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Colloquial Cambodian: The Complete Course for Beginners (Colloquial Series (Book Only)) [Paperback]

David Smyth
3.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (23 customer reviews)

List Price: $43.95
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Audio, CD, Audiobook, CD $45.00  
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Book Description

March 10, 1995 0415100062 978-0415100069

Colloquial Cambodian provides a step-by-step course in Cambodian as it is written and spoken today. Combining a user-friendly approach with a thorough treatment of the language, it equips learners with the essential skills needed to communicate confidently and effectively in Cambodian in a broad range of situations. No prior knowledge of the language is required.

Key features include:

• progressive coverage of speaking, listening, reading and writing skills

• structured, jargon-free explanations of grammar

• an extensive range of focused and stimulating exercises

• realistic and entertaining dialogues covering a broad variety of scenarios

• useful vocabulary lists throughout the text

• additional resources available at the back of the book, including a full answer key, a grammar summary and bilingual glossaries

Balanced, comprehensive and rewarding, Colloquial Cambodian will be an indispensable resource both for independent learners and students taking courses in Cambodian.

Course components:

The complete course comprises the book and audio materials. These are available to purchase separately in paperback, eBook, CD and MP3 format. The paperback and CDs can also be purchased together in the great-value Colloquials pack.

Paperback: 978-0-415-10006-9 (please note this does not include the audio)

CDs : 978-0-415-15538-0

eBook: 978-0-203-42431-5 (please note this does not include the audio, available to purchase from

MP3s: 978-0-415-47102-2 (available to purchase from

Pack : 978-0-415-45302-8 (paperback and CDs)

Frequently Bought Together

Colloquial Cambodian: The Complete Course for Beginners (Colloquial Series (Book Only)) + Cambodian for Beginners - Second Edition + Tuttle Practical Cambodian Dictionary: English-Cambodian Cambodian-English (Tuttle Language Library)
Price for all three: $67.18

Buy the selected items together

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Product Details

  • Series: Colloquial Series
  • Paperback: 256 pages
  • Publisher: Routledge (March 10, 1995)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0415100062
  • ISBN-13: 978-0415100069
  • Product Dimensions: 8.5 x 5.4 x 0.7 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 11.2 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (23 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #777,615 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
27 of 27 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars a good beginning book and tape July 23, 2001
By A Customer
Format:Audio CD
This is a good starting point for someone who doesn't know any Cambodian. It is certainly the most affordable course and the easiest to obtain. From the very first lesson, you get real sentences with real content instead of just formulas- Hello, Good morning, how are you?- which is where so many language courses start. So from the opening bell you can get a sense of how the language works and how sentences are put together. The grammatical explanations are good, although some of them could be more detailed.
Another feather in the author's cap is that the material on the tapes really does follow the book. The speakers are quite easy to follow and one can get into the flow of the language very quickly. I suppose you could buy the book without the tapes, but would you feel very confident saying a words like "t'ngai" or "g'baal" for instance? In a lot of language courses (including some in the "Colloquial's" series) the material on the tapes does not coordinate well with the printed text. This one does.
The major minus in this book is its system of transcription. Given the choice between trying to represent Cambodian phonemes accurately (especially the vowels) and approximating what is now a very unphonetic system of writing, the author has come up with system that does a poor job of both. I really believe that he should have used Huffman's system which is much more precise in representing phonemes that differ only very slightly to a Westerner's ear. It would certainly help someone who also wants to consult Huffman's text. The author makes no bones about the fact that he wants to wean the learner away from transcription, and he succeeds, but mostly because his system is too inaccurate to be any help.
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21 of 21 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Four star CD, Two star book, but still useful January 17, 2001
Format:Audio CD
Let's start with the positive. The CD is great. The material is practical, the pronunciations are clear, and listening to it will definitely help any student of the Khmer language. Now for the book. Although Smyth does sort of apologize for his system of transcribing the spoken language, no justification can be made for this perverse, ugly, and misleading representation of Khmer. Smyth claims that use of phonetic symbols would require too much sophistication on the part of the average user, and I agree that the level of phonetic detail would be difficult. Besides, no two linguists use the same system (mea culpa, here). However, Smyth commits a crime against the language by splitting single syllable words into two, breaking up sounds and creating a written form that looks totally alien. The real reason for the mess is an attempt to match the spoken language to the written form. This is very hard, since the written form of the language represents the spoken language hundreds of years ago. Put simply, Khmer used to have a "b" and a "p". It lost that distinction, so that the difference "moved" to the following vowel. baa and paa become paa and pie (PEE-EH). His solution is to write "bp" and "p", but in the modern language they are the same sound. In trying to avoid the historical complexity of the writing system, a monstrous alphabetic stew is created. He writes the letter "r" at the end of words, but that's just because of the writing system. It is never pronounced in Cambodian Khmer (some dialects in Thailand have it). In sum, he tried a new solution to an old problem, and failed. It is just too much of misrepresentation, and makes learning difficult. The material is otherwise good, though the grammatical sketch is a bit too westernized. Read more ›
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17 of 17 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars good language book November 27, 1999
Format:Audio CD
Tha roman-alphabet renderings of the Khmer words is misleading, but for most aspects of the course only good things can be said. The exercises are well-chosen and paced in a way that makes learning Khmer about as painless as it can be, which is still pretty painful.
This book supposes no prior knowledge of Khmer. The other Khmer book I have seen, by Huffman, is very technical and seems to suppose a level of training in structural linguistics and phonetics that is beyond what most people have.
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16 of 16 people found the following review helpful
Format:Audio Cassette
This package is probably as good as it gets for a broadbrush presentation of Khmer. Those with several languages behind them realize that for most people it takes two thousand hours or so of study to develop a working foundation in most languages. Khmer may seem intimidating in the initial stages, but it really is an achievable goal for those who have a deep interest in the country and its people. Try "Colloquial Cambodian" on for size, and if you become infected with the Cambodia bug you can always order the full Foreign Service Institute course and pursue Khmer to the hilt. A new language gives you a new life, a new identity. A good investment! Even if you just master the material presented in Colloquial Cambodian, you'll come away with more than many official Americans assigned to the country in recent years did.
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15 of 15 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars I wish I had this two years ago! March 26, 1998
Format:Audio CD
It's an excellent book for beginners. The tapes done very well using native speakers of Khmer. The English speakers have a distinctly British accent. The book uses it's own system of romanisation that is easy to learn. It covers the language basics one would need to suvive in Cambodia. The book also focuses somewhat on Cambodian culture and the Holocaust. It would be a good book for Cambodian Americans who wish to learn Cambodian Script. I would not recomend it for more advanced speakers of Khmer.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars love book+++
This book is great but if you are not a native khmer speaker you will need the cd which is sold separately. Overall if you want to learn the the written way this book is it!
Published 4 months ago by Ratha K. Ry
5.0 out of 5 stars Cool cambodian
This book is great! It's a fantastic beginning to learning Cambodian. A great way to learn a language that doesn't have much else for it to learn this with.
Published 12 months ago by Mofoclaire
2.0 out of 5 stars Audio book only not sufficient.
The marketing for this product is deceptive. It makes it look like you are getting a CD - book combination, but that is not so. Read more
Published on April 20, 2012 by Needsomeheel
4.0 out of 5 stars colloquial cambodian
it is a very practical approach to learning the language, but it lacks enough exercises as well as introduction to pronunciation of the different segments of each chapter. Read more
Published on April 19, 2012 by osvaldo romero
2.0 out of 5 stars Not quite what we needed
My husband and I purchased these tapes as we are moving to Camodia soon and wanted an overview of the language, which we need to learn. Read more
Published on May 5, 2010 by Gabrielle L. Yetter
1.0 out of 5 stars Poor Product
This is NOT a product with which you will be successful. The sentences presented on the tapes are not spoken slowly or in sections. Read more
Published on February 19, 2010 by Karen Reed
4.0 out of 5 stars You need this if you have/buy the book
This is very important if you have or buy the book. This will help with listening skills and pronouncing, which are very important.
Published on January 3, 2008 by Audiobookman
2.0 out of 5 stars book should come with CD otherwise it ain't a complete course!
I think in some ways the CD could be good, but the fact that it is NOT! Sold with the book, but is advertised as a complete course????? Read more
Published on March 12, 2007 by Matthew Hibberd
2.0 out of 5 stars You will not learn Khmer with this
How do we learn things, repetition, repetition, repetition, say the word in cambodian then in english, then learn to use the words in a sentence. Read more
Published on April 10, 2006 by Russell Golde
4.0 out of 5 stars A good introduction to learning Khmai.
The Good:

*Comes with cassettes and CD's that records about 95% of what should've been recorded. Read more
Published on March 31, 2006
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