Learn Khmer
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1-3 minutes to learn new vocabulary
Select a language, lesson, and topic of study. Get introduced to new vocabulary and any relevant grammar tips.
3-5 minutes to review
Quick comprehension checks! You might be asked to match the photo with the word, sort the sentence, or match the cards together.
3-5 minutes to test your listening skills
Listen to the conversation between two native speakers. Next, fill in the blanks of their conversation accordingly.
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Frequently asked questions about learning Khmer

Is It Easy To Learn Khmer?

Khmer is classified as a category III language, according to the Foreign Service Institute (FSI), along with Gujarati, Lao, Bulgarian, and Polish. In other words, this language isn’t for the faint of heart! If you’ve always dreamed of traveling to Cambodia or you have Cambodian friends, then it’s worth it to learn Khmer.

With 13 million native speakers of the Khmer language of Cambodia, plus the 16 million speakers spread out across the southern parts of Vietnam and northeastern parts of Thailand, there will be plenty of people for you to practice with.

Want to speak Khmer fast? Learn these basic facts about the Khmer language:

  • Grammar: While Khmer doesn’t have gender rules or numbers for nouns, it does have complex word order and diverse grammatical particles.


  • Vocabulary: Khmer has many words that communicate societal and familial hierarchical concepts. There are also a lot of loan words borrowed from Chinese and Vietnamese.


  • Speaking/Listening: There are three dialects of Khmer. Standard Khmer can be found in populous cities like Phnom Penh and Siem Reap, and Northern Cambodia. Make sure you hone in on your speaking and listening skills, that way you’re able to distinguish between the different dialects.


  • Reading/Writing: Khmer is written and read from left to right, and sentence structure tends to follow Subject-Verb-Order. There are 70 total letters in the Khmer alphabet.


Learning Khmer doesn’t have to be overwhelming. Want to know how? Now, you can use the Ling App to learn everything about Khmer, from vocabulary to grammar, and much more!

Is Khmer Similar To Thai?

Yes, the Khmer language is similar to Thai, but not the same.


The Khmer written language does share similarities to the Thai script because both languages are rooted in the Old Khmer civilization. However, Khmer is a member of the Austroasiatic language family under the Mon-Khmer family of languages, while Thai is part of the Tai language family of Southeast Asia.


Thai and Khmer still share much of the same vocabulary and Sanskrit and Pali loanwords. Between the two languages, roughly 30% – 40% of the cognates are the same. The syntax (word order, lack of inflections, particle semantics, and so on) also align 80% – 90% of the time. As a result, native Khmer speakers can usually learn basic Thai in 2-3 weeks.


However, it’s important to note that since Thai comes from the old Khmer script, the two language have completely different ways of pronunciation.


The good news is that you can learn both Thai and Khmer with the Ling App. With 200+ comprehensive lessons per language, you can be fluent in these beautiful languages in no time!

Is Khmer A Tonal Language?

No, Khmer is not a tonal language.


Tonal languages are languages with words that convey a different meaning if their tone or pitch is changed. Hence, you have to be very careful if you’re learning a tonal language because you don’t want to end up saying the wrong word!


Khmer is an orthographical syllable-based language, so even though it might not have tones, it still has significant registers. Orthographical syllables in the head register are usually clear and full. On the other hand, the chest register is lower-pitched and more hushed.


Khmer pronunciation also has three types of consonants and two types of vowels plus diacritics.


If you’re looking to learn Khmer the easy way, look no further than the Ling App! With Ling, there are plenty of speaking and listening exercises to help you master your pronunciation in no time.

How Many Khmer Alphabets Are There?

There are 74 letters in the modern Khmer script.


The Khmer Alphabet or Khmer Script (អក្សរខ្មែរ,  ksâr Khmêr) is the official alphabet of Cambodia, and came from the ancient Indian Brahmi script through the Pallava script. It originally had 35 consonants, but modern Khmer only uses 33. In addition, there are 12 independent vowels and 23 vowels in Khmer.


More Facts About Khmer Script:


  • Writing system uses the Syllabic/Abugida alphabet, with two forms for each consonant
  • Written from left to right
  • Vowels are written with separate letters or diacritical marks
  • Vowels are spoken differently depending on whether they are connected to a first series or second series consonant
  • Every consonant has a subscript form used to write the cluster’s second consonant
  • Two types of modern Khmer script are oblique script and round script
  • Spaces are only used to signal the end of a clause or entire sentence
  • Many terms have more than one approved spelling, despite national efforts to standardize written Khmer