Learning Khmer in Phnom Penh

Now is the time! We’ve got some tips on learning Khmer, plus reviews of Phnom Penh Khmer-language schools.

It’s true that expats can get away with learning very little Khmer in Phnom Penh, but your experience in Cambodia will be richer if you achieve basic fluency. Need convincing? Read our 6 reasons to bother learning Khmer. On the blog, we talked to Khmer-language teacher Chhun Vanna about common mistakes that Cambodia expats often make when learning Khmer, plus tips for learning the language. We also have recommendations for Khmer-language schools in Phnom Penh.

Learning Khmer: language flash cards

Learning Khmer: ទ is for duck.

Khmer for Foreigners at RUPP

If you’re looking to learn Khmer, one of the most well-regarded courses is at Royal University of Phnom Penh’s Institute of Foreign Languages. The course, Khmer for Foreigners, teaches reading, writing, and speaking the language. That’s significant, because most teachers and Cambodian learning classes focus only on speaking, and most expats never learn to read or write the language. Successful completion of Khmer for Foreigners, on the other hand, will have you reading, writing, and speaking the language at a high level after a year. Read our full review of Khmer for Foreigners at RUPP on the blog.

Natural Khmer at LINK

Natural Khmer classes at LINK are based on the idea that the best way to learn any language is the same way that children do: through listening. Each class has two teachers who speak Khmer throughout, using acting, props, body language, and charts to help explain what they are saying. It’s a bit like watching a game of charades, entirely in Khmer.

The flexible schedule is perhaps the best part of the Natural Khmer program. There are six beginner classes Monday through Friday and four on Saturdays. Students are welcome to drop in whenever they want. Classes are $5 each if you buy them as you go. If you buy more than 10 classes at a time, you pay $4 per class, and prices go down further if you buy larger chunks of time. The first class is free, so if you’re wondering if the natural-learning technique will work for you, it’s worth checking it out. Read our full review of Natural Khmer classes at LINK on the blog.

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