Cham Language, Literature and Literacy

EMC and Breogan Consulting are currently on the 4th iteration of our Cambodian – Cham language literacy program. This blog is a brief summary of the work and achievements.

The Cham Heritage Expansion (CHE) program  involves the standardization of the written form, production of variety of Cham language training materials and text books, other literature, design and implementation of teacher and student training. The teaching program takes place outside state school hours in parallel to the state school system, and thus is supplementary / complementary program.

CHE is currently in its fourth iteration scheduled to complete approximately end 2017. EMC has been the prime contractor for each iteration since 2012, in partnership with Breogan Consulting (and its progenitors), who are experts in anthropology, linguistics and language education and specialize in Cham language. Continue reading

The Cham Muslims of Cambodia: From Forgotten Minority to Focal Point of Islamic Internationalism

Philipp Bruckmayr

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The Cham Muslims of Cambodia are descendents of Champa, a once-powerful Hindu-Buddhist kingdom located in modern-day central and southern Vietnam. Champa existed from the second century CE until its complete annexation by its long-time rival, the Dai Viet, in 1832.1 Its gradual loss of territory caused several waves of immigration to Cambodia between the crucial dates of 1471 and 1835 (the start of violent repression against the Cham in their last, and finally also annexed, principality: Panduranga).2 It seems that the first wave allied itself with Cambodia’s Malay community, with whom the Cham share ethno-linguistic (as both groups are speakers of Austronesian languages) and cultural (e.g., matrilinear customs) heritage, as well as their status as foreign immigrants. Through this contact, they were Islamized. Continue reading

Articulations of Southeast Asian Religious Modernisms: Islam in Early 20th Century Cambodia & Cochinchina

William B. Noseworthy

[ Abstract ]

This article is about the emergence of Islamic modernism among Cham Muslim communities in Cambodia and Cochinchina during the early 20th century. Based on a combined critical reading of existing scholarship, historicized first-hand anthropological accounts, as well as archival sources from the National Archives of Cambodia and the Vietnam National Archives II, it argues accounts of modernists in these sources were either (1) cast through a French colonial reading of a Buddhist state lens and (2) cast through a Malay lens, based upon the Kaum Muda/Kaum Tua divide. First, it proceeds with a historical explanation of the emergence of Islam and the discourse used to describe Muslim communities in Vietnamese, French, and Cham language sources. Then, it turns the narrative toward an examination of the emergence of the “Kaum Muda” or “New Group” of reformist-minded modernist Muslims in early 20th century Cambodia. Delineating the networks of these intellectuals as they stretched across the border through Cochinchina, also highlights a pre-existing transnational element to the community, one that well predates current discussions of twenty-first-century transnationalism. Through a combination of the study of multiple language sources and historical methods, the article highlights the importance of polylingualism in the study of the history of Muslims in Southeast Asia.

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Cambodian Cham Identities in a Global Age

IconeK7_DSC0077-550x300William B. Noseworthy

The Cambodian Genocide: most scholars have heard of it. It is a critical case in ongoing studies of Genocide Studies, International Law as well as Memory and Social Trauma that many teachers will have to address. From forensic anthropologists to criminal investigators, journalists to historiansand even experts in literature—the case of a series of mass killings that emerged out of Cambodia between 1975 and 1979 under the Democratic Kampuchea (DK) regime, most frequently referred to as the “Khmer Rouge”(Kh.: Khmer Kraham), will be an important study for college students and scholars for generations to come. The genocidal policies enacted against the Cham Muslim minority during this period are increasingly well known. In this context, the decade of work by Kok-Thay Eng as Director of Research at the Documentation Center of Cambodia (DC-CAM) is enough to produce several dissertations. In fact, one of the individuals who contributed much of the work to Kok-Thay Eng’s dissertationFrom the Khmer Rouge to Hambali: Cham Identities in a Global Age, Farina So, is now working on her own dissertation based in Lowell, MA. Several other individual researchers, working with DC-CAM critically contributed to this work. The sheer number of interviews conducted by the DC-CAM research center, as well as the number that are cited in this dissertation alone, is impressive. Finally, the lucid presentation of the dissertation’s argument is testament to the author’s success in tackling, by his own admission, his own greatest challenge: writing in a second language. Continue reading



 51QJRr9+YgL 昨年(1999年)11月に、めこん社から『チャンパー歴史・末裔・建築』と題した本が、チャンパやチャム族にはまりこんだ3人の著者の手によって発行された。その一人である写真家の樋口英夫氏が、チャム族を中心とするチャンパの末裔の現在の生活・暮らし・表情を追いかけた記録が、本書である。著者が1992年から1994年にかけ、カンボジア、ベトナム、日本、中国・海南島、マレーシアの地でチャンパの末裔たちと交わった記録が、60ページ以上にわたってのフルページカラー写真とともに綴られている。まず末裔たちがこれほど広い地域に暮していることに驚かされるが、加えてアメリカ、カナダ、フランス、オーストラリアなどにも多くのチャム人が暮しているといわれる。

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The long tragedy of Cham history


Cham people photographed during the period of the French Protectorate . The traditional warfare pattern in South East Asia generally aimed at conquering and dominating sparse populations


The Khmer empire, from the ninth to the 15th century, obviously didn’t develop in isolation. But, looking at the map of Southeast Asia from a historical point of view, it’s nevertheless clear  that this political construction benefited from an unprecedented geopolitical quietness, at least until the 13th century.

The Vietnamese hadn’t even begun their march to the south, and the Thai state was  made up of embryonic chieftainships.

Yet the exception that proved the rule occurred. In the year 1177, guided by a Chinese deserter, the Cham fleet sailed the Mekong river upstream and from Phnom Penh, the Tonle Sap. They took Angkor by urprise, plundering and destroying the town. Continue reading

The Cham Rebellion: Survivors’ Stories from the Villages

41qIEbipT0L._SX336_BO1,204,203,200_Ysa Osma

The Khmer Rouge kept constraining religion, bit by bit. First they forbade during work hours, claiming it was a loss of labor. Even when prayer did not impact work hours later in the day, they still would not permit it. They closed the mosque. One day during the Royaveitaros holiday [Raya Idul Fitri], some villagers made the difficult decision to ask for permission to observe morning prayers since this is such an important day in Islam. They were given permission. But that night the Khmer Rouge arrested everyone who had participated in the day?s prayers. That is when our village rose up and rebelled. If we had not rebelled, they would have killed us all [anyway].


[Dissertation] Prosody and intonation of Western Cham

Ueki, Kaori

University of Hawai’I at Manoa

This dissertation investigates the prosodic and intonational characteristics of Western Cham (three letter code for International Organization for Standardization’s ISO 639-3 code: [iso=cja]), an Austronesian language in the Chamic sub-group. I examine acoustic variables of prominence at word and postlexical levels: syllable duration, pitch excursion, and mean intensity. WC syllable duration is highly correlated with word level prominence. Western Cham disyllabic words display a strong iambicity, with final syllables having twice the duration of initial syllables. This iambicity is also present in phrases comprised of two monosyllabic words. Phrase position has an effect on syllable duration and pitch excursion. Syllables in phrase-final position showed a lengthening effect and display greater pitch movement in phrase-final position. I also present a tonal grammar of Western Cham using the Autosegmental-Metrical framework and the Tones and Break Indices (ToBI) labeling convention. Two prosodic units above the word level were defined: the Accentual Phrase (AP) and Intonational Phrase (IP). Three kinds of tones are defined: edge tones, phrase tone, and pitch accent. With this inventory of tones, a mapping of sentence types to tonal contours is presented.


Lost Magic Book of the Cham: The Muslim Minority in Cambodia

Okawa, Reiko

Untitledはじめに 筆者は 2013 年度に明治学院大学より在外研究 の機会を与えられ,カンボジアのマイノリティ(少 数民族)であるチャム人ムスリムの研究に従事し てきた(1)。それまでの研究は主に,古典期から現 代にかけての中東のアラビア語圏のイスラーム思 想や,現在活躍する英語圏のマイノリティ・ムス リム思想家たちに関するものであった。よって今 Continue reading