2020 Yin, Cheryl. "“Khmer Has No Grammar Rules”: Metapragmatic Commentaries and Linguistic Anxiety in Cambodia." Journal of the Southeast Asian Linguistics Society 13 (4): 93-111. (Access Here)
Despite being the official language of the Cambodia, some Cambodians believe that the Khmer language is dying or deteriorating. Some lament the corruption of the language, pointing to language mistakes they notice in both spoken and written form. Others surmise that, with the prevalence of international schools, Khmer will cease to exist as the younger generation prefers to speak English over Khmer. In light of Cambodia’s recent history of war and isolation to today’s globalization and open market economy, I argue that while such metapragmatic commentaries reflect local anxiety about language, they also reflect fears beyond language, fears about the changing cultural, economic, and political landscape in the aftermath of the Khmer Rouge regime. These narratives simultaneously look to the past as well as into the future. Such discourses ignore the plight of indigenous and minority languages within Cambodia, which have vastly fewer speakers and less institutional power. I end my paper with a brief discussion comparing Khmer’s dominance over minority languages with Cambodian panic over similar foreign language encroachment onto Khmer.
2020 Yin, Cheryl. “How I Became a Chenchhow in America.” Chinese America: History & Perspectives – The Journal of the Chinese Historical Society of America. Special Focus on Chinese Cambodian Americans: 11-21 (Access Here)
Through several interweaving vignettes across time and space, Cheryl Yin provides a glimpse into her upbringing as the daughter of Chinese Cambodian refugees in the United States. She not only reveals her personal struggles with identity and belonging, but also reflects on the cultural and linguistic challenges her family faced immigrating from China, adapting to life in Cambodia, and living under the Khmer Rouge regime. She hopes her and her family’s stories, of migration and travel, of language learning, and of honoring one’s ancestors, will provide a nuanced understanding of what it means to be Chinese Cambodian American.