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How does studying foreign languages influence the Khmer language?


Vi Por, 19, a freshman at the Royal University of Law and Economics (RULE)
“Nowadays, young people love to study foreign languages, and they often mix Khmer with a foreign language in both writing and speaking. They may confuse themselves, for sometimes when they mix two languages together, they have problems being literate in their own language. Sometimes, they use the foreign language style and technique to write a  Khmer article or talk to one another.”


Chhun Pannary, 18, a freshman at the National University of Management (NUM)
“I THINK that learning foreign languages too much may confuse Cambodians and they may make errors in using their own language. They often use foreign language instead of Khmer, even though they’re not sure what the word they use means, and they often use Khmer in the wrong way. This can lead to a dumbing-down of Khmer literacy.”

Seng Sophorn, 21, a sophomore at the Institute of Foreign Languages
“IN my opinion, studying foreign languages too much may affect the way that we use our own language in daily life. Sometimes we use other languages instead of our language, even though the Khmer language is available to use. To illustrate, when we call someone, we will say ‘hello’ instead of the Khmer words ‘sour sdey’ or ‘jom reap sur’.”


Len Sreyvin, 19, a year three student of French at the Institute of Foreign Languages
“I THINK people often copy foreign culture while they are studying a foreign language, because language and culture always go together. For instance, most Cambodian people greet each other and say ‘Jom reap sur’ when they meet one another. In contrast, some Cambodian people who have studied foreign languages often shake hands and hug to welcome people.”

Chou Pangcharith, 21, a year four student at the International University (IU)
“STUDYING a foreign language does  have an effect, not  only on Khmer literacy but also on Cambodian culture. Young Cambodian people may not know how to use Khmer words clearly, or even know Cambodian culture, if they learn too many foreign languages. Some young Cambodian people try to speak a foreign language or copy foreign culture to make themselves look more fashionable, but I don’t think this is really good for them.”

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