Khmer: The Language of Cambodia
Khmer (or Cambodian) is the official language of Cambodia. Spoken by nearly 20 million people in Cambodia and around the world, Khmer is one of the oldest languages in Asia. Khmer is strongly influenced by Pali and Sanskrit - ancient languages of Hinduism and Buddhism originating in India. Unlike Thai and Vietnamese, Khmer is not a tonal language - a facet to Thai that trouble many westerners attempting to learn it.
Although the level of English among Cambodians is fairly decent, it can never hurt to learn a few, simple phrases in the native language. The locals will appreciate your efforts!
Phonology and TransliterationRomanizing languages that use their own alphabets (like Khmer does) always poses a challenge, as there are many sounds that simply do not exist in the source language. We've done our best to simplify this process; unless otherwise noted below, letters represent the English equivelant.
- Hello - soo s'day
- Hello (formal) - jàm ri:àp soo'à
- Goodbye - lia heuy
- How are you?/How do you do? - sok sàbai jia dtay
- I'm fine - k'nàm sok sàbai jia dtay
- Yes (men) - bat
- Yes (women) - ja
- No - awtay
- Thank you - awkoon
- Thank you very much - awkoon jan
- No Thanks - awtay awkoon
- I'm sorry - som toh
- Please (asking for something) - som...
- Please (asking someone to do something) - juy...
- Do you speak English? - niàk nì:yee-ay paysah anglay dtay?
- I don't speak Khmer - k'nàm meùn aj nì:yee-ay paysah k'meah ban dtay
- I don't understand - k'nàm meùn deùng dtay
- Can you please speak more slowly? - som nì:yee-ay ao:ee yeut jiang nìs bòn dtayj
- Language - paysah
- One - muy
- Two - bpee
- Three - bay
- Four - boo:àn
- Five - bpràm
- Six - bpràm-muy
- Seven - bpràm-bpee
- Eight - bpràm-bay
- Nine - bpràm-boo:àn
- Ten - dàwp
- Eleven - dàwp-muy
- Twelve - dàwp-bpee
- Fifteen - dàwp-bpràm
- Sixteen - dàwp-bpràm-muy
- Twenty - m'pay
- Twenty-one - m'pay-muy
- Twenty-nine - m'pay bpràm-boo:àn
- Thirty - sam-sup
- Forty - sai-sup
- Fifty - ha-sup
- Sixty - hok-sup
- Seventy - jèt-sup
- Eighty - bpayt-sup
- Ninty - gao-sup
- 100 - muy-roy
- 128 - muy-roy-m'pay-bpràm-bay
- 1,000 - muy-bpoan
- 10,000 - muy-meun
- 100,000 - muy-sayn
- One million - muy-lee:àn
- I'd like to go to... - k'nàm jong dteùv...
- the bank - tawn'neah'keah
- the market - p'sah
- the beach - ch'nay sàmot
- the embassy - s'tantòt
- the post office - bprai-sà-nee
- the bus station - s'tanee lan-kròng
- I've lost my way - k'nàm vùng-vayng pleùv
- Where is the toilet? - bòn dteùp dteùk neuv eah-na
- How much? - t'lay bùn man?
- What time is it? - mo:ung bùn man hai?
The Most Imortant Questions
- I'd like a beer, please - k'nàm jong-ban soam baeh muy