For a long time I haven’t written anything about the Khmer language in this blog. That’s about to change – so let’s start right away: In this article I present you a little conversation with greeting, question about the state of health and the name, which you can repeat in Khmer. Just try it out – I wish you a lot of fun! To listen to the Khmer pronunciation there is an audio file for all idioms.

“Hello” in Khmer -> sou sdey

Sou sdey is used for greeting among relatives and friends. “dey” sounds similar to the English “day”.

Listen to sou sdey:

“Good day” in Khmer -> joom reab souur

There are five different forms of greeting in Cambodia: The “Sampeah”. The hands are folded together and, depending on the degree of respect of the other person, are held in front of the chest rising up to the forehead.

Listen to joom reab souur:

“How are you?” in Khmer -> ter neak sok sabay te?

Cambodians ask this question when they start a conversation among friends. This is considered very polite.

Listen to ter neak so sabay te:

“I’m fine, thanks” in Khmer -> knhom sok sabay te, arw-kun

The two words “sok sabay” can also be used alone as an answer. “sok” means “healthy” and “sabay” can be translated as “good”.

Listen to khnom sok sabay te,  arw-kun:

“I’m tired” in Khmer -> knhom hort nas

“Khnom” means “I” and is also used for “me”.

Listen to knhom hort nas:

“What’s your name?” in Khmer -> taer neak maen chhmos arvey?

In the Khmer language most questions start with the word “ter”.

listen to taer neak maen chhmos arvey?:

“My name is …” in Khmer -> knhom mean chmoa

Literally translated, Khnom mean chmoa means “I have name”.

Listen to khmom mean tschmoa:

“How old are you?” in Khmer -> taer neak maen aryok punman?

If you want to know something about another person, the word “neak” is always placed after the question word “ter”. “Neak” means “you”.

Listen to taer neak maen aryok punman?: 

“I am … years old” in Khmer -> knhom maen aryok

For Cambodians it is polite to ask their age in order to show respect for others.

Listen to knhom maen aryok:

“Nice to meet you” in Khmer -> rick reeay nas del ban skall neak

Literally translated it means “Nice to know you”.

Listen to rick reeay nas del ban skall neak:

“Goodbye” in Khmer -> joom reab lea

The formal “joom reab lea” is used to say goodbye to strangers or higher personalities. As with greetings, the palms of the hands are laid on top of each other and held in front of the body – Sampeah, the Cambodian form of greeting.

Listen to joom reab lea:

“Bye” in Khmer -> le hai

Among friends the Cambodians call themselves “le hai”. Often also “sok sabay”, which means “all the best”.

listen to le hai:

Not that complicated, is it? By the way: The next article about the Khmer language is all about shopping ;-)

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