Khmer Alphabet


The Khmer alphabet is used to write the official language of Cambodia, as well as for Pali in the Buddhist liturgy of Cambodia and Thailand. It originated from the Pallava letter, which came from  Brahmi 11000–1104D . It became the basis for  Thai 0E01–0E4F and  Lao 0E81–0EC6 .

The oldest monument of Khmer script dates back to 611. It was found in the Angkor Borei area in Takeo Province. Modern writing is somewhat different from the way the inscriptions found in the ruins were made. Originally there were 35 consonant characters, but nowadays only 33 are used.

The Khmer alphabet is considered an abugida. It means that it's a consonant system, where a consonant letter forms a syllable with a base vowel. Other vowels are indicated by diacritics. In abugidas diacritics are connected to the main symbol, thus modifying it. These are the so-called signature vowels. However, there are also independent vowel symbols.