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I have recently started trying to learn how to read and write in Khmer. I don't have much free time for studying and it is slow going. Fortunately, I have a very patient teacher, who doesn't seem to mind when I forget things.

This is the first time I have learned a language with a very different writing system and it is interesting, as much for the difficulties as anything else. I have has to relearn ways and directions of writing- Khmer has a letter that is like S but written backwards. Vowels don't seem to be regarded as full letters, so they can occur before, after, above or below a consonant, or in a combination; it is a syllabic system. There are also silent letters and letters that rarely occur. It is also difficult to hear the differences between some of the variations, and at least one of the consonants would be a vowel in English. Learning a second literacy is a very difficult task.

Categories: Asian Blog


The degree of difficulty obviously varies a lot. For example, I learnt the Greek alphabet at school, and still find the letters quite familiar. This is because it and the Roman alphabet is closely related (as the word 'alphabet' suggests - the first two letters of the Greek alphabet are alpha and beta). Also it runs from right to left, and some of the names/characters were already familiar (e.g. pi).


It's fantastic to know more about English! Please, send me your articles. I'm thirsty of learning.

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