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July 11, 2022
Simon
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Do you want to travel to Cambodia, but you haven't started to learn Khmer yet? In case you don't know where to start, we've put together the 6 Khmer question words you need to know before traveling! We've also included some great sentence examples to help you practice using these question words in real life!

Whether you plan to stay in Cambodia short-term or long-term, you can avoid many misunderstandings and talk with the locals directly if you learn the Khmer language and these question words! We know that Khmer might seem hard at first, but no language is impossible. If you put in the necessary time and effort, you'll see progress, no matter how slow.

What Should You Know Before You Visit Cambodia?

khmer question words

Before venturing off to Cambodia, you should know some essential facts about the country beforehand!

Language Of Cambodia

As you probably already know, the Khmer language is the official language of Cambodia.

Proper Greetings

The official way to greet people in Cambodia is with a sampeah. Basically, a sampeah is when you place both palms together in front of your chest.

When greeting peers, you can keep the level of the sampeah near your chest. For elders or higher-ranking people, it should be placed near your chin. It should be at nose level for parents, grandparents, or teachers. When addressing kings, monks, or when praying at the temple, your sampeah should be at eyebrow level.

Bartering

If you're going to Cambodia, don't be afraid to barter and ask for discounts. We know it can be a little difficult or uncomfortable at first, but think of it as a way to practice your language skills! Of course, don't get so caught up in asking for a discount that you come off rude. In the end, getting even a little discount is better than nothing.

Losing Face

Like many others in Asia, Cambodians have a fear of losing face. So, to not lose other people's respect, they tend to smile at everything.

Remember that this doesn’t always mean they are happy or that when they nod in agreement, they understand, but, instead, they don't want to admit that they don't know or understand something. It's not necessarily a bad quality, but just something to be aware of when you go to Cambodia.

6 Question Words In The Khmer Language

We're all familiar with the 5 question words, so let's go straight into what those are in Khmer!

EnglishTransliterationKhmer
Who?anaknea?អ្នកណា?
What?avei?អ្វី?
Where?nowenea?នៅឯណា?
When?pelna​?ពេលណា​?
Why?hetoavei?ហេតុអ្វី?

Although it doesn't start with a "w," there's one more important question word we need to include.

How?yeangmech?យ៉ាងម៉េច?

There you go! Now you've learned all 6 question words in the Khmer language. While there aren't that many, these are the most important words to know because they are the foundation for so many questions in Khmer. Speaking of questions, let's learn some of the most commonly asked ones in Khmer!

Learn The Language More By Asking These Khmer Questions

You'll definitely want to know these questions if you're visiting Cambodia.

EnglishTransliterationKhmer
Can I help you?tae khnhom ach chuoy anak ban te?តើខ្ញុំអាចជួយអ្នកបានទេ?
Do you speak English?tae anak niyeay pheasaeaangklesa te?តើអ្នកនិយាយភាសាអង់គ្លេសទេ?
How are you?anak​ sokhasabbay​ te?អ្នក​សុខសប្បាយ​ទេ?
How close is it?tae vea now chit bonna?តើវានៅជិតប៉ុណ្ណា?
How do you get to...?tae anak towdl daoy rbiebnea...?តើអ្នកទៅដល់ដោយរបៀបណា...?
How far is it?tae chamngeay bonman?តើចម្ងាយប៉ុន្មាន?
How much is this?tae nih tamlei bonman?តើនេះតម្លៃប៉ុន្មាន?
How old are you?tae anak ayou bonman?តើអ្នកអាយុប៉ុន្មាន?
What are you doing?tae​ anak​ kampoung​ thveuavei?តើ​អ្នក​កំពុង​ធ្វើអ្វី?
What time is it?tae maong bonman?តើម៉ោងប៉ុន្មាន?
What's this?saei​ ke​ hnoeng?ស្អី​គេ​ហ្នឹង?
What's your name?tae​ anak​ chhmoh​ avei?តើ​អ្នក​ឈ្មោះ​អ្វី?
When can we meet?tae yeung ach chuobaknea nowpel na?តើយើងអាចជួបគ្នានៅពេលណា?
When will I see you again?tae pelna khnhom nung chuob anak mtong tiet?តើពេលណាខ្ញុំនឹងជួបអ្នកម្តងទៀត?
Where are you going?tae​ anak​ kampoung​ townea?តើ​អ្នក​កំពុង​ទៅណា?
Where can I buy...?tae khnhom ach tinh ban nowenea...?តើខ្ញុំអាចទិញបាននៅឯណា...?
Where can I find...?tae khnhom ach rk ban nowenea...?តើខ្ញុំអាចរកបាននៅឯណា...?
Where do you live?tae​ anak​ rsanow​ ena?តើ​អ្នក​រស់នៅ​ឯណា?
Where is...?nowenea...?នៅឯណា...?
Where is he?tae​ keat​ nowenea?តើ​គាត់​នៅឯណា?
Where is she?tae neang nowenea?តើនាងនៅឯណា?
Who are you?anak​ chea​ norna?អ្នក​ជា​នរណា?
Why are you doing that?hetoaveibeanchea anak thveu dauchneh?ហេតុអ្វីបានជាអ្នកធ្វើដូច្នេះ?
Why do you like it?hetoaveibeanchea​ anak​ chaulchett​ vea?ហេតុអ្វីបានជា​អ្នក​ចូលចិត្ត​វា?
Why don't you like it?hetoaveibeanchea anak min chaulchett vea?ហេតុអ្វីបានជាអ្នកមិនចូលចិត្តវា?

As you can see, the 6 question words make up the majority of these basic Khmer questions. You better start learning!

Keep Learning Khmer And Other Languages With The Ling App!

khmer question words

Aren't Khmer question words fascinating?! If you want to continue learning basic vocab and phrases in Khmer, about Khmer culture, or Cambodian history, you can check out the Ling App!

Ling is a language learning app where you can learn over 60 languages, ranging from Korean to Serbian, through fun and comprehensive lessons. The lessons also feature relevant vocabulary that can be used in real-life scenarios, not to mention the opportunity to practice writing the language. This is a handy feature, often not included in most other language apps, when learning languages that use characters or scripts as complex as Khmer.

By far, the most impressive feature of Ling is the interactive AI chatbot. With the app, you can communicate and have intelligent conversations with the chatbot and even receive feedback if your pronunciation could be improved. After all, learning a new language won't do much good if people can't understand you, right?

While the app has many other great features, we'd be here writing all day if we had to address them all in this blog post. But, speaking of blog posts, if you don't already know, Ling has a huge language blog filled with content related to languages, cultures, food, and language tips. If you're ever confused during a lesson or want to learn additional information, you can always check the blog for answers!

Whether you're just starting your language journey or you've been a lifelong language learner, Ling can help you reach all your language goals!

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Simon

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