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Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - The language of Royalty

The language of Royalty

The language of Royalty

The occasion of a new monarch is as good a time as any to brush up on our 'king language'.

Spoken Khmer is divided into language used for everyday situations, for speaking with monks and for the king. Understandably, only a small percentage of Cambodians are fluent in king-speak and even among them there is some debate as to how formal a conversation with the king should be.

The Post has compiled this starter lesson.

King's name with full title

Preah Karona Preah Bat Samdech Preah Boromneath Norodom Sihamoni

Your Majesty (short version)

Karona chea ang machah


Som krab thvay bangkom

Welcome back to Cambodia (Note: this may be considered impolite to say to the king)

Thvay preah por preah ang trong yeang tralop chol meatok protes vench

How are you?

Preahreach sokhakpeap preah ang yang na

Nice to meet you (full version)

Tul preah bangkom mean khdey romperb dael preah karona sop preah ha'rutei reach chea nunhat aowie tul preah bangkom krab bangkom kuol

Nice to meet you (short version)

Som krab thvay bangkom

I wish Your Majesty long life

Som thvay preahpor preah karona chea ang machah chivit damkol lerthbong preah bat samdech preah boromneath Norodom Sihamoni mean preah jun yurn yu

I wish Your Majesty good health

Som thvay preahpor preah karona chea ang machah chivit damkol lerthbong preah bat samdech preah boromneath Norodom Sihamoni mean preahreach sokhapeap boribo

I (females)

Knyom machah

I (males)

Tul bangkom


Sop preahreach ha'ruter preah ang machah

Thank you

Som thlaeng amnor preahkun


Preah por machah (females), Karonavises or Konases (males)


(There is no word to politely deny the king, so try the following...)

I understand that, but...

Som preah karona preahreach jertean toh, pontai...


Thvay bangkom lea

(Translation by Vong Sokheng, Keo Remy, Ly Morivan)


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