Cambodians are known to be hospitable and nice to tourists. Everywhere you go in Cambodia, you will meet at least one Cambodian who will gladly say hello, show kindness to you, and will ask you some questions to know if you are okay. A few of those questions are the following :
If you were asked questions like this, how would you respond? When you were asked some Khmer questions, it is polite to respond by simply using the words yes/no/ok in Khmer. There is nothing to lose if you try. In fact, it will make your whole trip a lot easier if you know how to say yes/no/ok in Khmer. This may also come in handy when asking for directions, ordering food in a restaurant, and even traveling across the big cities like Siem Reap riding tuk-tuk.
They say that languages make people united. Before we go deeper, let us first define what is the Khmer language. Before we go deeper, let us first define what is the Khmer language. Khmer is the official language spoken in Cambodia. Some may find some similarities with Thai, Vietnamese and Lao because of the borrowings.
If you want to visit Cambodia, make sure to bring with you some Khmer phrases to back you up. Although most of the locals especially in cities like Siem Reap and Phnom Penh know how to speak in English, it wouldn't cost you too much to learn a little bit of their language.
Just like in any other languages yes/no/ok is an essential part of a conversation. There is a great number of ways on how these words are used that's why it is one of the must-learn words when having a trip to different places.
Did you experience traveling around a foreign country without even knowing how to communicate with the people? You can't even ask someone for help because if you were being asked, you just keep on nodding and pointing your finger. Well, worry no more. Learn how to say Yes/No/Ok in Khmer.
'Yes' is a three-letter word in English but it is really functional especially when traveling to a foreign land. On daily basis, saying yes opens up to new challenges and opportunities. It is also a call for empowerment and affirmation for others. In this part of the blog, you will learn three different ways to say Yes in the Khmer language.
One of the unique characteristics of the Khmer language is saying Yes because females and males have different ways of saying it. If you are a male, Yes is pronounced as baht (បាទ). On the other hand, if you are a female, Yes is pronounced as jah (ចា). This is really important and interesting so please remember this one. This is also the formal way to say Yes in Khmer.
If you are in a foreign country, you have to show politeness to the locals through your words. It is a sign of respect for their culture and traditions. To respond Yes in a more polite way, you can add the word thank you at the end. To say "Yes, Thank you very much." in Khmer, say Baht / Jah , Arkoun Chraen . (បាទ / ចា, អរគុណច្រើន). You can use this when ordering food to eat in a restaurant when asked "Can I help you?" and many other situations.
Although Khmer gives importance to respect and formalities, you can loosen up a little when talking with your peers. To say Yes in an informal way, say Dachkhat (ដាច់ខាត). This means "Absolutely" in English.
Saying no to one thing means saying yes to another. When you respectfully say no to something simply means you are spending your precious time and energy on something that is more meaningful for you.
Now that you have learned how to say Yes in Khmer, let us now learn how to say No in Khmer. You also need to know how to say "No" especially if you are not that comfortable. Learn these words and surely, you'll be fine.
To say No in Khmer, simply use the word ot-tei (អត់ទេ/ទេ). This literally means No in English and it is the most common way to say No in Khmer. It is the basic response to the questions, "Do you speak Khmer?", "Are you okay?" and many other yes or no questions.
Going around the country, you might be offered different products and services by vendors and tuk-tuk drivers. If you have extra money to buy or avail of what are they offering, you go and buy it. But if your budget is tight, it would be fine to say no in a nice and formal way. To do this, say ot-tei, arkoun (អត់ទេ/ទេ, អរគុណ). This means "No, thank you" in English.
Sometimes, your friends or some of the locals will ask you to come with them to go places and do something fun like having a beer, eat delicious food, or watch movies. If you are in this kind of situation but you don't feel like doing it or you have other commitments, you don't need to come up with an excuse. You can just politely say no by saying Som toh, nih ,minmen chea pelvelea la te (សុំទោស, នេះមិនមែនជាពេលវេលាល្អទេ). This means, "Sorry, this is not a good time." in English.
The word ok is sometimes referred to as "The Favorite Word of Average People". Aside from agreeing, it is used in many other contexts. Sometimes, it says that something is satisfactory, but it’s not especially good.
Aside from Yes and No, you should also learn how to say ok in Khmer. This may come in handy because it is also one of the common responses in basic questions and statements to show politeness.
One of the basic words that you need to know is how to say ok in Khmer. You always have your thumb do its job but because you are in a foreign land, try doing it formally by learning the Khmer word. To say Ok in Khmer, use Ylprom (យល់ព្រម).
Another way of saying ok is saying "No problem". This is like saying that everything is fine with you and you have nothing against what you are talking about. To say "No problem" in Khmer, use Ort bañe-hah teh (អត់បញ្ហាទេ).
If you want to be a little informal when talking with your peers, you can say មិនអីទេ (min ei te). This means "Alright" in English. This may be used in different situations in day-to-day conversation.
Practice these three words over and over again. Make sure to pronounce each sound right for you to be understood clearly. Remember also to smile to look more pleasant and polite.
Aside from the words given above, you can also use the following words in certain situations:
Meaning: "I couldn't agree more"
Usage: This can be used to say yes to someone's statement or idea.
Meaning: "Why not?"
Usage: It can be also be used to acknowledge someone's idea.
Meaning: "I think so"
Usage: This phrase expresses openness for a possibility of a certain idea.
Meaning: “I see what you’re saying but…”
Usage: This is a way of saying no or disagreeing with an idea. Make sure that before you disagree, you have a clear reason why.
Meaning: "That’s a valid point, but…"
Usage: This is also another way to say no to an idea but you have to give a fair argument.
Meaning: "I'm sorry, but I do not agree with you on this.
Usage: It is used to disagree but in a polite way.
Nodding, pointing and other non-verbal cues are commonly used by travelers when they do not know how to communicate with the locals. Do not be one of them and try learning how to say yes/no/ok in Khmer. With these words, you will be able to communicate well with the locals in the most basic but effective way.
Younger generations are very exposed to technology and social networking sites that's why they are also exposed in different ways to say yes/no/ok in Khmer. There are emojis, gifs, and other elements on the internet that you can use to express these words.
Aside from this, try learning how to say hello, sorry, and please in Khmer. These words will also be helpful for your whole trip. Learn these words before you say goodbye to Cambodia. Surely, it will remain in your heart and mind.
Now that you have learned how to say Yes/No/Ok in Khmer, you may now learn more about the Khmer language through Ling App. Learning languages may sound daunting and challenging. You have to be exposed to the number of words which is hard to understand and phrases that you are not familiar with. You should also learn the sounds and how each word is pronounced. Thanks to Ling App, you don't have to worry about any of these.
Through Ling App, you may have a meaningful language learning experience through its online content and exercise that will surely develop your speaking and writing skills. You can learn languages starting from simple words, phrases down to sentences and expressions.
Do not stop learning. Do not be contented by just knowing how to say yes/no/ok in Khmer. The web gives you a great opportunity to be better so why not make the most out of it. Go grab your phone, go to the site and start learning Khmer now!