Khmer survival guide

Glossary of terms in Khmer

Khmer survival guide

The prospect of picking up such an uncommon language from scratch upon arriving in Cambodia may seem like a mountain, and leave you feeling apprehensive. To ease your nerves, here is a brief guide (with Khmer words written in a familiar alphabet) to get you started.


Hello (formal) - Johm Riab Sua

Hello (informal) - Sua s’dei

How are you? - Sohk sabbye tey?

I’m fine - Khnyohm sohk sabbye

Excuse me - Som toh

Sorry - Ot toh

Short answers

Yes - Baat (used by men), Jaa (used by women)

No - Ot yet

Thank you - Ahr coon


Do you speak English? -Ta neah nieh yey anglay?

Do you have…?-Ta neah mean…?

How much..? (Price)- Tlai bon mahn?


Have - meanh

Go - tau

See - keunj

Buy - teng

Eat - njahm

Understand - yol

Speak - nieht yey

Want - djong


Hot - k'dau 

Cold - troh chey

Beautiful - s’aat

Big - tom

Small - toit

Happy - sabbye

Hungry - klearn

Thirsty - srea dtuhk

Other important vocabulary

Taxi -Ta-xi

Bus - laan krong

Drink - puc

Water - dtuhk

Food - mahobe

Restaurant - resturawn

Hotel - ohtel

Room - samruhp

TV - tou-ra-tour

Straight - trong

Left - chaweng

Right - s’dam

Further reading

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