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   Information Center Cambodia
Cambodia General Information
 
History of Cambodia
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Cambodia People, Languages & Religions
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People, Languages & Religions in Cambodia
 
 
 

People

Over 90% of the entire population in 1999 were ethnic Khmers, descendants of the original population in the area. The largest minority groups were the Vietnamese, estimated at 5% of the population, and the Chinese, estimated at 1%. Groups designated as other comprised the remaining 4% of the population. National minorities are the Cham and a number of small tribal groups.

Language

Khmer, the national language, is spoken by most inhabitants. Unlike Thai or Vietnamese, Khmer is a non-tonal language; most words are monosyllabic. French, the second language, is often used in commercial and official circles. The Vietnamese and the Chinese use their own languages, as do other minorities.

In recent decades, many younger Cambodians and those in the business-class have favoured learning English. In the major cities and tourist centres, English is widely spoken and taught at a large number of schools due to the overwhelming number of tourists from English-speaking countries. Even in the most rural outposts, however, most young people speak at least some English, as it is often taught by monks at the local pagodas where many children are educated.

Religion

The dominant religion, a form of Theravada Buddhism (95%), was suppressed by the Khmer Rouge but has since experienced a revival. Islam (3%) and Christianity (2%) are also practiced. The Chinese and most Vietnamese in Cambodia practice a traditional mixture of Mahayana Buddhism, Taoism, Confucianism, ancestor worship and animism.

 

 
 

 



 


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