10+ Amazing Ways To Say Hello In Khmer And Other Greetings

Hello In Khmer

Learning a new language without knowing where to start is not easy. But if you are planning to, it is ideal to start with day-to-day conversational words. Amongst the first things you should be learning, therefore, are the standard greetings and basic phrases: hello, goodbye, yes, no, thank you, etc. Making a good impression on the locals by trying to use their language can earn you a lot of respect.

Aside from having magnificent ruins and amazing temples, Cambodia is also known for its people and traditions that really capture visitors’ hearts. We all know that a simple ‘hello’ could lead to a million things. That’s why in this blog, you will learn how to say ‘Hello’ in the Khmer language. This is a quick guide on how to greet people in Khmer, Cambodia’s national language. Included are the transliterations and Khmer versions for reference. Oh, and it is not tonal, either. They just stress the final syllable of the word.

Saying Hello In Khmer

It is amazing that it only takes a few seconds to say hello, but it can make a big difference in someone’s day. There are times in our lives when the bravest thing we can do is just to say Hello. If you want to travel to different places, it is really essential if you know at least how to say Hello to speak with the locals.

Figuring out how to initiate a conversation wherever you are indicating not just being polite but also expressing openness and respect to other cultures.

Different countries have their own way of saying hello in their own native language. In French, they say Bonjour. In Spanish, they say Hola. In Chinese, they say Nǐn hǎo. This will also depend on the level of formality, which is really important to know when you are new to the country.

How To Say Hello in Khmer Language

How To Say Hello In The Khmer Language

Cambodians are known for their kindness, being gentle, and being polite. If you travel to Cambodia, the first thing you need to know is how to say Hello in the Khmer language properly. Although most of the population of Cambodians know how to speak English, especially the younger ones, it is still nice and heart-warming if you use their native language.

If you want to say hello to someone in the Khmer language, you have two (2) different ways- Chum-Reab-Suor  (ជំរាបសួរ ) for formal and Suo-Sdei (សួស្តី)for informal. 

Choum Reap Sour (Formal) VS Susadei (Informal)

As what is stated above, if you are new to a certain country, it is best when you use the formal one- Chum-Reab-Suor  (ជំរាបសួរ ). It is also used when you are talking to older people and those of a higher social standing to show respect.

On the other, Suo-Sdei (សួស្តី)is used for informal conversations, such as greeting a friend or a peer that is the same age as you.

Being aware of the difference between formal and informal will really help you to avoid misunderstandings with the locals. It is also a reflection of respect and sincerity as a foreigner to their land. 

How To Say Hello In Khmer Properly

After knowing the right words to say Hello, let us know the right way to say and do it. Did you know that Cambodians have their own unique way of greeting someone? This unique way of saying Hello and also saying Goodbye is called Sampeah (សំពះ).

There are five versions of Sampeah.

First Sampeah

  • It is used when Cambodians greet their friends and peers.
  • Place both hands or palms together at the chest level.

Second Sampeah

  • It is used when Cambodian greet their bosses, older people, or higher-ranking people
  • Place both hands or palms together at the mouth level.

Third Sampeah

  • It is used when Cambodians greet their parents, grandparents, or teacher.
  • Place both hands or palms together at the nose level.

Fourth Sampeah

  • It is used when Cambodians greet the king or monks.
  • Place both hands or palms together at the eyebrows level.

Fifth Sampeah

  • It is used when Cambodians pray to God or Buddah or sacred statues.
  • Place both hands or palms together at the forehead level.

Learning how to greet someone Hello and Goodbye properly in Khmer is really important. It is a way of respecting who you are talking to, whether they are older or younger than you. Now that you already know how to do it, can you practice saying greeting in Khmer with sampeah? 

Hello in Khmer Greetings And Other Phrases

Greetings And Other Khmer Phrases

If you want to travel to Cambodia, it is a good idea to learn some simple phrases that you can use to speak with the locals. Knowing some Khmer phrases will not only help you talk with other people but also symbolizes your respect for their culture. Imagine a foreigner trying their way to speak your own native language. Isn’t it touching?

How would you start a conversation? How do you want to express your gratitude and humility? How will you greet others on a normal day and on any grand Cambodian occasion? What do you need to know about saying hello and greeting in Khmer? Here are some words and phrases that will surely be useful in building a connection with the locals. 

Greetings In Khmer

When you are in a foreign country, it is really hard to initiate a conversation with someone. Greetings are always used to open any conversation. Knowing that not all people are comfortable in starting a conversation, as a foreigner, it is your duty to know at least basic greetings that will help you get along with the people. If you are shy or having doubts about talking with other people, here are some Khmer greetings that you may use: 

English TranslationKhmerPronunciation
How are you?តើអ្នក​សុខសប្បាយ​ទេ?Taeu-Neak-Sok-Sabay-Te
Long time no seeខានជួបគ្នាយូរហើយKhan-Chuob-Knea-Yu-Haeuy
Have a nice dayសូមរីករាយថ្ងៃថ្មីSoum-Rikreay-Thngai-Thmei
Good morningអរុណ​សួស្ដីAh-Run-Suo-Sdei
Good afternoonទិវាសួស្ដីTivea-Suo-Sdei
Good eveningសាយណ្ហសួស្តីSayon-Suo-Sdei
Good nightរាត្រីសួស្ដីReatrei-Suo-Sdei
Goodbye (Formal)ជំរាបលាJom-Reab-Leah
Goodbye (Informal)លាហើយLeah-Haeuy
Good luckសូមសំណាងល្អSoum-Samnang-L’Or

Now that you know the basic greetings in Khmer, you will surely get along and start a conversation anywhere and any time of the day in Cambodia. Also, wherever you are, Cambodians will always make feel you welcomed.

Hello in Khmer Special Occasions

Special Occasions And Holiday Greetings

People love to visit places during special occasions and holidays. This is a way of having a deeper understanding and experience of the culture of a certain country. In Cambodia, there are lots of special occasions that are celebrated throughout the entire year. If you happen to visit the country on any important occasion, here are some other ways to greet people. 

KhmerPronunciationEnglish Translation
រីករាយថ្ងៃបុណ្យណូអែលRikreayThngai-Bon-No-AelMerry Christmas
រីករាយ​ឆ្នាំ​ថ្មីRikreay-Chnam-ThmeiHappy New Year
រីករាយថ្ងៃខួបកំណើតRikreay-Thngai-Khuob-KamnaeutHappy Birthday

Some people think that the best time to go to Cambodia is during the  Cambodian holidays. Their celebrations are truly amazing that’s why if you are lucky to witness and experience at least one of these, it is a good idea to know how to greet people. It is not just about greeting and meeting great people but also being part of the important times in their country.

Expressing Politeness In Khmer

While you are traveling across the country, you might be needing help or favor from others, especially if you are not familiar with the place. When you find yourself in that situation, don’t forget to be polite. Please, Thank you, and Sorry are some of the powerful words that express gratitude and humility. When you are asking something, whether big or small, make sure to say thank you, stay polite, and remember these Khmer phrases. 

English TranslationKhmerPronunciation
Thank youសូមអរគុណSoumOr-Kun
You’re welcomeមិន​អី​ទេMin-Ei-Te
Excuse me/SorryសូមទោសSoum-Tous

As a foreigner, you should always remember to be sensitive to their culture because it will surely be different from where we came from. The misunderstanding may be brought conflicts with others, which is why learning how to be great politely is a must in visiting not just Cambodia but every country of the world.

Gendered Words In Khmer

Some words in Khmer are gendered in that the word changes based on whether a male or female is saying it, which can get confusing. While there is just one example that would be used in everyday greetings and communication, I have made sure to include them here.

  • Yes (male): Baat (បាទ)
  • Yes (female): Jaah (ច៎ា)
  • No: Teh (ទេ)

A Great Starting Point For Vocabulary

Whether you are visiting Cambodia for work, living there, or just backpacking, learning these Khmer phrases for greeting people can go a long way. Remember, too, that actions speak louder than words. The way you act will reflect your sincerity. From a simple hello to the sampeah, it is interesting to learn the ways different cultures and languages, like Khmer, greet each other. So even if there are just a few words you learn before you arrive in Cambodia, these greetings should be at the top of your list. 

Learn Khmer With Ling app

Why Learn How To Say Hello In Khmer? Learn With Ling!

People are often shy to initiate a conversation when they are in other countries. Talking with the locals in might be challenging if you do not exert any effort to learn even just a few Khmer phrases. Always remember that the greatest achievement in visiting a country is learning about its culture.

To do that, you should express your respect and sincerity first by learning their language. From this, you will develop a great connection with the people, start a conversation, and build meaningful encounters with the locals. Learning a new language may not be easy, but it’s a good start if you initiate your conversations.

This connection with the people will surely bring you a wonderful travel experience in Cambodia that will always remain in your heart. As they say, every journey starts with a single step. Here, every meaningful conversation starts with a simple hello.

Ling is the best app to start with when learning vocabulary, as it includes practice puzzles for reading, listening, speaking, and listening. You can even download it right now on the Play Store or App Store.

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