How common is it that Khmers can't read or write Khmer?

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xandreu
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How common is it that Khmers can't read or write Khmer?

Post by xandreu »

I'm sure we've all been in those situations where we've had to pull out Google translate to help us get a word or two across the language barrier, only to be met by a blank stare when we show them whatever Khmer script our phones end up displaying.

When that happens, I often assume that Google translate simply hasn't translated it well enough for the other person to understand, but I've been told by several people that it's not all that uncommon for Khmers to simply not know how to read / write Khmer.

How much truth is there to that?
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rozzieoz
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Re: How common is it that Khmers can't read or write Khmer?

Post by rozzieoz »

I know many many Khmers who cannot read or write. In many cases it was because the family could only afford to educate one or some of the kids.
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Re: How common is it that Khmers can't read or write Khmer?

Post by Kammekor »

My guess is 1 in 4 or 5 are more or less illiterate in Khmer. But... I live in the (remote) Northeast.
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Re: How common is it that Khmers can't read or write Khmer?

Post by BR549 »

Yes, they cannot read or write Khmer or speak English because they were poor.
However, I know Khmer people who did not let that stop them and they learned as they got older and now study English on youtube and other ways.
I know 2 sisters who are a perfect example..One had the motivation and the other did not.
People all have smart phones and at $1/week.
They can spend it learning or playing some bullshit game.
That includes me. I bought Khmer language and writing books but am not much of a student these days. 2020 resolution?
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Re: How common is it that Khmers can't read or write Khmer?

Post by Freightdog »

rozzieoz wrote: Tue Dec 24, 2019 8:46 pm I know many many Khmers who cannot read or write. In many cases it was because the family could only afford to educate one or some of the kids.
From personal knowledge of one particular situation.
A family of 6 siblings. One died in adolescence. The eldest, a sister, was schooled, while the remaining siblings (3 sisters and one brother) were involved in rural family life in general, which means various work normally appropriate for adult's in the west.
Lack of schooling simply because the opportunity wasn't afforded them.

Along with this is a very rudimentary idea of what school means. I've asked SWMBO what was her understanding about school- what kids will learn. On leaving school, at around 13/14 yrs old, it's thought that they will know how to read, write, and do basic arithmetic. 8-10years of school. She had little or no appreciation or even basic understanding of the concepts of other subjects-
History
Mathematics
Geography
Sciences

We are accustomed in the 'developed' world to education, and the opportunities that are available as a result. It's easy to forget that that wasn't the case in many parts of the world, not so very long ago.
When folk don't understand what it means, or what it's benefits are, it's hardly going to be an important consideration. Class status, elitism, etc will affect how readily people accept the need for education, let alone a broader education.

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Re: How common is it that Khmers can't read or write Khmer?

Post by pczz »

In the coutryside it is normal for one kid to go to shcooland the rest to work. In kampong Speu there is a chines mango packing plant that employs entire families. one woman takes 4 of her kids to work and send 2 to school. Youngest is 7
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Re: How common is it that Khmers can't read or write Khmer?

Post by John Bingham »

xandreu wrote: Tue Dec 24, 2019 8:05 pm I'm sure we've all been in those situations where we've had to pull out Google translate to help us get a word or two across the language barrier, only to be met by a blank stare when we show them whatever Khmer script our phones end up displaying.

When that happens, I often assume that Google translate simply hasn't translated it well enough for the other person to understand, but I've been told by several people that it's not all that uncommon for Khmers to simply not know how to read / write Khmer.

How much truth is there to that?
Google translate might work relatively well for Latin languages but it mangles every other one, and Khmer does particularly badly. There are so many phrases that can be interpreted different ways. I've very rarely met any Khmer who was illiterate. The script is very complex but people understand more than you might give them credit for.
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Re: How common is it that Khmers can't read or write Khmer?

Post by fsdfdsdf »

Ive met quite a few that cant read and write but google translate can speak the words even if the translation is often wrong. the other major problem with lack of education in my opinion is that people dont understand the mathematical implications of debt and often end up giving large portions of their incomes to pawn shops, or worse get into lifetime debt
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Re: How common is it that Khmers can't read or write Khmer?

Post by Tarndog »

rozzieoz wrote: Tue Dec 24, 2019 8:46 pm I know many many Khmers who cannot read or write. In many cases it was because the family could only afford to educate one or some of the kids.
After spending the bulk of their money on beer, cigarettes and gambling, education for their children just isn't always possible.
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Re: How common is it that Khmers can't read or write Khmer?

Post by Kammekor »

fsdfdsdf wrote: Thu Dec 26, 2019 11:50 pm Ive met quite a few that cant read and write but google translate can speak the words even if the translation is often wrong. the other major problem with lack of education in my opinion is that people dont understand the mathematical implications of debt and often end up giving large portions of their incomes to pawn shops, or worse get into lifetime debt
Yesterday I used Google translate to explain a parcel sent in from abroad was probably in customs. The Khmer word for customs was new to him and went completely over the head.

It's not just the lack of reading and writing skills, it's also the vocabulary of these people is pretty limited to words used in daily situations.
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