Regional Cambodian Dialect/Accent

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Regional Cambodian Dialect/Accent

Postby thelost » Wed Jan 11, 2017 6:46 am

Hi everyone, I'm TheLost.

Please let me introduce myself. I'm currently living in Australia. I'm married to a Phnom Penh lady whose family come from PP and Kandal province.
My father and his family hailed from Sisophon in Battambang province, I guess nowadays in Banteay Meanchey province. That was before the big party, I mean, the Khmer Rouge era.

When growing up, I don't know Khmer nor I speak it despite being surrounded by relatives who speaks it. I "discovered" Khmer culture and language when I was in the later years of high school. I taught myself how to read and write Khmer which is actually on and off. However I am still unable to converse fluently in Khmer. Basically my Khmer listening skill is crap and I think it boils down to this simple realisation that comes this year - written language and spoken language are two different language compounded by regional accent/pronunciation.

One day I was just randomly googling and then stumbled onto this thread called "Spoken Rural Cambodian" which was made by taabarang (Thanks taabarang).
This revived my interest thanks to the members who contributed in this thread as mentioned above.

I don't know why but I have some sort of weird interest in the regional accent, probably partly because my relatives are from Battambang/Banteay MC province.
I want to ask the people in this forum if they know any regional words or notice any pronunciation variance of people from BTB/Banteay MC province?

From my observation...for example, the word "Khmer" is pronounced differently. To me it sounds like Khmere "ខ្មេ" according to my relatives while the standard or PP people would say khmai "ខ្មែ".
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Re: Regional Cambodian Dialect/Accent

Postby taabarang » Wed Jan 11, 2017 8:09 am

Hi thelost, I am delighted that the thread which was originally intended for barrangs in Cambodia has reached you in Australia.

As for: "Basically my Khmer listening skill is crap and I think it boils down to this simple realisation that comes this year - written language and spoken language are two different language compounded by regional accent/pronunciation"

I feel your insightful conclusion is spot on. Since I live in the Kampong Cham area I can't be much help to you. But my Cambodian wife verified the example you gave and said that your parents regional dialect is due to Thai language influence.
Sorry, but I'm in a bit of a rush right now but I just wanted to thank you for your input.
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Re: Regional Cambodian Dialect/Accent

Postby Jamie_Lambo » Wed Jan 11, 2017 8:28 am

yeah agree with Taabarangs wife,
Thais and especially those from isaan who speak Surin-Khmer use the word "Khmere/Khmern" so im guessing it might be due to that
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Re: Regional Cambodian Dialect/Accent

Postby thelost » Wed Jan 11, 2017 9:31 am

@taabarang

Thank you for your reply taabarang. I came to this forum, hoping I'll learn something new about the Khmer language. Your Cambodian wife is a great resource, and from what I read in your older posts, I take it as she is/was a teacher so you are very lucky! I know you may not speak like a native, but I think you speak like a Kompong Cham person.
My wife is, well, let's say she's not a teacher material and have a short attention span, in other words, gets bored easily so we talk to each other in English.
That's probably another factor in why my Khmer language is still crap.

@jamie

I think taabarang is right, however I remember the region of Battambang (including Banteay Meanchey, Pailin) and Siem Reap were under the Siamese/Thai rule for roughly 200 years until 1900s when they were ceded back to France to be incorporated back into Cambodian territory under the French rule. I went to Wat Phnom in Phnom Penh and they have this mural of three apsara, the late King Norodom and the old King Sisowath. I think you guys probably have visited this place?
So probably the Thai influence played an part in those northwestern provinces.
But you may not know it but I heard that the people of those provinces view the people living in Sra Kaew, Surin, Buriram, etc as the "same people who speak Khmer but on Thai soil". People who live in Phnom Penh don't really know anything about that.

Anyway, about the accent, I think I unconsciously absorb the accent of my relatives when growing up so it's kind of easy for me to "listen" to them and understanding some than listening to my wife's family in Phnom Penh and I understand nothing. So I guess to improve my Khmer language, I have to listen more and ask what these words mean. The books are dead to me now. Dead.
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Re: Regional Cambodian Dialect/Accent

Postby Jamie_Lambo » Wed Jan 11, 2017 3:07 pm

thelost wrote:@taabarang

Thank you for your reply taabarang. I came to this forum, hoping I'll learn something new about the Khmer language. Your Cambodian wife is a great resource, and from what I read in your older posts, I take it as she is/was a teacher so you are very lucky! I know you may not speak like a native, but I think you speak like a Kompong Cham person.
My wife is, well, let's say she's not a teacher material and have a short attention span, in other words, gets bored easily so we talk to each other in English.
That's probably another factor in why my Khmer language is still crap.

@jamie

I think taabarang is right, however I remember the region of Battambang (including Banteay Meanchey, Pailin) and Siem Reap were under the Siamese/Thai rule for roughly 200 years until 1900s when they were ceded back to France to be incorporated back into Cambodian territory under the French rule. I went to Wat Phnom in Phnom Penh and they have this mural of three apsara, the late King Norodom and the old King Sisowath. I think you guys probably have visited this place?
So probably the Thai influence played an part in those northwestern provinces.
But you may not know it but I heard that the people of those provinces view the people living in Sra Kaew, Surin, Buriram, etc as the "same people who speak Khmer but on Thai soil". People who live in Phnom Penh don't really know anything about that.

Anyway, about the accent, I think I unconsciously absorb the accent of my relatives when growing up so it's kind of easy for me to "listen" to them and understanding some than listening to my wife's family in Phnom Penh and I understand nothing. So I guess to improve my Khmer language, I have to listen more and ask what these words mean. The books are dead to me now. Dead.
yeah agree with the thailand thing,

yeah its one thing speaking and another reading, i know a number of expats who speak great khmer but cant read, i spent some time at school here with a good teacher who was strict with pronunciation, i had basic knowledge of speaking through self studies and asking friends, and i was more focused on speaking, but after a while it starts to get confusing with so many similar sounding words, we then moved on to writing which i thought would be impossible but i actually picked it up fairly quickly and now find learning words far easier now i can read how it should actually sound rather than using a romanized interpretation, if im in a certain situation and dont know the word for something, then i can just use my khmer dictionary,

so i think you shouldnt find it too hard picking up cant really comment on the dialects of the north west as i never really spend any time up there, lived in SR for a while but was before i could speak some khmer, im only more familiar with the southern dialects of Preah Sihanouk, Phnom Penh and Kompong Cham

one that i thinks more unique to the Sihanoukville are (i could be wrong) they sometimes speak in reverse and/or play on words
the most common one that foreigners pick up on is the Sok Sabbay Te?/Sai Sabbok
also when speaking numbers they will sometimes say the numbers in a reverse order

is that just a Sihanoukville thing, anyone shed any light?
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Re: Regional Cambodian Dialect/Accent

Postby Username Taken » Wed Jan 11, 2017 3:22 pm

"also when speaking numbers they will sometimes say the numbers in a reverse order"

Do you mean like instead of 'dop pii' (twelve), they say 'pii don dop'? (something like that anyway)
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Re: Regional Cambodian Dialect/Accent

Postby Jamie_Lambo » Wed Jan 11, 2017 3:29 pm

Username Taken wrote:"also when speaking numbers they will sometimes say the numbers in a reverse order"

Do you mean like instead of 'dop pii' (twelve), they say 'pii don dop'? (something like that anyway)
yeah, usually when people are saying their age and stuff like that, think its more of informal chat
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Re: Regional Cambodian Dialect/Accent

Postby taabarang » Wed Jan 11, 2017 3:48 pm

:lol: -Do you mean like instead of 'dop pii' (twelve), they say 'pii don dop'? (something like that anyway)-

I find that to be universal throughout Cambodia.
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Re: Regional Cambodian Dialect/Accent

Postby Raybull » Wed Jan 11, 2017 3:54 pm

Jamie_Lambo wrote:
Username Taken wrote:"also when speaking numbers they will sometimes say the numbers in a reverse order"

Do you mean like instead of 'dop pii' (twelve), they say 'pii don dop'? (something like that anyway)
yeah, usually when people are saying their age and stuff like that, think its more of informal chat
I think the use if phonetic reversals is pretty common through out the country. Here is an interesting analysis of the phenomenon. http://reankhmer.com/jml/classroom/28-h ... c-reversal
Regarding numbers, I can only recall it being used with the dop numbers.
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Re: Regional Cambodian Dialect/Accent

Postby taabarang » Wed Jan 11, 2017 4:07 pm

"Regarding numbers, I can only recall it being used with the dop numbers."

Fully agree.
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