National Assembly secretary-general Leng Peng Long has called for a push to study the French language, once used widely in Cambodia but since overtaken by English.
Mr Peng Long spoke at a French language Francophonie organisation seminar run by the assembly yesterday.
After the Second World War, France established the Francophonie, 56 French-speaking countries whose aim was to preserve the French language, culture and education.
Although Cambodia is a member of the group, it has not stopped English from taking over as the main language among Cambodia’s youth. Mr Peng Long said English had taken over because of failure by Europe.
“Most countries in the world are dominated by the United States and workplaces and others use the English language for communication, so the French language is no longer used very much,” he said. “Now only a few old people still speak French and some young people studying French can also speak it.”
More than 100 people from the Senate, the National Assembly, a French senator and NGO representatives along with embassy officials attended the seminar.
Mr Peng Long said Cambodia was a member of the parliamentary assembly of Francophonie and the country always took part in its programs.
“Now in Cambodia, the use of English is more effective than French,” he said. “However, French also has a lot interest too, such as in the fields of medicine and law. Cambodia also has schools teaching French.”
Mr Peng Long said Cambodia wanted to increase the study of French.
“We want to push the people to study French more through the Francophonie parliamentary assembly’s Noria program,” he said.
Mirelle Eza, director of the Noria program co-organised with Cambodia, said she would work hard to promote the use of French.
“I hope this seminar will produce good ideas to promote the use of French,” she said.