The Value of Trying to Learn a Not-So Dying Language

Have questions or resources regarding Khmer Culture? This forum is all about the Kingdom of Cambodia's culture. Khmer language, Cambodian weddings, French influence, Cambodian architecture, Cambodian politics, Khmer customs, etc? This is the place. Living in Cambodia can cause you to experience a whole new level of culture shock, so feel free to talk about all things related to the Khmer people, and their traditions. And if you want something in Khmer script translated into English, you will probably find what you need.
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Re: The Value of Trying to Learn a Not-So Dying Language

Postby StroppyChops » Sun Jun 08, 2014 4:50 pm

FreeSocrates! wrote:But I'd like to find out more about this. Especially if the romanization leads to higher literacy rates or functional literacy rates.
It's due at least in part to Pol Pot and the KR who attempted to eradicate anyone educated - defined as being literate, or simply wearing glasses. Generational damage that will take a while to address. I've heard it said that as few as 30% of Khmer are literate in their birth language, but I don't have a citation for this.
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Re: The Value of Trying to Learn a Not-So Dying Language

Postby FreeSocrates! » Sun Jun 08, 2014 5:00 pm

^ I've seen those numbers too, I think that's a Functional Literacy stat which is different than Literacy.
Functional illiteracy is reading and writing skills that are inadequate "to manage daily living and employment tasks that require reading skills beyond a basic level."[1] Functional illiteracy is contrasted with illiteracy in the strict sense, meaning the inability to read or write simple sentences in any language.

Foreigners who cannot read and write in the native language where they live may also be considered functionally illiterate.
This website is full of functionally illiterate Barangs. :lol:
Last edited by FreeSocrates! on Sun Jun 08, 2014 5:13 pm, edited 1 time in total.
The cedar roasted asparagus has good chew. I don't know how to enjoy it, so I'll Instagram it instead.
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Re: The Value of Trying to Learn a Not-So Dying Language

Postby FreeSocrates! » Sun Jun 08, 2014 5:06 pm

Bitte_Kein_Lexus wrote:I think the basic argument is that it takes years to master Chinese characters, but very little time to learn the roman alphabet. The Vietnamese didn't have their own alphabet, so they used modified Chinese characters. The Koreans also invented their own characters in the 1400s because Chinese simply wasn't suited for the sounds of Korean and severely hindered literacy by limiting it to the few who didn't have to work.

Khmer script, despite being a bit difficult to learn, is probably way easier than Chinese. Khmer has a phonetic alphabet, so what you read is what you hear. Chinese, in contract, has no phonetic equivalencies. So instead of reading out letters and the sounds they produce, you're just looking at symbols and remembering what each character means. Given the time required to learn all the symbols, it goes without saying that only those from privileged backgrounds could learn to read and write. Compounded with the fact that Chinese is inherently different to both Vietnamese and Korean, learning to read or write was apparently quite difficult.

Of course, China is highly literate by now, but I still think a major reason Chinese will never become a lingua franca is because it's simply too hard and takes too much time to learn (to read, apparently speaking is fairly easy). I remember 10-15 years ago people kept saying that Chinese would become the new international language, but I knew that would likely never happen.

As for what taabarang said, it's true. But I'd argue that since the majority of Phnom Penh's population comes from teh countryside, you're not at a disadvantage by learning standard Khmer. The phnong and Krung have their own strong accents. A friend's wife (whom you know) is kampuchea krom and can't read or write any khmer, but is perfectly fluent (no accent). However, I've noticed a few oddities in the way she speaks. For example, she always says "ot yul" (I don't understand) in instances where Khmers from here would say "ot dung" (I don't know). Subtle differences, but it can be a bit confusing at first. Some areas of Kompong Thom, Siem Riep and Kompong Chnang have huge accents and speak in a Swiss yodeling way. It's quite funny and pleasing to the ear. If I find the time I'll upload a video later. That being said, I'd argue that learning proper Khmer (like taa's hochdeutsch reference) is a pre-requisite to learning "normal" Khmer. I think it's obviously better to learn the "proper way", and then learn slang, street lingo or adopt a regional accent.

[EDIT] As an aside, I do think Khmer could do with a reform. English, German and French have all had several grammar reforms, but Khmer seems pretty traditional-minded. For example, putting spaces between words is very logical and I'd venture to guess would speed up the reading process significantly. When I was learning to read it was one thing that I found quite annoying and illogical. I eventually got too busy to properly learn to read, but I might eventually get back into it later on.
So much WOW. Very MUCH SMART>

It all makes sense to me now. I never had any idea how intelligent you were until you started posting on this site.

:hattip:

I am learning proper Khmer. But it's funny, because I will say something like:

plou hah-suep-moi (road 51)

And they will correct me and say:

plou hah-moi

And then next person that comes along I'll say:

plou hah-moi

And they will correct me and say:

plou hah-suep-moi

:facepalm:

Maybe they are picking up the fact that I'm a beginner, and just saying it there way because they think it's the correct way or maybe I'm not getting the pronunciation exact or maybe they are all just fucking with me. I understand of course that they like to shorten things, and that I am learning the longer versions only to throw them out later all in an effort to understand the mechanics better.

I understand that both ways mean the same thing, I think that's the important part.
The cedar roasted asparagus has good chew. I don't know how to enjoy it, so I'll Instagram it instead.
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Re: The Value of Trying to Learn a Not-So Dying Language

Postby Bitte_Kein_Lexus » Sun Jun 08, 2014 7:44 pm

Image

A lot of people are deceived by my good looks. They always assume male model type guys are all airheads, but that's obviously not always the case...
Ex Bitteeinbit/LexusSchmexus
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Re: The Value of Trying to Learn a Not-So Dying Language

Postby StroppyChops » Sun Jun 08, 2014 8:16 pm

FreeSocrates! wrote:I am learning proper Khmer. But it's funny, because I will say something like:

plou hah-suep-moi (road 51)

And they will correct me and say:

plou hah-moi

And then next person that comes along I'll say:

plou hah-moi

And they will correct me and say:

plou hah-suep-moi

:facepalm:
Our tutor often shows me (not Mrs Stroppy, oddly) an informal script but then later corrects me back to the formal if I use it.
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Re: The Value of Trying to Learn a Not-So Dying Language

Postby nightmare.believer » Mon Jun 09, 2014 12:43 am

I don't mind making mistakes when trying to use a second language. Hell, I don't even mind being laughed at whilst trying. What makes me feel self-conscious is trying to get the accent correct. Feels too much like I am trying to take the piss, or maybe really sounding stupid trying to speak with the correct accent. (Anyone else feel like this). When I speak Korea, for example, I have been told that I either sound like a little girl or a gangster...neither appears to be a compliment.
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Re: The Value of Trying to Learn a Not-So Dying Language

Postby thePeck » Mon Jun 09, 2014 1:18 am

StroppyChops wrote:
FreeSocrates! wrote:I am learning proper Khmer. But it's funny, because I will say something like:

plou hah-suep-moi (road 51)

And they will correct me and say:

plou hah-moi

And then next person that comes along I'll say:

plou hah-moi

And they will correct me and say:

plou hah-suep-moi

:facepalm:
Our tutor often shows me (not Mrs Stroppy, oddly) an informal script but then later corrects me back to the formal if I use it.
I've heard that too and it's quite confusing, dropping the "suep". I asked someone(Khmer tutor) about that and he looked at me like I was crazy. They said you wouldn't drop off the "ty" to English number so why drop the "seup". i.e. twen-five. He says if someone does that they are not educated enough to know not to drop the "seup".

I guess chalk it up to country talk for us and just mushing their words together.
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Re: The Value of Trying to Learn a Not-So Dying Language

Postby StroppyChops » Mon Jun 09, 2014 3:28 pm

thePeck wrote:I've heard that too and it's quite confusing, dropping the "suep". I asked someone(Khmer tutor) about that and he looked at me like I was crazy. They said you wouldn't drop off the "ty" to English number so why drop the "seup". i.e. twen-five. He says if someone does that they are not educated enough to know not to drop the "seup".

I guess chalk it up to country talk for us and just mushing their words together.
Yep - although I have to wonder why he shows me the informal forms at all. Confusing when you still don't have the vocabulary of a toddler.
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Re: The Value of Trying to Learn a Not-So Dying Language

Postby FreeSocrates! » Mon Jun 09, 2014 4:18 pm

My guy doesn't show me the informal ones. He leaves me to figure them out myself, and then always corrects me back to the "correct forms".
The cedar roasted asparagus has good chew. I don't know how to enjoy it, so I'll Instagram it instead.
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Re: The Value of Trying to Learn a Not-So Dying Language

Postby FreeSocrates! » Mon Jun 09, 2014 4:20 pm

Bitte_Kein_Lexus wrote:Image

A lot of people are deceived by my good looks. They always assume male model type guys are all airheads, but that's obviously not always the case...
I forgot most tall people I meet are intelligent. I dunno why this is. Maybe they can see further or something.
The cedar roasted asparagus has good chew. I don't know how to enjoy it, so I'll Instagram it instead.


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