Cham
ꨌꩌ
'Cham' in Cham script
Pronunciation[cam]
Native toCambodia and Vietnam
RegionMainland Southeast Asia
EthnicityCham
Native speakers
320,000 (2002 – 2008 census)[1]
Early forms
Dialects
  • Western Cham (245,000)[2]
  • Eastern Cham (73,000)
Cham, Arabic, Latin
Official status
Recognised minority
language in
Language codes
ISO 639-3Either:
cja – Western Cham
cjm – Eastern Cham
Glottologcham1328
ELPEastern Cham

Cham (Cham: ꨌꩌ) is a Malayo-Polynesian language of the Austronesian family, spoken by the Chams of Southeast Asia. It is spoken primarily in the territory of the former Kingdom of Champa, which spanned modern Eastern Cambodia and Southern Vietnam. The Western variety is spoken by 220,000 people in Cambodia and 25,000 people in Vietnam. As for the Eastern variety, there are about 73,000 speakers in Vietnam,[2] for a total of approximately 320,000 speakers.

Cham is the principal and most spoken language among the Chamic languages, which are spoken in parts of mainland Southeast Asia, North Sumatra and on the island of Hainan. Cham is notable for being the oldest-attested Austronesian language, with the Đông Yên Châu inscription being verifiably dated to the late 4th century AD.

Phonology

The Cham language dialects each have 21 consonants and 9 vowels.[3]

Consonants

Cham consonants
Labial Alveolar Palatal Velar Glottal
Plosive voiceless unaspirated p t c k ʔ
voiceless aspirated
Implosive ɓ ɗ
Nasal m n ɲ ŋ
Liquid l
Fricative s ɣ h
Rhotic r*
Approximant j w

Vowels

Monophthongs

Cham vowels
Front Central Back
High i ɨ u
Mid-high e ə o
Mid-low ɛ ɔ
Low a

Diphthongs

ia, (occurs only before ), ea, ua, oa, au (occurs only before ),

, ɛə, ɔə, .

Grammar

This section needs to be updated. Please help update this article to reflect recent events or newly available information. Last update: uses sources from the 19th century (August 2013)

Word formation

There are several prefixes and infixes which can be used for word derivation.[5]

Reduplication is often used:[5]

Syntax and word order

Cham generally uses SVO word order, without any case marking to distinguish subject from object:[6]

Dahlak

I

atong

beat

nhu.

he

Dahlak atong nhu.

I beat he

"I beat him."

Nhu

he

atong

beat

dahlak.

I

Nhu atong dahlak.

he beat I

"He beats me."

Dummy pronominal subjects are sometimes used, echoing the subject:

Inœû hudiêp dahlak

my wife's mother

nhu

she

atong

beat

adẽi puthang nhu.

her husband's younger sister

{Inœû hudiêp dahlak} nhu atong {adẽi puthang nhu.}

{my wife's mother} she beat {her husband's younger sister}

"My wife's mother beats her husband's younger sister."

Composite verbs will behave as one inseparable verb, having the object come after it:

Bloḥ

then

nhu

she

ḍiḥ dii apvẽi

lie at fire (i.e.: give birth)

anẽk lakẽi.

son

Bloḥ nhu {ḍiḥ dii apvẽi} {anẽk lakẽi.}

then she {lie at fire (i.e.: give birth)} son

"Then she gave birth to a son."

Sometimes, however, the verb is placed in front of the subject:

Lêk

fall

dahlak.

I

Lêk dahlak.

fall I

"I fall."

Auxiliary verbs are placed after any objects:

Nhu

he

ba

bring

hudiêp nhu

his wife

nau.

go

Nhu ba {hudiêp nhu} nau.

he bring {his wife} go

"He brings his wife."

If a sentence contains more than one main verb, one of the two will have an adverbial meaning:

Nhu

he

dâp

hide

klaḥ

evade

mœtai.

death

Nhu dâp klaḥ mœtai.

he hide evade death

"He evaded death by hiding."

Adjectives come after the nouns they modify:[7]

thang

house

prong

big

thang prong

house big

"a big house"

If the order is reversed, the whole will behave like a compound:

ôrang

person

prong

big

shap

noise

ôrang prong shap

person big noise

"a noisy person"

Composite sentences can be formed with the particle krung:[8]

thaa drẽi athău thaa drẽi mœyău

the dog and the cat

krung

which

aï nhu brẽi kaa nhu

his brother gave him

{thaa drẽi athău thaa drẽi mœyău} krung {aï nhu brẽi kaa nhu}

{the dog and the cat} which {his brother gave him}

"the dog and the cat his brother gave him"

nau tapak

to go straight

danau

lake

krung

which

aï that ikan

brother is fishing

{nau tapak} danau krung {aï that ikan}

{to go straight} lake which {brother is fishing}

"to go straight to the lake where his brother was fishing"

It is also possible to leave out this particle, without change in meaning:[6]

Dahlak brẽi athêh nan

I give this horse

kaa va dahlak

to my uncle

who

dok dii palẽi Ram.

live in the village of Ram

{Dahlak brẽi athêh nan} {kaa va dahlak} {dok dii palẽi Ram.}

{I give this horse} {to my uncle} who {live in the village of Ram}

"I have given this horse to my uncle, who lives in the village of Ram."

Questions are formed with the sentence-final particle rẽi:[9]

Anẽk

child

thău

know

vakhar

writing

rẽi?

Q

Anẽk thău vakhar rẽi?

child know writing Q

"Can you write, child?"

Other question words are in situ:

Hẽû

you

nau

go

hatau?

where

Hẽû nau hatau?

you go where

"Where are you going?"

Nominals

Like many languages in Eastern Asia, Cham uses numeral classifiers to express amounts.[10] The classifier will always come after the numeral, with the noun coming invariably before or after the classifier-numeral pair.

limϞ

five

boḥ

CLF

chœk

mountain

limœû boḥ chœk

five CLF mountain

"five mountains"

palẽi

village

naṃ

six

boḥ

CLF

palẽi naṃ boḥ

village six CLF

"six villages"

The above examples show the classifier boḥ, which literally means "egg" and is the most frequently used — particularly for round and voluminous objects. Other classifiers are ôrang (person) for people and deities, ḅêk for long objects, blaḥ (leaf) for flat objects, and many others.

The days of the month are counted with a similar system, with two classifiers: one (bangun) used to count days before the full moon, and the other one (ranaṃ) for days after the full moon.[11]

harẽi

day

thaa

one

bangun

CLF

harẽi thaa bangun

day one CLF

"first day after new moon"

harẽi

day

dvaa

two

klaṃ

CLF

harẽi dvaa klaṃ

day two CLF

"second day after full moon"

Personal pronouns behave like ordinary nouns and do not show any case distinctions. There are different forms depending on the level of politeness. The first person singular, for example, is kău in formal or distant context, while it is dahlak (in Vietnam) or hulun (in Cambodia) in an ordinarily polite context. As is the case with many other languages of the region, kinship terms are often used as personal pronouns.[8]

Comparative and superlative are expressed with the locative preposition di/dii:[12]

tapaa

big

di

at

aï nhu

his brother

tapaa di {aï nhu}

big at {his brother}

"bigger than his brother"

Verbs

There are some particles that can be used to indicate tense/aspect.[13] The future is indicated with shi or thi in Vietnam, with hi or si in Cambodia. The perfect is expressed with jϞ. The first one comes in front of the verb:

Arak ni

now

kău

I

shi

FUT

nao.

go

{Arak ni} kău shi nao.

now I FUT go

"I will go now."

The second one is sentence-final:

Shit traa

little more

kău

I

nao

go

jϞ.

PRF

{Shit traa} kău nao jœû.

{little more} I go PRF

"I'll be gone in a moment."

Certain verbs can function as auxiliaries to express other tenses or aspects.[14] The verb dok ("to stay") is used for the continuous, vœk ("to return") for the repetitive aspect, and kiœng ("to want") for the future tense.

The negation is formed with ôh/ô at either or both sides of the verb, or with di/dii[15] in front.[13]

The imperative is formed with the sentence-final particle bêk, and the negative imperative with the preverbal jvai/jvẽi (in Vietnam and Cambodia respectively).[13]

Sociolinguistics

Diglossia

Brunelle observed two phenomena of language use among speakers of Eastern Cham: They are both diglossic and bilingual (in Cham and Vietnamese). Diglossia is the situation where two varieties of a language are used in a single language community, and oftentimes one is used on formal occasions (labelled H) and the other is more colloquial (labelled L).[16][17]

Dialectal differences

Cham is divided into two primary dialects.

The two regions where Cham is spoken are separated both geographically and culturally. The more numerous Western Cham are predominantly Muslims (although some in Cambodia now practice Theravāda Buddhism), while the Eastern Cham practice both Hinduism and Islam. Ethnologue states that the Eastern and Western dialects are no longer mutually intelligible. The table below gives some examples of words where the two dialects differed as of the 19th century.[18]

Cambodia southern Vietnam
vowels
child anœk anẽk
take tuk tôk
not jvẽi jvai
sibilants
one sa tha
save from drowning srong throng
salt sara shara
equal samu hamu
final consonants
heavy trap trak
in front anap anak
lexical differences
market pasa darak
hate amoḥ limuk

Lê et al. (2014:175)[19] lists a few Cham subgroups.

Writing systems

Cham script is a Brahmic script.[2] The script has two varieties: Akhar Thrah (Eastern Cham) and Akhar Srak (Western Cham). The Western Cham language is written with the Arabic script or the aforementioned Akhar Srak.[20][21]

Dictionaries

The Ming dynasty Chinese Bureau of Translators produced a Chinese-Cham dictionary.[citation needed]

John Crawfurd's 1822 work "Malay of Champa" contains a dictionary of the Cham language.[citation needed]

See also

Notes

  1. ^ Western Cham at Ethnologue (18th ed., 2015)
    Eastern Cham at Ethnologue (18th ed., 2015)
  2. ^ a b c "Cham". The Unicode Standard, Version 11.0. Mountain View, CA: Unicode Consortium. p. 661.
  3. ^ Ueki, Kaori (2011). Prosody and Intonation of Western Cham (PDF) (Ph.D. thesis). University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa.
  4. ^ Smith, Alexander D. (2013). A Grammatical Sketch of Eastern Cham.
  5. ^ a b Aymonier 1889, chapt. X
  6. ^ a b Aymonier 1889, chapt. XXI
  7. ^ Aymonier 1889, chapt. XIII
  8. ^ a b Aymonier 1889, chapt. XII
  9. ^ Aymonier 1889, chapt. XIX
  10. ^ Aymonier 1889, chapt. XI
  11. ^ Aymonier 1889, chapt. VIII
  12. ^ Aymonier 1889, chapt. XVI
  13. ^ a b c Aymonier 1889, chapt. XV
  14. ^ Aymonier 1889, chapt. XIV
  15. ^ This happens to be homophonous with the locative preposition.
  16. ^ Brunelle, Marc (2008). "Diglossia, Bilingualism, and the Revitalization of Written Eastern Cham". Language Documentation & Conservation. 2 (1): 28–46. hdl:10125/1848.
  17. ^ Brunelle, Marc (2009). "Diglossia and Monosyllabization in Eastern Cham: A Sociolinguistic Study". In Stanford, J. N.; Preston, D. R. (eds.). Variation in Indigenous Minority Languages. John Benjamins. pp. 47–75.
  18. ^ Aymonier 1889, chapt. IX
  19. ^ Lê Bá Thảo, Hoàng Ma, et. al; Viện hàn lâm khoa học xã hội Việt Nam - Viện dân tộc học. 2014. Các dân tộc ít người ở Việt Nam: các tỉnh phía nam. Ha Noi: Nhà xuất bản khoa học xã hội. ISBN 978-604-90-2436-8
  20. ^ Hosken, Martin (2019), L2/19-217 Proposal to Encode Western Cham in the UCS (PDF)
  21. ^ Bruckmayr, Philipp (2019). "The Changing Fates of the Cambodian Islamic Manuscript Tradition". Journal of Islamic Manuscripts. 10 (1): 1–23. doi:10.1163/1878464X-01001001.

Further reading