The Khmer spoken on Cambodia’s bustling highways is really different come that regularly taught in textbooks. Here is part lingo to aid you speak like a neighborhood in Cambodia.

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Do friend knows her oums from your pous? A little slang go an extremely long way in Cambodia, as people rarely speak the complete speech turned in official guidebooks. Brush up on these 15 Khmer slang words and also you i will not ~ be a barang for lot longer!

The officially greeting is chom reap sour in Khmer. However, you’ll be met v a confused look if you use this in casual setting, for example, come say hello to a tuk-tuk driver or shop worker. Instead, usage the unshened susaday and you’ll be rewarded with a smile fairly than befuddlement. Of course, there are exceptions come every rule, and if you’re meeting a human being of importance then switch to the formal means of saying hello.


Chom reap lear is the formal means to speak goodbye, but similar to hello, this is only provided in official settings. On a day-to-day basis, li sin huey is the best way to bid a fond taking leave in Cambodia.

When greeting peers or friends, Cambodians don’t typically bother v hello, so friend can, in fact, scrap susaday. Instead, begin your very first exchange v soksaby, which is the Khmer method of asking: “How space you?”, and also a word any kind of visitor to Cambodia conveniently becomes acquainted with.

Use this in Cambodia and also you’re guarantee to gain a giggle. Cambodians love come play v words and saysabok is in truth gibberish yet is, however, a beat on just how you’d prize soksaby. The correct means to respond: “I’m fine” is to simply return v a repeat of, “soksaby” – or because that a laugh, “saysabok”.


Pretty lot everyone is going come be her bong as soon as you floor in Cambodia, together the ax is unending bandied about among locals. Translating straight to brother, bong is supplied to describe basically anyone and everyone of about the very same age. Regardless of bong srei being the straight translation for sister, females space still referred to as bong. This is actually good if you can not remember a name.

Respect dram a major role in Cambodian society, and also this is often reflected in the method people are addressed. Elders automatically command respect native those younger 보다 them, and rather than being referred to as bong, they will certainly be called aunty or uncle – oum or pou. This is attach by a sampah – the traditional greeting where the palms the the hand are carried together – v the hands rising higher than the chest-height come the chin. The higher the hands, the an ext respect shown.

You might well wonder just how “yes” fits into the slang category when it has a clear use in everyday chatter. Yet if you want to to the right in, then you far better get provided to speak “yes” a lot. Because that example, “Soksaby?”, “Jah/ bah, soksabay”, or it just typically being supplied as a conversation filler. Such as once listening to someone speak, the other human being will frequently respond v nods and lots that “jah/ bah”. Note, in these circumstances “yes” is never said once. More, “jah, jah, jah, jah” in rapid succession.


This is an additional term that visitors easily tune into. The expression dates earlier to colonial days as soon as it was used by locals to describe the French. However, now it’s used for every foreigners. From the youngsters passing by on the street, come the elderly ladies gossiping on your doorsteps, you’ll know you’re gift talked around when girlfriend hear barang dropped into the conversation together you pass.

Cambodians love everything around food. Eating it, food preparation it, talking about it. And also if you want to win some brownie points, climate complimenting the cook on a enjoy the meal is a guaranteed winner. Chhnang way tasty, and nas way very and also can actually be put after any adjective to add emphasis. For example, to say very hot, “kdao nas”, an extremely pretty, “sa-art nas”.

Directly translating together “bump one”, if you setup on sinking a couple of beers at among the countless beer gardens that period Cambodia, climate choul mouy is vital vocabulary. Cambodians love come cheers. In fact, it’s tradition to execute it before each sip, complied with by anyone at the table clinking glasses and shouting choul mouy. This have the right to make finishing a beer a prolonged process.


Picking increase a couple of Khmer phrases and numbers is a sure means to drive down prices once bartering in ~ the sectors or for tuk-tuk rides. Gift able come speak the neighborhood lingo will certainly bag girlfriend an even far better bargain follow me the way. The correct way to ask, exactly how much? is, “Bou man?” but that’s seldom used amongst locals, who merely shorten the to, “Man?”

Not classified as a oath word, yap moung place in a frequent display in Cambodian conversation and is used to refer to someone who has behaved in a stupid or idiotic way. Yap translates as crazy/stupid, with yap moung being a playful term.

Cambodians are romantic in ~ heart and also the share term the “boyfriend” or “girlfriend” doesn’t cut it top top a neighborhood level. Instead, locals – especially young lover – frequently affectionately describe their other fifty percent as songsaa, which directly translates as “sweetheart” – cute, nas.

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Another expression that will certainly score girlfriend points ~ above a neighborhood level is learning how to to speak beautiful, which is sa’at in Khmer. This way you deserve to compliment the cute children crying out hello, the stylish outfit or beautiful hand-crafted goods and lap up the wide smiles and also laughs the evokes.

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