The Study of Letters and Characters Used in Written
Language Written Khmer has the largest alphabet
and is largely derived from south Indian Brahmi characters.
The Khmer alphabet
has symbols for thirty-three consonants (with a subscript
form if used after a vowel), twenty-four dependent vowels,
twelve independent vowels, and several diacritic marks to
change vowel sounds (Northern Illinois University, Center
for Southeast Asian Studies, 2003; Ager, 2003a).
There are two series of consonants: first (voiceless with
an inherent /a/ sound) and second (voiced with an inherent
/o/ sound). Vowels can be positioned anywhere in relation
to a consonant (including below or under it). Independent
vowels incorporate a consonant and a vowel (Northern Illinois
University, Center for Southeast Asian Studies, 2003).
Example of text in Khmer and the English translation:
All human beings are born free and equal
in dignity and rights. They are endowed with reason and conscience
and should act towards one another in a spirit of brotherhood.
(Article 1 of the Universal Declaration
of Human Rights)