Posted by: Simon & Becci | September 17, 2011

Learning Khmer

Last week, and a little later than planned, we finally started the adventure of learning to speak Khmer. We have signed up to study at a local language school for two afternoons a week (four hours in total). Khmer is apparently an easier language to learn than some other East Asian languages as there are not hundreds of different characters (like Chinese) or several different tones (like Thai). “Easy” however is not a word I’d use to describe our 8 hours learning thus far! Our teacher, Sophal, has had to deal with repeated occasions where Becci and I look thoroughly bewildered and are completely unable to repeat what he has said.

Yesterday the phrase that baffled me for some time was the answer to the question “Do you want some coffee?”. Answering yes is straightforward enough, but to say “no” you say “Yes, I don’t want coffee, no” (literal translation of the Khmer). Confused? So am I…..

A couple of other “learning” moments for you. Earlier today, Becci met our friend Marcia for a coffee. Marcia used to live in Cambodia where she helped set up several wonderful projects on behalf of the charity “CRY”. She is currently visiting for 6 weeks to oversee the launch of another. They decided to come back to our house for lunch – Becci had her bike but Marcia needed a Tuk tuk. The answer? See below…

Becci, Marcia and bike in Tuk Tuk

This week we also experienced a culinary treat for the first time. Our friend, Mei Xiang, had lunch with us and brought some Khmer delicacies common to this time of year – deep fried frogs. Despite their un-nervingly lifelike appearance they actually tasted quite good. I’m sure my French brother-in-law William will be proud.

Deep fried frog

Some sadder family news reached us this week, as we learned that my Uncle, Ron Milton, passed away on Monday. Ron was a great character, always full of fun and laughter, and will be very sadly missed by friends and family. Our thoughts and prayers are with all those close to him at this time.



  1. Most interesting, dear Becci and Simon. I’m particularly interested in your adventures with the Khmer language. I reckon you might find the script quite a challenge, as the letters will undoubtedly appear strangely similar to one another at first, and the lack of spaces between words must be rather a hurdle, too. Do please keep us posted on this front. 🙂 However, with God’s help and surrounded by native speakers you’ll be successful. Lots of love. Hugh.

  2. My year 1 class have learnt Chum riep sueh pretty well – I often am greeted with it at registration. Still need to get the bowing at the same time sorted. 😉

    So sorry to hear about your Uncle, Simon.

    R x

  3. Good to hear your news. Hope you start understanding the language soon! Best wishes from the Shipleys xx

  4. And I thought frog’s legs were bad enough! Looks like I chose the right country to live in after all…

  5. Just having my lunch break at work…as usual, monday menu is frog legs with moutarde de Dijon…my favourite…
    Can’t wait for the snails menu on wednesday…

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s


%d bloggers like this: