Usable Khymer 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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Jamie_Lambo
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Re: Usable Khymer Language

Post by Jamie_Lambo »

UTDTID wrote: Tue Feb 26, 2019 2:50 pm
Jamie_Lambo wrote: Tue Feb 26, 2019 2:03 pm
UTDTID wrote: Tue Feb 26, 2019 1:40 pm
Kammekor wrote: Tue Jan 29, 2019 1:13 pm
explorer wrote: Tue Jan 29, 2019 12:58 pm

If people learn the conversion rules, how close do you believe it is to the way Cambodians speak?

I know there are some sounds in the Cambodian language you cant write in English, and if you try it is not accurate.
I believe the way it's written is not that important, especially for a beginner. Young kids learn a language by copying sounds. How those sounds are represented in script is another issue that comes later.

I think these are important factors in someone talking accurately:

How good can someone listen and identify the correct sound. Khmer language has a lot of consonants that seem identical, but they are not, they're pronounced slightly different. It all starts with hearing the difference. How that specific sound is converted in a combination of letters (either Khmer or Latin) is the second or the third step.

Next is how good is someone at copying the identified sound. It takes quite some effort to let the muscles in and around your mouth do the right thing. Sometimes it's not the sound itself that makes it difficult, but the place of the sound in a word. Western languages have no words ending with nh / ny / nj like Phnom Penh. Khmer has no words ending with a s-sound. It takes time to learn to make those sounds at that position of the word and it's a condition for being able to speaker correctly.

Next is what I call the rhythm of the language, the way words are pronounced, and the rhythm of a sentence. Khmer have the tendency to put the emphasis on the last syllable of the word, Western languages tend to emphasize the first or the second syllable. A Westerner will emphasize Ratanakiri, a Cambodian will emphasize Ratanakiri or even Ratanakiri. Emphasizing the correct syllable like the Khmer do adds a lot.

If I would be teaching Khmer I would focus on these before even hanging up a poster of the Khmer alphabet.
Really helpful post, I've only been learning a month getting that sound right is not easy. It's interesting what you say about the muscles in the mouth working differently, I was thinking that my accent was the problem. I find that word's like Go, dtow people don't know what I'm saying. Bathroom bontobtuk, I'm understood. Yul. :thumb:
yeah, the ៅ vowel i think is probably the most mispronounced sound in the Khmer language by foreigners
whether its people pronouncing the word 'Go' as Toe or 'Stay/at' as Now or actually calling a girl Srey Pov/Ah Pov (with a v sound)
largely to do with that sound i find being quite unique to Khmer its very hard to latinise it, khmers write it using a 'V' (Tov/Nov/Pov) westerners are more likely to use 'oe/ow' but it actually sounds like neither because of the falling tone ^ the vowel creates
Yes Jamie, it's the falling tone that's getting me confused, I think I'm dragging word's out that should be short, and the last syllable not pronounced correctly. Just a case of hit the books and listen oh and wait for the moment my brain kick's in. Hopefully it's not to long a wait. :D
its mainly because they are words without a final consonant, it ends in an open vowel sound, i think thats one of the things that catches people out too
ទៅ - Tov - Go
នៅ - Nov - Stay/At, Still/Yet
ពៅ - Pov - Youngest sibling, Darling/Beloved
:tophat: Mean Dtuk Mean Trei, Mean Loy Mean Srey
Punchy McShortstacks School of Hard Knocks :x
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