|Native to||Vietnam, Cambodia, United States|
|Vietnam: modified Vietnamese alphabet; Cambodia: none|
Recognised minority language in
The Jarai language is a Malayo-Polynesian language spoken by the Jarai people of Vietnam and Cambodia. The speakers of Jarai number approximately 332,557. They are the largest of the upland ethnic groups of Vietnam's Central Highlands known as Degar or Montagnards.
A number of Jarai also live in the United States, having resettled there following the Vietnam War.
Influenced by the surrounding Mon–Khmer languages, words of the various Chamic languages of Southeast Asia, including Jarai, have become disyllabic with the stress on the second syllable. Additionally, Jarai has further evolved in the pattern of Mon–Khmer, losing almost all vowel distinction in the initial syllable. While trisyllabic words do exist, they are all loanwords. The typical Jarai word may be represented:
where the values in parentheses are optional and "(C)" in the cluster "C(C)" represents a liquid consonant /l/, /r/ or a semivowel /w/, /j/. In Jarai dialects spoken in Cambodia, the "(C)" in the cluster "C(C)" can also be the voiced velar fricative /ɣ/, a phoneme used by the Jarai in Cambodia, but not attested in Vietnam. The vowel of the first sylable in disyllabic words is most often the mid-central unrounded vowel, /ə/, unless the initial consonant is the glottal stop /ʔ/. The second vowel of the stressed syllable produces a diphthong.
- Lafont, Pierre-Bernard & Nguyễn Văn Trọng (1968). Lexique jarai, français, viêtnamien, parler de la province de Plei Ku. Publications de l'Ecole française d'Extrême-Orient, v 63. Paris: École française d'Extrême-Orient.
- Pittman, R. S. (1957). Jarai as a member of the Malayo-Polynesian family of languages. Fargo, N.D.: Summer Institute of Linguistics, University of North Dakota.
- Reed, R. (1976). Jorai primer, guide and writing book. Vietnam education microfiche series, no. VE55-01/08/04. Huntington Beach, Calif: Summer Institute of Linguistics.
- Rơmah Dêl (1977). Từ Diển Việt - Gia Rai [Vietnamese - Jarai dictionary]. Hà Nội: Nhà xuất bản khoa học xã hội.
- Tong Nang, N. (1975). An outline of Jarai grammar. Vietnam data microfiche series, no. VD55-01. Huntington Beach, Calif: Summer Institute of Linguistics.
- Siu, Lap M. (2009), Developing the First Preliminary Dictionary of North American Jarai. Master of Arts thesis in Anthropology, Texas Tech University.
- A Preliminary Jarai - English Online Dictionary
- Preliminary research on Jarai phonology in Cambodia
- Fairly comprehensive bibliography of Jarai language research