FFS - not even consensus on the alphabet?

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StroppyChops
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FFS - not even consensus on the alphabet?

Post by StroppyChops » Mon Jun 30, 2014 10:57 pm

Somebody help me out here, please. I'm working from the national curriculum text (I'm told) that looks like this:
Image

And offers the following consonant chart:
Image

Yes, others have commented that this is crap, I know that, but as it's what school kids use its what our tutor insists on using.

The issue I'm having is this - every single language resource I find has the consonants in a different order. There are not even two main camps, they're all different. Many disagree on exactly how many consonants exist.

And I'm not even considering vowels in this post.

I am yet to find a printable form of the alphabet that includes a romanised form and/or IPA.

By cross compiling three different sources I get this:
Image

Can someone further down the track check it for accuracy for me please?

Does anybody have a reliable set of printable alphabet charts that even remotely resemble a common theme, with romanization, and even IPA?


I cannot express how frustrating it is, even as a linguist, attempting to learn a language when the commercially published resources don't align. We bought three dictionaries/translation guides, and a colloquial guide - no two of these resources agree with each other on Khmer pronunciation, let alone romanization.

I almost believe it would be easier to ignore all English resources and work from scratch (as though it was a previously unknown language with spoken and written form), although obviously I won't do this.

/rant

On a more positive note, here's tonight's effort. Our tutor is unavailable tonight so I'm fiddling with this. Parsing it into speech is a killer, though.
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Joon
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Re: FFS - not even consensus on the alphabet?

Post by Joon » Mon Jun 30, 2014 11:14 pm

I can't be of help because I follow the French transliteration and it's way different from the Anglo-saxon.
My advice is that you follow YOUR own way of writing down pronunciation.
If more Cambodian linguists knew phonetics, that would tremendously help to harmonize things.

Regarding your exercise, that looks great! While the translations are correct, there are some subtleties that can help you to further your Khmer skills. But it's a frustrating hassle to explain them in a post! :o

By the way, your hand-writing is way cute! :wink:
Disclaimer: I don't actually look like my avatar.
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StroppyChops
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Re: FFS - not even consensus on the alphabet?

Post by StroppyChops » Tue Jul 01, 2014 12:10 am

Thanks, I'm not sure if that's a compliment but I'll take it that way! The whiteboards are new in the past few days, here's where my handwriting with pencil and paper is at:
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Re: FFS - not even consensus on the alphabet?

Post by starkmonster » Tue Jul 01, 2014 5:46 am

I think when learning Khmer you need to stop using Roman script asap.

Also I would stop trying to look for grammatical rules as you were with Australia. You'll never book learn Khmer, the fastest way is to listen and just copy what they say. You'll cock up a lot but they're a pretty forgiving bunch.
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Re: FFS - not even consensus on the alphabet?

Post by OrangeDragon » Tue Jul 01, 2014 6:13 am

for some reason i keep mixing up "charan" and "chakaye" in my head when i speak...

makes for a lot of me thanking people while calling them a dog... never had one person do anything but laugh at it.
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Re: FFS - not even consensus on the alphabet?

Post by StroppyChops » Tue Jul 01, 2014 11:58 am

starkmonster wrote:I think when learning Khmer you need to stop using Roman script asap.

Also I would stop trying to look for grammatical rules as you were with Australia. You'll never book learn Khmer, the fastest way is to listen and just copy what they say. You'll cock up a lot but they're a pretty forgiving bunch.
All good comments. We only go to romanisation when trying to work out pronunciation after some bastard low consonant butchers some mongrel vowel!

Not trying to learn grammar at all as in my view its close enough to the grammar of languages we already know to be automatic.

Yep, they're certainly forgiving! This week we've found ourselves asking for one more instead of saying thanks, and greeting someone formally instead of asking for one more.
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Re: FFS - not even consensus on the alphabet?

Post by giblet » Tue Jul 01, 2014 12:40 pm

It's best to use your own pronunciation guides that you write out yourself. In my household, we are both taking lessons but don't share materials because the way we write down pronunciation is incomprehensible to each other.

For what it's worth, I think trying to learn reading and writing without knowing the language is sort of pointless (I say from experience). It makes sense to learn the alphabet in that it helps you pronounce words better, but the reality is that children don't learn to read before they learn to talk for a reason. The connection is much stronger when you can sound out a word and know what that word means. When you sound out a word and have no clue what it means, it doesn't do a lot of good.
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Re: FFS - not even consensus on the alphabet?

Post by StroppyChops » Tue Jul 01, 2014 12:50 pm

giblet wrote:It's best to use your own pronunciation guides that you write out yourself. In my household, we are both taking lessons but don't share materials because the way we write down pronunciation is incomprehensible to each other.

For what it's worth, I think trying to learn reading and writing without knowing the language is sort of pointless (I say from experience). It makes sense to learn the alphabet in that it helps you pronounce words better, but the reality is that children don't learn to read before they learn to talk for a reason. The connection is much stronger when you can sound out a word and know what that word means. When you sound out a word and have no clue what it means, it doesn't do a lot of good.
Based on personal experience, that makes sense. I use the Australian version of the IPA (yes, I know that an apparent tautology) while Mrs Stroppy uses what makes sense to her. I have only just realized the absence of consensus in the literature and it explains some of the frustration we experience in trying to use it.

I completely agree with the 'none-sense' of attempting to read and write at the same time as learning to listen and speak - this approach is counter to everything I have done in practice previously. Sadly, it is often how untrained English teachers teach adult Khmer here, so it is the only approach Khmer teachers of English have had modeled. Short of teaching our tutor how to teach, it's what we have available to us, and we are madly trying to complement it with immersive listening and speaking. In fact we've just moved so that we are more immersed.
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Re: FFS - not even consensus on the alphabet?

Post by giblet » Tue Jul 01, 2014 4:54 pm

I've had several Khmer teachers and I have learned that there's no point in continuing to try to work with a teacher that is either not good at their job or that you don't "vibe" with. My first teacher was really nice and was recommended by several people (several people I later realized who had no Khmer proficiency). I learned nothing but felt really guilty about firing her because she was really nice. I ended up wasting several months because she just wasn't a good teacher. Now I have a teacher where I've learned more in a few lessons than I did in months with my first teacher.

This is definitely something I wish I had known then that I know now, but I wouldn't continue to employ a teacher that isn't good at her job. Learning the language is hard enough if you aren't living/working with Khmers, but trying to do it with a teacher who is very rigid (as yours sounds like) is going to make it even harder.
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Re: FFS - not even consensus on the alphabet?

Post by StroppyChops » Tue Jul 01, 2014 5:26 pm

That's good advice, giblet. Our guy will be a good teacher and is improving all the time, and we have other reasons to keep him on. Honestly considering paying the local coffee girl some dollars to teach us conversational Khmer on the sly, she's a naturally gifted teacher and one hell of a smart lady.
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