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Khmer, Northern in Thailand

Khmer, Northern

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Khmer, Northern in Thailand map
Population [2] Language Religion % Christian % Evangl Online NT Jesus Film Progress
1,458,000 Khmer, Northern Buddhism 2.00 % 1.33 %   

Khmer, Northern in Thailand

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Introduction / History
Northern Khmer are mostly found in the lower northeast of Thailand, in the provinces of Buriram, Surin and Sisaket, which border Cambodia. They are also known as Thai-Khmer or Khmer-Surin. Northern Khmer speakers are also found in villages along the Thai-Cambodian border in Prachinburi province. The dialect of Khmer spoken in Cambodia across the north is very similar to the dialect in Thailand, though in Thailand many Thai words are also used.

The Khmer have been in the lower northeast of present-day Thailand even longer than the Thai. There are many Khmer ruins dating from the pre-Angkor and the Angkor periods in the three provinces and beyond, notably at Phanomrung (Buriram), still with concentrations of Khmer–speaking communities nearby. A linguistic survey carried out in the 1960s discovered that Buriram province was approximately 75% Khmer-speaking, Surin 90% and Sisaket 70%. These figures may have changed since then, but the broad coverage of the language can still be found in each of the provinces. In Thailand, many Khmer are migrant laborers, especially in the dry season, and can be found on construction sites in Bangkok and in fruit and sugarcane plantations in other parts of the country. Many of the young people from the region are now working in factories in and around Greater Bangkok.

What are their lives like?
The Northern Khmer are traditionally rice farmers, following the rhythm of the monsoon which can be notoriously fickle, with one village able to plant crops while another suffers drought. They are also skilled timber-cutters and house builders, and many Khmer women weave silk and cotton cloth during the dry season. Due to lack of ground water, only small-scale agriculture is possible, apart from raising cattle or buffaloes. Their food is distinctively Khmer with the popular somlor (soup) and liberal use of prohok.

Music is also very much part of their culture with the Khmer violin and pleng kantrum (Khmer folksong) at the centre of village life and celebrations. They dress much like the Thai, but with distinctive colors and patterns in their sarongs.

What are their beliefs?
Outwardly they are followers of the Thai national religion of Theravada Buddhism, with a strong admixture of spirit-worship and divination which is performed by the kruu, who may be either a monk or a layman. The Khmer are known (and sometimes feared) within Thailand for their powers of witchcraft and sorcery. As well as Buddhist festivals, they also hold a festival to the spirits of the dead known as Prachum Ben. Most Khmer houses have a spiritshelf near the house, and another inside the house with items placed there by the khruu.

What are their needs?
In Thailand, the Northern Khmer come at the bottom of educational success, and alcoholism among both men and women is a major problem in many families. Their greatest need is to hear the Gospel presented in a way they can understand.

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Prayer Links
Global Prayer Digest: 2011-06-06
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Country: Thailand
Continent: Asia
Region: Asia, Southeast
10/40 Window: Yes
Location in Country:Surin, Buriram, Chanthaburi, Sisaket, and Ubon Ratchathani provinces.
(Source: Ethnologue 2016)
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Country Map:Political map
Ethnolinguistic Map:University of Texas or other map
Linguistic Map:Ethnologue language map
  Peoples [3]
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People Name in Country: Khmer, Northern
People Name General: Khmer, Northern
Alternate People Names:
Khmer LueThailand Khmer
Upper Khmer
ROP3 Code: 107448
Joshua Project People ID: 19921
Indigenous: Yes
Population in Country: 1,458,000
Population all Countries: 1,463,000
Least-Reached: Yes
Affinity Bloc: Southeast Asian Peoples
People Cluster: Mon-Khmer
People Name General: Khmer, Northern
Ethnic Code: AUG03b
Ethnic Relationships: Affinity Bloc -> People Cluster -> Peoples Ethnicity Tree
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Primary Language: Khmer, Northern (1,458,000 Speakers)
Language Code (ISO): kxm    Ethnologue Listing
Total Languages: 1
Religion [4]
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Primary Religion: Buddhism
Major Religions:
Buddhism84.00 % 
Christianity2.00 %(Evangelical: 1.33 %)
Ethnic Religions9.00 % 
Hinduism0.00 % 
Islam2.00 % 
Non-Religious3.00 % 
Other / Small0.00 % 
Unknown0.00 % 
Christianity Segments:
Anglican0.00 %
Independent8.00 %
Protestant47.00 %
Orthodox0.00 %
Other Christian40.00 %
Roman Catholic5.00 %
(Evangelicals distributed across Christianity segments)
Progress Indicators [5]
Progress Scale[6]   Few evangelicals and few who claim to be Christians. Little, if any, history of Christianity.
Least-Reached: Yes
GSEC Status:Level 2   Less than 2% Evangelical. Initial (localized) church planting within past 2 years
Bible Translation Status
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Bible Portions: 1983
New Testament:
Complete Bible: 2003
Possible Bible Sources: Forum of Bible Agencies
 World Bible Finder
 World Christian Resource Directory
 Gospel Go
Ministry Resources [7]
Audio RecordingsMegaVoice Audio Bible and Stories
Audio RecordingsAudio Bible teaching (GRN)
Audio RecordingsOnline New Testament - Northern (FCBH)
Audio RecordingsOnline Scripture (Talking Bibles)
Audio RecordingsOral Bible stories in Khmer, Northern
Audio RecordingsStory of Jesus audio (Jesus Film Project ...
Film / VideoJesus Film: view in Khmer, Northern
Ministry Activity
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Data Notes
Data Sources

Khmer, Northern in Thailand

Global                 Global
  Affinity Bloc             Global  
People Cluster
    Mon-Khmer     Asia, Southeast    
      Khmer, Northern Thailand    
            People-by-Country (Profile)          
            Khmer, Northern in Thailand          
      Religion Language  
      Buddhism     Khmer, Northern  
    All Religions                              

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