Cham language

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Cham
ꨌꩌ
Cham Script.svg
'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​ Southern Vietnam, as well as in Cambodia by a significant population which descends from refugees that fled during the decline and fall of Champa. 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 belongs to the Chamic languages, which are spoken in parts of mainland Southeast Asia, North Sumatra and on the island of Hainan. Cham is the oldest-attested Austronesian language, with the Đông Yên Châu inscription being verifiably dated to the late 4th century AD.

Phonology[edit]

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

Consonants[edit]

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
  • /r/ in Western Cham is heard as a velar fricative [ɣ]. In Eastern Cham, it is heard as an alveolar flap [ɾ], glide [ɹ], or trill [r].[4]

Vowels[edit]

Monophthongs[edit]

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

Diphthongs[edit]

/ia/, /iɯ/ (occurs only before /-ʔ/), /ea/, /ua/, /oa/, /au/ (occurs only before /-ʔ/), /iə/, /ɛə/, /ɔə/, /uə/.

Grammar[edit]

Word formation[edit]

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

  • prefix pa-: causative, sometimes giving more force to the word
    • thau (to know) → pathau (to inform)
    • blei (to buy) → pablei (to sell)
    • biér (low) → pabiér (to lower)
    • yao (like, as) → payao (to compare)
    • (finished) → pajâ (well finished)
  • prefix mâ-: sometimes causative, often indicates a state, possession, mutuality, reciprocity
    • jru (poison) → mâjru (to poison)
    • gru(teacher) → mâgru (to study)
    • tian (belly) → mâtian (pregnancy)
    • boh (egg, fruit) → mâboh (lay an egg, give fruit)
    • daké (horn) → mâdaké (having horns)
  • prefix ta- or da-: frequentative
    • galung (to roll) → tagalung (to roll around)
    • dep (to hide oneself) → dadep (to be wont to hide oneself)
  • infix -an-: noun formation
    • puec (to speak) → panuec (speech)
    • tiw (row) → taniw (oar)
    • dok (to live) → danok (house, living place)
  • infix -mâ-: no specific meaning
    • payao (to compare) → pamâyao (to compare)

Reduplication is often used:[5]

  • palei, pala-palei (country)
  • rambah, rambah-rambâp (misery)

Syntax and word order[edit]

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

Dahlak

I

atong

beat

nyu.

he

Dahlak atong nyu.

I beat he

"I beat him."

Nyu

he

atong

beat

dahlak.

I

Nyu atong dahlak.

he beat I

"He beats me."

Dummy pronominal subjects are sometimes used, echoing the subject:

Inâ hudiap dahlak

my wife's mother

nyu

she

atong

beat

adei puthang nyu.

her husband's younger sister

{Inâ hudiap dahlak} nyu atong {adei puthang nyu.}

{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:

Bloh

then

nyu

she

ndih di apvei

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

anek lakei.

son

Bloh nyu {ndih di apvei} {anek lakei.}

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:

Lék

fall

dahlak.

I

Lék dahlak.

fall I

"I fall."

Auxiliary verbs are placed after any objects:

Nyu

he

ba

bring

hudiap nyu

his wife

nao.

go

Nyu ba {hudiap nyu} nao.

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:

Nyu

he

dep

hide

klaḥ

evade

mâtai.

death

Nyu dep klaḥ mâtai.

he hide evade death

"He evaded death by hiding."

Adjectives come after the nouns they modify:[7]

thang

house

praong

big

thang praong

house big

"a big house"

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

urang

person

praong

big

sap

noise

urang praong sap

person big noise

"a noisy person"

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

tha drei athau tha drei mâyau

the dog and the cat

krung

which

ai nyu brei ka nyu

his brother gave him

{tha drei athau tha drei mâyau} krung {ai nyu brei ka nyu}

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

"the dog and the cat his brother gave him"

nao tapak

to go straight

danao

lake

krung

which

ai that ikan

brother is fishing

{nao tapak} danao krung {ai 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 brei athéh nan

I give this horse

ka wa dahlak

to my uncle

who

dok dii palei Ram.

live in the village of Ram

{Dahlak brei athéh nan} {ka wa dahlak} {dok dii palei 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]

Anek

child

thau

know

wakhar

writing

rei?

Q

Anek thau wakhar rei?

child know writing Q

"Can you write, child?"

Other question words are in situ:

Hau

you

nao

go

hatao?

where

Hau nao hatao?

you go where

"Where are you going?"

Nominals[edit]

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.

limâ

five

boḥ

CLF

châk

mountain

limâ boḥ châk

five CLF mountain

"five mountains"

palei

village

naṃ

six

boḥ

CLF

palei 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]

harei

day

tha

one

bangun

CLF

harei tha bangun

day one CLF

"first day after new moon"

harei

day

dua

two

klaṃ

CLF

harei dua 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]

tapa

big

di

at

ai nyu

his brother

tapa di {ai nyu}

big at {his brother}

"bigger than his brother"

Verbs[edit]

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

Arak ni

now

kau

I

si

FUT

nao.

go

{Arak ni} kau si nao.

now I FUT go

"I will go now."

The second one is sentence-final:

Sit tra

little more

kau

I

nao

go

.

PRF

{Sit tra} kau nao .

{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, wâk ("to return") for the repetitive aspect, and kieng ("to want") for the future tense.

The negation is formed with oh/o 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 bék, and the negative imperative with the preverbal juai/juei (in Vietnam and Cambodia respectively).[13]

Sociolinguistics[edit]

Diglossia[edit]

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[edit]

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[edit]

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[edit]

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

John Crawfurd's 1822 work "Journal of an Embassy to the Courts of Siam and Cochin-China" contains a wordlist of the Cham language.[22]: 40 

See also[edit]

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ Western Cham at Ethnologue (18th ed., 2015) (subscription required)
    Eastern Cham at Ethnologue (18th ed., 2015) (subscription required)
  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. S2CID 167038700.
  22. ^ Thurgood, Graham (1999). From Ancient Cham to Modern Dialects: Two Thousand Years of Language Contact and Change: With an Appendix of Chamic Reconstructions and Loanwords. Oceanic Linguistics Special Publications. University of Hawai'i Press. ISBN 0824821319. JSTOR 20006770.

Further reading[edit]

External links[edit]