Scholar Who Documented Endangered Cambodian Indigenous Language Gains Recognition

The stoic professor taught Sanskrit and linguistics some 20 years ago to students who became Cambodia’s most accomplished linguists.

He spent months in Cambodia’s most sparsely-populated province, over a period of years, to document one of the country’s minority languages, Bunong.

Sylvain Vogel, a native French and German speaker who grew up in the Alsace-Lorraine region of France, has written and published four books about Bunong while the language’s sustained existence in northeastern Cambodia is threatened by modernization and encroachment by a growing population.

Vogel has spent most of the past 25 years in Cambodia studying, researching and teaching, and helping anchor the fledgling re-birth of a culture of scholarship in this Southeast Asian country following the repressive and anti-intellectual Khmer Rouge rule of the 1970s.

Read more: Voice of America

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