Useful Khmer Vocabulary
Soksaby (soks-a-bye) / How are you and I am fine
It may seem strange but the Khmer way of asking “how are you?” and responding “I’m fine” is the same.
Ot Teh (ot-tei)/ No
Learning how to say no will come in very handy for turning down the heckling tuk-tuk drivers in Cambodia.
Bah (bah) / Yes (m.) and Jah (chaa)/ Yes (f.)
It is usually said several times. You’ll hear a lot of “bah, bah, bah” and “chaa chaa chaas”.
Learn More About the Language
An Analytic Language
Like other Austroasiatic languages, Khmer is an analytic language, i.e., it does not use inflections to express grammatical relations. Instead, grammatical relations are signalled by word order and by various particles.
Khmer nouns are not marked for number, gender, or case. Number can be inferred from the context, through the use of particles, numerals, or by reduplication.
The pronominal system of Khmer is quite complex and includes many honorific variations that are sensitive to the relative status of the interlocutors.