You know you must learn Khmer, but have you done it? Khmer instructor has been training foreigners in the finer points of the Cambodian language for 5 years now. Nowadays, she talks to us about popular mistakes that Cambodia expats often create when learning Khmer, plus guidelines for learning the language.

What is the most challenging part of mastering Khmer for Cambodia expats?
There are a lot of difficult parts of mastering Khmer for foreigners. Khmer has some sounds that English don’t have. Lots of times the dt and ng sound at the the starting point of a word are hard for them to reproduce.

How long does it get for an expat to find out Khmer to a efficient level?
Each and every student is very unique. Some come wanting training five days a week, plus learning a lot on their own. Or some study once a week, but they have a partner giving them a lot of practice. But If there was a college student who lived in Cambodia, I would say right after 6 months the student could speak genuinely well. Reading and writing is also feasible in 6 months, but the student has to be inspired and find the best way to learn.

What are the regular mistakes that expats make when attempting to speak Khmer?
People from other countries make some mistakes when talking Khmer, but for the most part, the grammar is simple compared to English. Some Khmer words are ordered diverse than English and the student will try to translate accurately, instead of remember the various rules of the Cambodian language. For more information visit

Do you have any guidelines for expats who are learning Khmer?
The 1st tip for learning Khmer is ,practice. If you stay in Cambodia, go order food in Khmer. Pretend that you don’t speak English & try only Khmer.


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