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By Prof. John Haiman

Cambodian is in lots of respects a regular Southeast Asian language, whose syntax at the least on first acquaintance turns out to approximate that of any SVO pidgin. On nearer acquaintance, despite the fact that, as a result of richness of its idioms, the language appears to be like a forbiddingly alien type of “Desesperanto” - a language of which possible learn a web page and comprehend each be aware separately, and feature no inkling of what the web page was once all approximately. Like the various languages of its genetic (Austroasiatic) relatives, its simple root vocabulary turns out to consist mostly of sesquisyllabic or iambic phrases, even though there are a huge variety of unassimilated borrowings from Indic languages (which appear to play a similar position in Cambodian that Latinate borrowings do in English). Morphologically, Cambodian has a reasonably complicated method of derivational affixes, and it's attainable that the genesis of some of the commonest of those affixes is expounded to (and undoes) the consistent relief of unstressed preliminary syllables in sesquisyllabic phrases. back like the various languages of Southeast Asia, Cambodian indicates in its lexicon a penchant for symmetrical ornamental compounding, a phenomenon that's so marginally attested in Western languages that the phenomenon has obtained little realization within the typological literature.

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Extra resources for Cambodian: Khmer

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Pali tolerates word--final short vowels. khu' > mu(')tho' > sa()te' "age" "multi-" "senior monk" "object" "idea, opinion" Note that this is not the same as providing every open syllable with a final glottal stop (as enforced in the careful pronunciation of Pali): only the final short syllable of an assimilated Khmer word must (invariably) be closed. Finally. Pali borro'Wings may betray their status through morphological peculiarities. Suffixation is foreign. Inflectional categories are foreign.

I have rejected the idea of truth in advertising and of calling this a grammar of purely literary Cambodian for one reason: Since I believe that the vocalic reduction of the initial syllable in the demotic played a central role in the development of the morphology of both the written and spoken registers, I have had no choice but to straddle the written/spoken line also: ·with the proviso, however, that it is a more complete and reliable description of the written language, one that tosses a bone now and then to the reality of the demotic.

Gregerson 1976, Huffman 1976. It is apparently lost in Surin Khmer (Jenner 1974: 61), but still extant in the variety of the Central dialect spoken in the Cardainom mountains near the Thai border, d. Martin 1975. It should be noted that the orthography is not only a theory about the existence of register. but also about its origin: the phonemicization of breathy register arose with the loss of voiced consonants, and breathy register is indicated by the graphs for those vanished voiced consonaiits, cf.

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