An updated Khmer dictionary, compiled over nearly four years by experts from across the nation, is set to be unveiled in early September.

With the backing of the government, the National Council of Khmer Language (NCKL) at the Royal Academy of Cambodia (RAC) has overseen its creation.

On August 21, Sorn Pov, vice-president of the NCKL, revealed that the dictionary boasts 44,697 words.

These words, derived from 31,073 root words, encompass the full range of adjectives – positive, comparative, and superlative.

While a physical release is planned for September, it’s already accessible on smart phones.

Yang Peou, secretary-general of the Royal Academy of Cambodia, recollected that the RAC had foreshadowed a new dictionary release this year.

This would supplement the existing Khmer dictionary by Supreme Patriarch Chuon Nath.

“As our society has progressed and evolved, so has our language. New words and phrases have come into existence, reflecting the changing times. The previous dictionary, while monumental, couldn’t capture these nuances. Our latest effort aims to bridge this gap, and we’ve been fortunate to do so with the government’s unwavering support,” Peou remarked.

Peou elaborated on the extensive efforts to update the Khmer dictionary, noting the widespread collaboration with a range of national departments and entities.

The endeavour aimed to synchronise new terms with the foundational work of Chuon Nath, the revered 20th-century monk and author.

Peou stated that Chuon Nath, in the preface to his dictionary, had highlighted his hope that subsequent scholars would augment his compilation.

“Our community has long benefited from Chuon Nath’s work, turning to it for standardised meanings and spellings,” Peou said.

In light of modern demands, the RAC introduced a digital version of the Khmer dictionary in 2022, making it easier than ever for individuals to verify and learn new words on the go.

“In collaboration with the NCKL, we are embarking on new initiatives to elevate Khmer literature. We aim to document 16 distinct aspects of the Khmer lexicon. Our team is dedicated and working daily. In fact, we’ve already created a dictionary dedicated to ancient Khmer terms,” he stated.

Lastly, it was noted that the RAC’s Khmer dictionary app, launched in 2022, is designed to be user-friendly and is available on both Android and IOS platforms.