Expert: Khmer Language Butchered by Cambodian Media

The Khmer-language media, particularly newspapers and magazines, use grammatically incorrect sentences by applying spoken words to writing, a linguistic expert told attendees at a workshop last week on Khmer language in the media.

The errors stem from forgetting the meaning of Khmer words, and a lack of expertise on ex­­pressing ideas in a written form, said Khin Sok, pro­fessor of Southeast Asia Ling­uistic and Civ­i­lization Ins­titute in Paris.

“If our Khmer linguistics is in a disorderly situation, within the next 10 years, our children will not understand it,” Khin Sok said.

Like many aspects of Cambo­dian society, Khmer language was attacked during the Khmer Rouge regime, with words being changed or abolished.

Sam Rainy Party Senator Thach Setha said he could not understand some stories in newspapers because they use grammatically incorrect sentences.

Khieu Navy, deputy editor-in-chief of the leading Khmer-language newspaper Rasmei Kam­pu­chea (Light of Cambodia) ac­knowledged that his publication sometimes uses incorrect phrases and sentences.

“I willingly accept this constructive criticism, and we will try hard to write grammatically correct stories,” said Khieu Navy, who added that journalists are not trained enough in writing.

Government officials recommend that ministries should work on improving Khmer to prevent the misuse of the language.

 

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