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The coursework in Khmer (Cambodian) at the University of Hawai’i (UH) is offered by the Department of Indo-Pacific Languages and Literatures. It includes four levels of study. Courses on other aspects of Cambodia (such as history, anthropology, archeology, art, art history, historic preservation, economics, environmental studies, peace studies, business, and Asian Studies) are offered by experts on the staff of other UH departments.

Khmer is the official language of Cambodia and one of the major languages of Southeast Asia. It is spoken by eleven million people in Cambodia and nearly three million more outside Cambodia. It belongs to a family of languages widely distributed in southern Asia and is the idiom of one of the earliest of the great nation-states in the region. As such it is the vehicle of sophisticated forms of architecture, the plastic arts, music, dance, literature and statecraft which are transmitted to Cambodia’s neighbors and which are still admired today. The writing system it employs is a member of the Indic script family, which spread from India into Inner Asia and all of Southeast Asia except Vietnam. Khmer is a non-tonal but has vowel distinctions not found in English; its grammar is uncomplicated, with neither verb conjugations nor noun declensions, and is not unlike that of English.

For more information on the Khmer (Cambodian) language program, please visit the website:

For more information on the Advanced Study of Khmer Study Abroad Program, please visit the website:

For more information Khmer language resources and research, please visit here:

Language Certificate: Cambodian/Khmer

Upon completing 15 credit-hours beyond the intermediate level with a 3.0 GPA in their coursework, the student may apply for a Certificate in Khmer. More details about language certificate.

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