The Khmer You

Intro to Khmer You

In the Cambodian language there are different ways to say the word, you. The nondescript generic version is nek, but many other Khmer you words can used more accurately and more precisely.

Khmer You Vocab Words

khmer you word english translation definition
Nek generic you generally only used when speaking to someone of lower social status or if they are younger. But if in doubt saying nek most listeners will figure out you are trying to say you.
bong you older Someone that is older then you but probably not for a really old person you respect. Also can be used to talk to someone that is around your age or even a little younger if one is close to said person
aun you younger when speaker to someone younger then you aun is used. If used with the word srey it means baby doll or baby girl.
kmuay nephew/niece can be used instead of aun if the listener is in the age range of the speakers child
goon child used when speaking to your kids….child
bpaa Dad used for your father or a father figure
mae mom used for your mother or a mother figure
bpuu uncle this can be used to address a person that is around your dads age.
miing aunt this can be used to address a person that is around your mothers age.
ohm old old person someone that is older then your parents.
look polite version of nek This word is used when speaking to a male and not a female. Especially used if the said person is a boss or some other high social status
look-srey polite version of nek (f) Same as look but for addressing girls.
look-gruu teacher This can be used when speaking to a male teacher

Nek-gruu – Teacher (f), This can be used when speaking to a female teacher

Khmer teacher vanna in Phnom Penh, cambodia

So you better call me look-srey and not look-gruu πŸ™‚

khmer you word english translation definition
bong-toam high status very high status
okhna noble If someone has enough money and prestige they can get a title of okhna even a barang! The president of Ezecom (internet) became an Okhna in 2013.
aek-oo-toam your excellency used for government ministers
bpraah-ong God or King only used when talking with God or the King.

I hope these words and explanations will help you figure out how to properly use the Khmer you equivalent correctly.

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2 Responses to The Khmer You

  1. Steve Weiss February 12, 2015 at 7:22 pm #

    Hello! Nice primer, I have a few English pronunciation tweaks for you, noticed as I was reading:

    Nek > Nyek or Nyet

    Aun > Oun or Own

    Goon > Goan

    Look > Loak

    Srey > Srai

    And I’ve always found that if I pronounced Gruu as Kruu, Khmer understood me better…

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