aksar Khmer, dates from the third century AD. In marked contrast to Vietnamese, Thai, Lao, and Burmese, Khmer is not a tonal language. However, not unlike Thai, Lao, and Burmese, Khmer has been influenced by Sanskrit and Pali, largely as a result of the spread of Hinduism and Buddhism in Cambodia. Currently, Khmer is spoken by 14 million people who live in Cambodia and by sizeable communities who live in the Mekong Delta area in Southern Vietnam and northern Thailand.