Cambodian words with no English equivalent

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.
User avatar
Kammekor
Expatriate
Posts: 2712
Joined: Fri Sep 01, 2017 12:50 pm
Reputation: 989
Cambodia

Re: Cambodian words with no English equivalent

Post by Kammekor » Wed Sep 05, 2018 10:18 am

explorer wrote:
Wed Sep 05, 2018 9:31 am
Jamie_Lambo wrote:
Sun Sep 02, 2018 7:51 pm
i Latinise it in the same style as the Khmers write it, its not really written how it sounds its just the simple system i'm used to working with.
Jamie_Lambo wrote:
Sun Sep 02, 2018 8:19 pm
the words arent English so why would we write it in an English way?
People can use any system they like. If this works for you, good.

However, we know it comes from French, and letters are used the way the French pronounce them. To use this system well, people need to understand French pronunciation. People pronouncing these words the English way will speak Khmer badly.

When sharing with English speakers, I like to write them as near as I can to the way English speakers will pronounce them.

We know, there are many sounds in Khmer which cannot be written with English letters, or French letters. These are often just rough approximations. So, for pronunciation, ask a Cambodian.

I would also strongly encourage anyone learning Khmer to learn the Khmer alphabet. It does not mean you will pronounce everything perfectly, but you will learn in theory how to pronounce it.
The problem is this is a forum with loads of members from loads of backgrounds and loads of mother tongues. Using your own way to write Khmer words in Latin script becomes a mess in no time.

For instance choo

The 'ch' most people will get more or less, but the oo can be read as an o-sound (Oh my...) bu some, an oo-sound (look!), or even an ò-sound (as in pop-up). Then there's the problem of the length of the sound which can make a difference in Khmer language too and which is impossible to describe using Latin script.

So basically it's a mess when we share Khmer words in Latin script.
bvanfossen
Expatriate
Posts: 375
Joined: Fri Jun 01, 2018 12:40 am
Reputation: 50
Location: Phnom Penh, Cambodia
United States of America

Re: Cambodian words with no English equivalent

Post by bvanfossen » Wed Sep 05, 2018 10:27 am

Jamie_Lambo wrote:
Mon Sep 03, 2018 12:55 am

i did go to school for a while after i had been here a few years but yeah it takes time to start getting a true understanding of the language, even now im still learning, i do also have a passion for Khmer music so im always translating songs and thats my catalyst of a lot of my learning especially when im out the country,

i learnt about the above from a song actually...

បងជាប្រុសដែលឆ្លុះកញ្ចក់ ធ្មេចនេត្រាមិនមើលខ្លួនប្រាណ
Bong Jia Bros Dael Chhlos Kanhjok Tmech Netra Min Merl Kluan Bran
I am man who looks into the mirror, closing both eyes to not look at myself

Good song title

I hit play and my gf turned around and said "good song!"
explorer
Expatriate
Posts: 2127
Joined: Sat Apr 14, 2018 9:37 pm
Reputation: 703
Australia

Re: Cambodian words with no English equivalent

Post by explorer » Wed Sep 05, 2018 10:32 am

Kammekor wrote:
Wed Sep 05, 2018 10:18 am
The problem is this is a forum with loads of members from loads of backgrounds and loads of mother tongues. Using your own way to write Khmer words in Latin script becomes a mess in no time.

Then there's the problem of the length of the sound which can make a difference in Khmer language too and which is impossible to describe using Latin script.
I agree

It just helps us learn from each other, particularly those in the early stages of learning.

Learning the Khmer alphabet, and talking with Cambodian people is the answer.

But lets do it the best we can.
## I thought I knew all the answers, but they changed all the questions. ##
explorer
Expatriate
Posts: 2127
Joined: Sat Apr 14, 2018 9:37 pm
Reputation: 703
Australia

Re: Cambodian words with no English equivalent

Post by explorer » Wed Sep 05, 2018 12:35 pm

It is a lot easier to learn something correctly the first time, than it is to unlearn and relearn it.
## I thought I knew all the answers, but they changed all the questions. ##
User avatar
Jamie_Lambo
The Cool Boxing Guy
Posts: 13985
Joined: Mon Apr 20, 2015 10:34 am
Reputation: 2190
Location: Angeles
Contact:
Great Britain

Re: Cambodian words with no English equivalent

Post by Jamie_Lambo » Wed Sep 05, 2018 12:59 pm

explorer wrote:
Wed Sep 05, 2018 9:31 am
Jamie_Lambo wrote:
Sun Sep 02, 2018 7:51 pm
i Latinise it in the same style as the Khmers write it, its not really written how it sounds its just the simple system i'm used to working with.
Jamie_Lambo wrote:
Sun Sep 02, 2018 8:19 pm
the words arent English so why would we write it in an English way?
People can use any system they like. If this works for you, good.

However, we know it comes from French, and letters are used the way the French pronounce them. To use this system well, people need to understand French pronunciation. People pronouncing these words the English way will speak Khmer badly.

When sharing with English speakers, I like to write them as near as I can to the way English speakers will pronounce them.

We know, there are many sounds in Khmer which cannot be written with English letters, or French letters. These are often just rough approximations. So, for pronunciation, ask a Cambodian.

I would also strongly encourage anyone learning Khmer to learn the Khmer alphabet. It does not mean you will pronounce everything perfectly, but you will learn in theory how to pronounce it.
the way the Khmers write it is the way they think it sounds with their limited knowledge of the English Alphabet
that is why they write "S" at the end of words even though its a "H" sound due to the fact that khmer doesnt even have a final "S" sound in words, even words that end in the "S" consonant they pronounce with a "H" sound, so to a Khmer they write words with the ះ vowel with an "S" and not a "H"
eg.
ពិសេស - Pises - pronounced Piseh
មនុស្ស - Mnus - pronounced Mnuhh
ប្រុស - Bros - pronounced Broh
នេះ - Nis - pronounced Nih
បេះដូង - Besdong - pronounced Behdong
ព្រោះ - Proas - pronounced Pruah

due to this system that is why Khmers struggle saying English words that end in an "S"
Kiss - pronounced Kihh
Christmas - pronounced Krismah
:tophat: Mean Dtuk Mean Trei, Mean Loy Mean Srey
Punchy McShortstacks School of Hard Knocks :x
User avatar
Jamie_Lambo
The Cool Boxing Guy
Posts: 13985
Joined: Mon Apr 20, 2015 10:34 am
Reputation: 2190
Location: Angeles
Contact:
Great Britain

Re: Cambodian words with no English equivalent

Post by Jamie_Lambo » Wed Sep 05, 2018 1:01 pm

Kammekor wrote:
Wed Sep 05, 2018 10:18 am
explorer wrote:
Wed Sep 05, 2018 9:31 am
Jamie_Lambo wrote:
Sun Sep 02, 2018 7:51 pm
i Latinise it in the same style as the Khmers write it, its not really written how it sounds its just the simple system i'm used to working with.
Jamie_Lambo wrote:
Sun Sep 02, 2018 8:19 pm
the words arent English so why would we write it in an English way?
People can use any system they like. If this works for you, good.

However, we know it comes from French, and letters are used the way the French pronounce them. To use this system well, people need to understand French pronunciation. People pronouncing these words the English way will speak Khmer badly.

When sharing with English speakers, I like to write them as near as I can to the way English speakers will pronounce them.

We know, there are many sounds in Khmer which cannot be written with English letters, or French letters. These are often just rough approximations. So, for pronunciation, ask a Cambodian.

I would also strongly encourage anyone learning Khmer to learn the Khmer alphabet. It does not mean you will pronounce everything perfectly, but you will learn in theory how to pronounce it.
The problem is this is a forum with loads of members from loads of backgrounds and loads of mother tongues. Using your own way to write Khmer words in Latin script becomes a mess in no time.

For instance choo

The 'ch' most people will get more or less, but the oo can be read as an o-sound (Oh my...) bu some, an oo-sound (look!), or even an ò-sound (as in pop-up). Then there's the problem of the length of the sound which can make a difference in Khmer language too and which is impossible to describe using Latin script.

So basically it's a mess when we share Khmer words in Latin script.
i agree its always best to accompany it with the khmer script
:tophat: Mean Dtuk Mean Trei, Mean Loy Mean Srey
Punchy McShortstacks School of Hard Knocks :x
User avatar
Jamie_Lambo
The Cool Boxing Guy
Posts: 13985
Joined: Mon Apr 20, 2015 10:34 am
Reputation: 2190
Location: Angeles
Contact:
Great Britain

Re: Cambodian words with no English equivalent

Post by Jamie_Lambo » Wed Sep 05, 2018 1:03 pm

bvanfossen wrote:
Wed Sep 05, 2018 10:27 am
Jamie_Lambo wrote:
Mon Sep 03, 2018 12:55 am

i did go to school for a while after i had been here a few years but yeah it takes time to start getting a true understanding of the language, even now im still learning, i do also have a passion for Khmer music so im always translating songs and thats my catalyst of a lot of my learning especially when im out the country,

i learnt about the above from a song actually...

បងជាប្រុសដែលឆ្លុះកញ្ចក់ ធ្មេចនេត្រាមិនមើលខ្លួនប្រាណ
Bong Jia Bros Dael Chhlos Kanhjok Tmech Netra Min Merl Kluan Bran
I am man who looks into the mirror, closing both eyes to not look at myself

Good song title

I hit play and my gf turned around and said "good song!"
:thumb:
:tophat: Mean Dtuk Mean Trei, Mean Loy Mean Srey
Punchy McShortstacks School of Hard Knocks :x
khmerhamster
Expatriate
Posts: 295
Joined: Thu Jun 16, 2016 2:28 pm
Reputation: 111
Turkmenistan

Re: Cambodian words with no English equivalent

Post by khmerhamster » Wed Sep 05, 2018 2:24 pm

explorer wrote:Another word is gau.

This is used to describe when a foreigner is charged a higher price than a Cambodian.

There is the English price gouge, which is not used in the same situation, but has a similar meaning. This should help people remember the word. If you think of gouge and leave off the last two letters, you should remember the Cambodian word.
Means to shave.
The full phrase is to shave your head.
Taken advantage of, scammed etc.

I find associating words with English similars just leads me to pronounce them wrong.

For example the word ‘service’ សេវាកម្ម say-va-gam or shortened to say-va.

If I use the English as a reminder then I just make a bollox of pronouncing the Khmer word. I come out with some hybrid nonsense.
User avatar
Jamie_Lambo
The Cool Boxing Guy
Posts: 13985
Joined: Mon Apr 20, 2015 10:34 am
Reputation: 2190
Location: Angeles
Contact:
Great Britain

Re: Cambodian words with no English equivalent

Post by Jamie_Lambo » Fri Sep 07, 2018 2:30 am

explorer wrote:
Wed Sep 05, 2018 9:12 am
Jamie_Lambo wrote:
Sun Sep 02, 2018 8:19 pm
the Ch and the Chh consonants dont sound the same so why would you write Chh the same as Ch
I use J and Ch, the way they sound in English.
the J sound in English like...
like the J sound in Jump...
or the J sound in Giant...
or the J sounds in Ginger...
or the J sound in Bridge...
or the J sound in Large...
or the J sound in Duke or Dual...
or maybe the J sound in Exaggerate...?

how about the Ch sound in English...
like the Ch in Check...
or the Ch sounds in Church...
or the Ch sound in Chaos...
or the Ch sound in Ache...
or the Ch sound in Stomach...
or the Ch sound in Champagne...
or the Ch sound in Machine...


as @khmerhamster mentioned you need to leave the English behind :D focus on the Khmer sounds and the Khmer Alphabet, linking it to English will only slow you down mate
:tophat: Mean Dtuk Mean Trei, Mean Loy Mean Srey
Punchy McShortstacks School of Hard Knocks :x
User avatar
Jamie_Lambo
The Cool Boxing Guy
Posts: 13985
Joined: Mon Apr 20, 2015 10:34 am
Reputation: 2190
Location: Angeles
Contact:
Great Britain

Re: Cambodian words with no English equivalent

Post by Jamie_Lambo » Fri Sep 07, 2018 1:11 pm

Jamie_Lambo wrote:
Fri Sep 07, 2018 2:30 am
explorer wrote:
Wed Sep 05, 2018 9:12 am
Jamie_Lambo wrote:
Sun Sep 02, 2018 8:19 pm
the Ch and the Chh consonants dont sound the same so why would you write Chh the same as Ch
I use J and Ch, the way they sound in English.
the J sound in English like...
like the J sound in Jump...
or the J sound in Giant...
or the J sounds in Ginger...
or the J sound in Bridge...
or the J sound in Large...
or the J sound in Duke or Dual...
or maybe the J sound in Exaggerate...?

how about the Ch sound in English...
like the Ch in Check...
or the Ch sounds in Church...
or the Ch sound in Chaos...
or the Ch sound in Ache...
or the Ch sound in Stomach...
or the Ch sound in Champagne...
or the Ch sound in Machine...


as khmerhamster mentioned you need to leave the English behind :D focus on the Khmer sounds and the Khmer Alphabet, linking it to English will only slow you down mate
@explorer
to elaborate further, for another common example...
the word for Diamond ពេជ្រ it has your J consonant, but at the end and is transcribed as 'ch' (eg. Koh Pich/Diamond Island) and is pronounced very similar to the "ch" in "Stomach" and not pronounced how you would transcribe it using a J sound
more examples of a final J consonant...
មុជទឹក - Much Dtuk - Pronounced Muk Dtuk (bathe/shower)
បន្ដិច - Bontech - Pronounced Bontek (small/little)
តូច - Touch - Pronounced Touik (also small/little)
ដូច - Doch - Pronounced Douik (similar/alike)

so if you are transcribing it how it sounds in English, you need to use both "J" and "Ch", which means when you are transcribing the ឆ and ឈ consonants you need to spell them as "Chh"
i hope that helps you understand a little better mate regards to the "J/Ch" and the "Chh"
:tophat: Mean Dtuk Mean Trei, Mean Loy Mean Srey
Punchy McShortstacks School of Hard Knocks :x
Post Reply Previous topicNext topic
  • Similar Topics
    Replies
    Views
    Last post

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: IraHayes, Jamie_Lambo, Teddy1 and 65 guests