Khmer, Northern


A language of Thailand

Alternate Names
Khmer Lue, Thailand Khmer

1,400,000 (2006 Mahidol University), decreasing. Very few monolinguals.


Surin, Buriram, Chanthaburi, Sisaket, and Ubon Ratchathani provinces.

Language Status

5 (Developing).


Buriram, Surin, Sisaket. Different from Khmer [khm]. Dialects mutually intelligible. Many local varieties.


SVO; prepositions; genitives, modifiers, relatives after noun heads; 1 prefix; CV, CVC, CCV; nontonal.

Language Use

Vigorous in towns; replaced by Northeastern Thai [tts] and Thai [tha] in cities. A few Chinese shopkeepers speak it. Education, media, religious services, commerce. Positive attitudes. Also use Khmer [khm], Northeastern Thai [tts], Thai [tha]. Used as L2 by Kuay [kdt].

Language Development
Literacy rate in L2: 50%–75%. 1,000 can read Northern Khmer, 100 can write it. Bible: 2003.

Khmer script [Khmr]. Thai script [Thai].

Other Comments

Buddhist, Christian.

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