Learning Khmer Language: Basic Colors


Cambodian Culture, Khmer Language / Friday, March 25th, 2011

I haven’t been diligent in learning Khmer language. Although I know tik theat (little) and it could get me by when I go to market or go out but I still have a hard time. I guess I was just too caught up with life and work. Anyway, I decided I have to at least slowly get back into learning the Khmer language bit by bit. It would definitely make living in Cambodia a lot easier for me.

Two days ago I was in the market for some errand. I was looking for small throw pillows, DVD’s and some cotton shirts. When I was at the shirt selling stall, I had a hard time telling the seller what colors I wanted lol! We resorted to pointing to pointing to objects around the market to get her to ‘get’ what I meant.

So I figured, its high time I learned some colors in Khmer. When I got home I bugged the kiddo and hubby to translate for me. Note that these are just rough translations and I follow the way the English alphabet is pronounced to get the approximate Khmer sounds.

The root word for COLOR in Khmer is PH-OA.

If you want to refer to a color, then you have to start the phase with the word phoa first.

  • Black – Phoa Kha Maot
  • White – Phoa So-w
  • Red – Phoa Krohom
  • Yellow – Phoa Leung
  • Blue – Phoa Kiev
  • Green – Phoa Baitong
  • Orange – Phoa Teuk Krewt
  • Pink – Phoa P’ka choup
  • Violet – Phoa Svay
  • Brown – Phoa  Thnout
  • Silver – Praa
  • Gold – Meas

I have this listed now in my little notebook and hopefully could help 😀 More later.

8 Replies to “Learning Khmer Language: Basic Colors”

  1. I also had a hard time when I went to O’russey. They don’t know the English names for the colors. Kaya turo-turo nalang kami. Hahaha! Ilista ko nga yung khmer names..hehehe. Thank you!

  2. Hi Lui! Pink is ‘phoa p’kar chouk’ which literally translates as ‘lotus flower color’. P’kar is flower and chouk is lotus. Pretty description I think 🙂

    1. hi Christina.. haven’t emailed u in awhile, things have gotten badly hectic for me. how are you?

      yup, thanks for the added info. i now realize Khmer language is actually easy. like T’Nout for brown is also palm fruit, Teuk Kre-wt for orange is also the mandarin orange. I think expanding my Khmer vocabulary is a good route hehe..

      i just used a rough ‘sound approximation’. this is actually the first color i learned coz I keep hearing it from my daughter. =)

  3. Hehe, not surprising that pink and girls go together 😉 I have heard some of my friends say ‘sokola’ (chocolate) when refering to brown also. It may be an alternative word. I didn’t know t’nout is palm fruit, thanks for teaching me 😀 I’m doing great here. Lots of new but welcome changes this year. Keep in touch!

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