Cham, Western

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A language of Cambodia

Alternate Names
Cambodian Cham, Cham, New Cham, Tjam
Population

204,000 in Cambodia (2009 UNSD). No monolinguals. Ethnic population: 400,000. Total users in all countries: 246,990.

Location

Scattered, nearly half of the Cham in Cambodia live in Kampong Cham and Tbong Khmum provinces, where they are about 6% of the total population. Cham also live dispersed through all other provinces especially Kampong Chhnang and Kratié provinces.

Language Maps
Language Status

6a (Vigorous).

Dialects

None known. Cannot communicate with Eastern Cham [cjm] of central Viet Nam. Lexical similarity: 84% with Eastern Cham [cjm] of Viet Nam (Pawley and Pawley 2010), 69% with Jarai [jra] of northeast Cambodia.

Language Use

All domains. All ages. Positive attitudes. All also use Central Khmer [khm].

Language Development
Literacy rate in L1: 30%. Literacy rate in L2: 50% in Khmer [khm]. Many children learn to read Cham using Arabic-based script in madrassah schools. In one sect, most people over age 50 can read using the ancient Cham script called Kakha. Radio programs. Dictionary.
Writing

Arabic script, Naskh variant [Arab]. Cham script [Cham]. Latin script [Latn].

Other Comments

Small ethnic groups from Cambodia settled in Thailand but no longer speak Cham (Bradley 2007a). Muslim.

Also spoken in:

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