Wednesday, 7.5.2008: Khmer Children Need a User Friendly Khmer Dictionary

Posted on 8 May 2008. Filed under: Week 559 |

The Mirror, Vol. 12, No. 559

“Khmer Literature Represents Khmer National Identity”

“Phnom Penh: During the celebration of Culture Day every year, we always see many banners written in big letters stating that Khmer literature represents the Khmer national identity; in fact, Khmer literature shows disagreements, although there is some progress.

“Khmer children would like the relevant institutions to create a general Khmer dictionary or an encyclopedia which is user friendly, in order to strengthen and preserve Khmer literature to become more easy to comprehend.

“Tep Piseth, 25, has graduated and worked in an organization. He stated that there seems to be not yet a general agreement about the use of Khmer orthography. The knowledge that he gained from school and from the Ministry of Education, Youth, and Sports is different from that at work, which required to use a Khmer dictionary. When using a Khmer dictionary, he could not find some words, therefore he would like to have a dictionary or an encyclopedia like they are available in other countries that respond to such needs.

“Veng Van, 54, a man who loves Khmer literature, told Khmer Sthapana on 4 May 2008 that the use of Khmer writing seems still to be controversial – there are two groups – the conservatives and the modernizers. Some adhere to the words in the Khmer dictionary created by [the late Supreme Patriarch] Chuon Nat, while some adhere to [the linguist scholar] Keng Vansak’s group, or some use words of their individual creation.

“The president of the Association for Supporting Khmer Literature and Culture Mr. Rey Sreang said that this association was created with the goal to promote the value of the national culture and literature, to preserve and develop them, and to reach an agreement for the correct use of the national literature. He thinks that national literature declined because of changes in existing words, different from their origin, and because of disagreements about the use of words.

“Mr. Rey Sreang, who also used to be a Buddhist monk, added that both volumes of the [Chuon Nat] Khmer dictionary, contain more than 18,000 entries, but they cannot meet the needs of present day use, so new words had to be created in line with the requirements of modern times; however, they too have to be based, for their origin and their root, on correct linguistic rules.

“He continued, ‘If the culture is lost, the nation will dissolve, and if the culture is brilliant, the nation will be prosperous; Khmer literature represents the Khmer national identity and it is the core of the nation, and the Buddhist discipline is the core of Buddhism.’ Therefore, in order to promote the rules of Khmer literature, all of us, as the cell of society and of the national language, the Ministry of Education, Youth, and Sports, and the Royal Academy of Cambodia – all have to participate.

“Mr. Rey Sreang and many other students support for the creation of an encyclopedia that can be used in general, because the traditional Khmer dictionaries lacks many words, and the spellings of Khmer words have also many mistakes.

“A circular about the spellings in official letters, Letter Number 3, dated 19 July 2006, signed by the Senior Minister and Minister of the Ministry of Education, Youth, and Sports Dr. Kol Pheng, stated that the Ministry had found that some offices, departments, town and provincial Departments of Education, Youth, and Sport, as well as private and public educational institutions, still do not correctly use the orthography according to the set principles.

“Dr. Kol Pheng stated that to participate in preserving and developing the national language correctly and clearly, according to the rules, the Ministry instructs all relevant departments that from now on, all studies and textbooks at all levels – primary, secondary, and higher education – must adhere to the spellings of the Khmer dictionary of Samdech Supreme Patriarch Chuon Nat, according to the fifth edition of 1967, published by the Buddhist Institute.

“Dr. Klairong Amratisa [phonetic – can any reader help to clarify?], a famous Thai writer, said that Thai writers in the Ayutthaya Period (1350 – 1767) compared literature to bouquets from paradise; writers always used high-level words which originally came from Pali, Sanskrit, or Khmer, as they were considered as superior words in Thailand.

“Referring to this, Khmer literature used to have a rich history, and it was admired by other countries; that is why many Khmer children ask for the creation of a Khmer dictionary or an encyclopedia to respond to their present needs and to serve for further development.” Khmer Sthapana, Vol.1, #17, 7.5.2008

Newspapers Appearing on the Newsstand:
Wednesday, 7 May 2008


Chuoy Khmer, Vol.2, #93, 7.5.2008

  • The 50+1 Formula of Sam Rainsy Gives the Opportunity to Hun Sen to Be Prime Minister for All His Life
  • [Human Rights Party vice-president] Keo Remy Asks USA to Cancel Debts to Cambodia by Setting Democracy as a Condition


Kampuchea Thmey, Vol.7, #1634, 7.5.2008

  • Tropical Cyclone Nargis Kills 15,000 Burmese People and 3,000 People Go Missing
  • Burmese Soldiers Shot 36 Prisoners to Death [to suppress a rebellion during the storm – on 5 May 2008]


Khmer Amatak, Vol.9, #578, 7.5.2008

  • Chief of Prime Minister Hun Sen’s Bodyguards Hing Bun Heang Threatens to Start Tank Engines if Hun Sen Loses Power [according to insider news, Hing Bun Heang said in Hun Sen’s headquarters Tuol Krasaing that armed forces will be used if the Cambodian People’s Party loses elections]


Khmer Machas Srok, Vol.2, #148, 7.5.2008

  • PMT Air Is Accused [by the victim families] of Intending Not to Compensate the [25 June 2007] Plane Crash Victims
  • Sam Rainsy: Businesspeople Who Buy State Property from Leaders Who Steal from the Nation Are International Thieves
  • [Prime Minister Hun Sen’s cousin] Dy Chouch Discloses the Mystery of Forrest Crimes of [his former wife] Seng Keang and [his former younger brother-in-law] Seng Kok Heang [he said that his name has been used by the latter for illegal logging]
  • Hun Sen Calls Farmers to Do Rice Farming While Some Oknhas Have Grabbed All the Citizens’ Land


Khmer Sthapana, Vol.1, #17, 7.5.2008

  • Khmer Children Need a User Friendly Khmer Dictionary; “Khmer Literature Is Khmer National Identity”
  • US Ambassador: Prince Norodom Ranariddh Should Face the Court to Finish the Problem [over lawsuit regarding the sale of the Funcinpec headquarters]


Rasmei Angkor, Vol.11, #1309, 7.5.2008

  • Sam Rainsy Prepares to Boycott Elections [by referring to National Election Committee irregularities]


Rasmei Kampuchea, Vol.16, #4582, 7.5.2008

  • US Ambassador Concerned about Hor Namhong’s Lawsuit against Sam Rainsy, that It Would Affect the Elections


Samleng Yuvachun Khmer, Vol.15, #3303, 7.5.2008

  • Foreign Newspaper [The Guardian, UK, in its article titled, ‘Cambodia, a Country for Sale’]: Hun Sen of the Cambodian People’s Party Has Sold Almost Half of Cambodia

Have

a look at last week’s editorial: UNESCO: A free press

empowers the people to control their own lives

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