Here in Cambodia, the official language is Khmer. Now Khmer is a very interesting language definitely worth a bit of research (Here is the Wikipedia page to start you off). It is also a difficult language for many to learn, as it has a different type of alphabet than most western languages use. It uses an alphasyllabary writing system, so…. difficult.
ឈ ្ឈ chhô cʰɔ ញ ្ញ nhô ɲɔ ដ ្ដ dâ ɗɑ ឋ ្ឋ thâ tʰɑ ឌ ្ឌ dô ɗɔ ឍ ្ឍ thô tʰɔ ណ ្ណ nâ nɑ ត ្ត tâ tɑ ថ ្ថ thâ tʰɑ ទ ្ទ tô
Here are 10 of the 35 Khmer Consonants
And, since we are only in Cambodia for about a month, I didn’t expect to learn much of the language. So, while I know “thank you”, “how much is this”, and a few other strategic phrases, I cant speak it to save my life.
Luckily though, a large percentage of Cambodians (especially people who interact with westerners) speak at least some English.
Numbers, however, I wanted to learn. Generally, numbers are a lot easier for me to learn, as it is a constant pattern, and predictable, and easy.
And Khmer numbers were interesting to use…
So, the modern Khmer Number system is biquinary, meaning it uses both base 5 and base 10. So, when counting, you count 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 5+1, 5+2, 5+3, 5+4, 10.
Now, not only did I enjoy learning about this new number system, the students enjoyed leading me and the other pathfinders in counting, all the way up to 100 (muay ray).
I miss them