Cham (language)

from Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Spoken in

Vietnam , Thailand , Cambodia , People's Republic of China ( Hainan ) and some other countries
speaker about 323,000 native speakers (2002, according to Ethnologue)
Official status
Recognized minority /
regional language in
Language codes
ISO 639 -2


ISO 639-3

cja for the western Cham
cjm for the eastern Cham

The Cham language is the Cham language today ; it used to be the main language in the Hindu kingdom of Champa (2nd century to 1471). Cham is unique in that, unlike the other Austronesian languages, it is spoken predominantly on the Asian mainland and not on the numerous islands and archipelagos.

Cham is spoken by about 100,000 speakers in Vietnam and 220,000 speakers in Cambodia. There are also smaller companies in Thailand, Malaysia and on the Chinese island of Hainan. Languages ​​related to the Cham are spoken in various countries in mainland Asia and on the island of Hainan:

Related languages ​​of the Cham
Vietnam China Cambodia Indonesia
Eastern Cham, Raglai , Rhade , Jarai , Chru , H'roi Tsat (language) (also Huihui, Utset) Western Cham (a modern form of Cham) Aceh


The Cham use two different scripts. In Vietnam the old Cham script is used, while in Cambodia the majority of those with writing ability use the Arabic script .


Cham is one of the languages ​​spoken extremely differently by male and female speakers. Men of the Cham, who can read and write traditionally, use the vocabulary of the older Cham language, while women speak a "modern" form of the Cham, as they are mostly not trained to read and write.


See: Kingdom of Champa

After the defeat by the Vietnamese in 1471, many Cham migrated to the interior of Southeast Asia , which formed the origin of the Cambodian Cham society and today represent the largest group of speakers of the Cham. They are mainly fishermen on the waterways of Vietnam and Cambodia.

The Cham gradually adopted Islam since the 14th century , but even today they have little contact with other Muslim groups. Vietnamese groups mix Islam with Hinduism and worship many gods, including Po Adam ( Adam ) and Po Hawa ( Eve ).


  • Étienne Aymonier and Antoine Cabaton: Dictionnaire Cam-Français . Paris: Leroux 1906.
  • DL Blood and D. Blood: East Cham language . Vietnam data microfiche series, no. VD 51-72. Huntington Beach, Calif: Summer Institute of Linguistics 1977.
  • DL Blood: A romanization of the Cham language in relation to the Cham script . Vietnam data microfiche series, no. VD51-17. Dallas: Summer Institute of Linguistics 1977.
  • Gerard Moussay: Dictionnaire Cam-Vietnamien-Français. Phan Rang: Center Culturel Cam 1971.
  • G. Thurgood: From ancient Cham to modern dialects: two thousand years of language contact and change . Oceanic linguistics special publication, no. 28. Honolulu: University of Hawai'i Press 1999. ISBN 0824821319 .

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