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Khmer phrasebook

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Khmer is the main and official language of Cambodia.

Khmer script

Pronunciation guide[edit]

Knowing a few Khmer words will help you earn some respect while in Cambodia.

  • If you are male the word for 'yes' is pronounced 'baht'(បាទ) as in the sound of a sheep followed by a hard T.
  • If you are female the word for 'yes' is pronounced 'jah'(ចា) as in the first part of 'jar'.
  • The word for 'no' is pronounced 'Awt Tay'(អត់ទេ/ទេ).
  • The word for 'thank you' is pronounced 'aw-koon'(អរគុណ) sounds a little like raccoon.
  • To express greater thanks (thank you very much), use the word 'aw-koon ch'ran'(អរគុណច្រើន).
  • The word for 'hello' is pronounced 'Sues-Day" Sues is pronounced exactly like author Dr. Seuss
  • The word for 'sorry' is pronounced 'somtoh'(សុំទោស).
  • The word for 'toilet' is pronounced 'dakuhn' or 'pahkuhn'(បង្គន់/បន្ទប់ទឹក)) Similarly to how you would pronounce the kunh in thank you, but with a short 'ba' in front.
  • Scooter/mopeds with carriages pulled behind are called a 'tuk-tuk'(តុកតុក) better pronounced with the U sound from the back of your throat, like tulk-tulk.
  • Scooter/mopeds by themselves are pronounced 'moto'(ម៉ូតូ) with an emphasis on 'mo'.
  • Rickshaws are called 'cyclo'(ស៊ីក្លូ). The cy is pronounced like the word see.

Vowels[edit]

Consonants[edit]

Common diphthongs[edit]

Phrase list[edit]

Basics[edit]

Common signs

OPEN 
CLOSED 
beut
ENTRANCE 
chaul
EXIT 
PUSH 
chomrounh
PULL 
tieng
TOILET 
Bah koun
MEN 
WOMEN 
satrey
FORBIDDEN 
hamkoat


Hello. 
(chum reap suor)
Hello. (informal
(sous-dey)
Hello. (answering the phone
(allo)
How are you? 
(naek sok sabai teh?)
Fine, thank you. 
(sok sabai)
What is your name? 
(naek chmuah ey?)
My name is ______ . 
(knyom chmuah _____ .)
Nice to meet you. 
(reak reay dae bahn skoal loak )
Please. 
(soum)
Thank you. 
(aw khun)
Welcome 
(soum swa-khom)
You're welcome. 
(mun ay te or un-juhn)
Yes. 
(jaah female) (baht men)
No. 
(ot teh)
Male 
("prawh")
Female 
("sraay")
Child 
("kmaing")
Excuse me. 
(soum toh)
I'm sorry. 
(soum dtoh)
Goodbye 
(chum reap leah)
Goodbye (informal
(leah seun hai)
I can't speak name of language
(k'nyom ot seu cheh niyeay pia'saa khmae teh)
Do you speak English? 
(cheh niyeay pia'saa Anglais baan teh?)
Is there someone here who speaks English? 
(miean naek na cheh Anglais teh?)
I am going to work 
("kyoum thou twua kaa")
Help! 
(chuy!)
Bad 
("akrawh")
Look out! 
(mer seun!)
Good morning. 
(arun sous-dey )
Good afternoon. 
(tiveah sous-dey )
Good night. 
(reatrey sous-dey )
I don't understand. 
( k'nyom min yul teh)
Where is the toilet? 
(bakun noew ey nah?)
Happy Birthday! 
(reak reay t'gnai khom-not)

Problems[edit]

Numbers[edit]

Although Khmer uses base-10 numbers, the numbers for 1-9 are effectively spoken as base-5. Thus, six (prahm muay) literally means five (prahm), one (muay); whereas sixteen (dahp prahm muay) is ten (dahp), five (prahm), one (muay).

In practice, the word 'sep' is often omitted from the numbers for 30-90. However, it is generally considered more proper to include the word.

0  
๐ (soan)
1  
๑ (muay)
2  
๒ (pee)
3  
๓ (bei)
4  
๔ (buan)
5  
๕ (prahm)
6  
๖ (prahm muay)
7  
๗ (prahm pel)
8  
๘ (prahm bei)
9  
๙ (prahm buan)
10 
๑๐ (dahp)
20 
(ma'pei)
30 
(sam sep)
40 
(sae sep)
50 
(haa sep)
60 
(hok sep)
70 
(chet sep)
80 
(paet sep)
90 
(kao sep)
100 
(muay roy)
1,000 
(muay poan)
10,000 
(muay meun)
100,000 
(muay saen)
1,000,000 
(muay liean)

Time[edit]

Time 
(Maong)

Clock time[edit]

What time is it? 
(Maong bon maan?)
Maong mouy t'ngai (day) 
(1 pm)
Maong mouy yop (night) 
(1 am)

Duration[edit]

Hour 
(Maong)
Minute 
(Neatii)

Days[edit]

Day 
(T'ngai) (ថ្ងៃ)
One day 
(Mouy t'ngai) (១ ថ្ងៃ)
Monday 
(Chhan) (ច័ន្ទ)
Tueday 
(Angkea) (អង្គារ)
Wednesday 
(Pout) (ពុធ)
Thursday 
(Pra-hoah) (ព្រហស្បត្តិ៍)
Friday 
(Sok) (សុក្រ)
Saturday 
(Sao) (សៅរ៍)
Sunday 
(A-thut) (អាទិត្យ)

Months[edit]

Year 
(Chnam)
Month 
(Khae)
January 
(Makara)
February 
(Kompheak)
March 
(Meneah)
April 
(Meysah)
May 
(Osaphea)
June 
(Maytona)
July 
(Kakada)
August 
(Seyha)
September 
(Kanya)
October 
(Tola)
November 
(Vicheka)
December 
(Thnou)

Colors[edit]

Color 
(Phoa)
Red 
(Phoa Krahom)
Blue 
(Phoa Khiev)
Yellow 
(Phoa Loeung)
White 
(Phoa Saw)
Black 
(Phoa Khmao)
Green 
(Phoa Bai Thong)
Orange 
(Phoa Teuk Kroit)
Pink 
(Phoa Pkah Chouk)
Purple 
(Phoa Swai)
Brown 
(Phoa Thnout)​
Silver 
(Phoa Prahk)
Gold 
(Phoa Meas)

Transportation[edit]

Ride 
(Chis)
Car 
(Lanh)
Auto rickshaw 
(Tuk Tuk)

Bus and train[edit]

Train 
(Ah-teh-plerng)

Directions[edit]

Stop 
(Choup)
Turn 
(Bot)
Right 
(Sa-dahm)
Left 
(Ch-wang)
Straight 
(Throng)
Backward 
(K'roy)

Taxi[edit]

Accommodation[edit]

Pthaes - house

Pthaes knyom- my house

dtoh pthaes kynom- go to my house

Money[edit]

Money- Loiiy

Eating[edit]

Eat 
(Nham)
Food 
(Mahop)
Rice 
(Bai)

Bars[edit]

One beer 
(Som beer moi)
One more beer 
(Som beer moi teit)
Bill/Check 
(Kiet loi)
Drunk 
(Sro Vung)
Drunk Beer
(Sro Vung Beer)
Drunk Ganja
(Sro Vung Kan-ja)

Shopping[edit]

Driving[edit]

baok (to drive) lanh (car)

Authority[edit]

Teacher 
(Kru)
High authority, generally monks 
(Lok)
Husband, Older Relative/Friend 
(Bong)
Wife, Younger Relative/Friend 
(Oun)
Relative that is older than your parents/your little brother and little sister kids
(Oum)
Uncle 
(Pu)
Your kids call your little sister Aunty/girl who are younger then you
(Ming)
Your kids call your little sister Aunty that carry Chinese bloodline
(Eee)
Grandma 
(Yeay)
Grandpa 
(Ta)
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