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Academics call for language preservation

Khy Sovuthy / Khmer Times Share:

Language must be preserved while also keeping up with a developing society, said Sok Touch, president of the Royal Academy of Cambodia, during a language workshop recently.

Speaking during a workshop on ‘Translating from the Latin alphabet to the Khmer Language and from the Khmer Language to the Latin alphabet’ at the RAC in Phnom Penh on Thursday, Mr Touch said that scholars and scientists must continue to uphold the Khmer language to a consistent standard while also developing the language to correspond with the times.

“Language cannot just be preserved but it must also develop for science. However, scholars and scientists are sleepy, so language development is also sleepy,” Mr Touch said.

“Under the Constitution, the Khmer language is the official language, so, people such as doctors, are experts of the Khmer language,” he said, noting that language must be consistent across all sectors of the society.

The event was attended by 200 people, including government officials, teachers and students. During the workshop, Mr Touch appealed to all ministries and other units to cooperate with the RAC to improve and promote the Khmer language.

“To all ministries, please, do not publish glossaries without them being reviewed and discussed by the Royal Academy of Cambodia,” Mr Touch said, noting that the Cambodian National Language Council at the RAC should be able to request ministers to review and discuss glossaries for the sake of national unity through the use of a consistent language.

Mr Touch said that language should unite a nation, as it is used for official records in the state and private sector.

“We need to be proud, even though our country is small, but we have our national language,” Mr Touch said.

“The Cambodian government created the National Council for Khmer Language to fulfil important roles, especially in organising a policy on the Khmer language,” Mr Touch added. “We must unite to transliterate phonetics from Khmer to the Latin alphabet and transliterate phonetics from the Latin alphabet to Khmer.”

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