I have written this book of essential Cambodian grammar and phrases with the intention of giving the reader a handy guide to everyday phrases in everyday situations, in a format which I hope will be easy to use and understand.
First there is a phrase in English, second, a phonetic English rendering of Khmer, then I write the phrase in Khmer, and finally I put the phrase in Khmer syntax.
Have you already eaten rice?
[ neak nham baay haeuy-nouw? ]
How to say: You have eaten rice already?
Khmer can be difficult to pronounce as there are many sounds that don’t exist in English, but Khmer is not a tonal language, which does make things a bit easier. The best thing to do, is to use this book then practice speaking with a native speaker. You’ll find that many Cambodians will be very happy when you speak to them in Khmer.
Another thing that makes Khmer somewhat easier to learn then some other languages, is the simplicity of the grammar. There are no real tenses, or conjugations for gender. Tenses are indicated by saying when an action has taken place or by adding words such as “will” or “already”.
I’ve set the book up in chapters, so that it can be easily referred to in common situations and I would recommend the reader go through the whole book and see if they can find phrases that they think will be useful to them. This will help the user familiarize themselves with some Khmer words and idioms, and I expect will hasten the learning process.
Thank you for using my book and I hope you enjoy your journey in the Khmer language. It is my sincere wish that your stay in our beautiful country is a pleasant one, and that your meetings with friendly Khmer people is made easier with the use of this book.
The Khmer Lesson (TKL),