Two linguists have finally completed a decade’s worth of work on recording the sounds of the Khmer language. Hiep Chan Vicheth and Jean-Michel Filippi spent ten years “painstakingly listening to Cambodians —from people in cafes in casual conversation to academics opining in their fields”. They made sure to note down pronunciation differences among regional dialects as well as the “unique colloquialism” of the dialect spoken in Phnom Penh, the country’s capital city.
The “Khmer Pronouncing Dictionary” has been made available on the Phnom Penh UNESCO website, and will be linked from the CSEAS resource page for Cambodia, as well. It “offers a guide to enunciating both formal and informal Khmer—specifically that variation spoken in the capital…. In their dictionary, each word is listed four ways—in Khmer script, in the Latin alphabet and each word’s formal and Phnom Penh variations written beneath in the international phonetics alphabet.
“The free online version of the pronunciation guide, found at www.unesco.org/phnompenh, includes an introduction in Khmer, English and French, and will also be available in book form at public university libraries.”
Read the full article on the creation of the dictionary here.