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About Cambodian

Cambodian also known as Khmer or ខេមរភាសា is part of the Austroasiatic language family encompassing the Malay Peninsula, Southeast Asia and East India.  There are an estimated 16 million Khmer speakers making it the second most widely spoken Austroasiatic language.

Khmer is distinct from other languages of the region because it is not a tonal language. 


Students can complete the BA language requirement and the language requirement for the Asian Studies Major with Cambodian. The courses can also count as electives for the Asian Studies Major and Minor if Cambodian is a second foreign language. The Southeast Asia track in Asian Studies also includes courses such as: HIST 4765 - The Vietnam War, ARTH 3060 - Visual and Material Cultures of Buddhism, and ECON 5430 - Asian Economic History and Development. 

All language classes are offered in a series beginning in the Fall semester (1010 and 2010) and concluding in the Spring semester (1020 and 2020), and will count towards the foreign language credits required to complete a Bachelor of Arts. 


The Asian Studies major is designed to provide students with language and cultural competence in a region of Asia (China, Japan, Korea, Russia, South Asia, and Southeast Asia) that can become the foundation for careers in public affairs, public service, business, and many other fields. Students pursuing the major may study Cambodian as their language and also choose Southeast Asia as their area of focus.



The Asian Studies minor is designed to be paired with another major in a discipline, so that students can combine discipline-specific skills with a degree of language and cultural competency. Students pursuing the major may study Cambodian as their language.


Cambodian Courses

Cambodian courses introduce students to the Khmer language, spoken by most of the population of Cambodia and by some 1.3 million people in southeastern Thailand and by more than a million people in southern Vietnam.  Students will not only learn the language but will also gain a preliminary understanding of the culture and history of modern-day Cambodia and the ancient Khmer empire.

First-semester Cambodian for students who have no previous experience with the language. Students must receive a grade of C- or higher to continue in the series. This course develops listening and reading strategies with an emphasis on oral and written forms of communication.

Credits: 4

Second-semester Cambodian. This course continues to develop listening and reading strategies with an emphasis on oral and written forms of communication.

Credits: 4

Third-semester Cambodian. Continued emphasis on listening and speaking skills with an increased emphasis on reading and writing skills as well as the culture of people who speak Cambodian.

Credits: 4

Fourth-semester Cambodian. Maintains a strong emphasis on listening and speaking skills. Through readings of more extensive texts and informal writing as a support for speaking, it develops oral fluency toward narration/elaboration and paragraph-length discourse.

Credits: 4

This course is for graduate students who must enroll in a course 5000 or higher. It is in place of the lower-division language courses. Graduate students should enroll in this course and attend the section of Cambodian that they intend to take, and inform the instructor they are enrolled in 7300.

Credits: 1 - 4

FLAS Scholarship

Cambodian is an approved language for a Foreign Language and Area Studies (FLAS) Fellowships, a federally funded awards offered through the University of Utah's Asia Center. These scholarships provide funding for undergraduate and graduate students who study modern foreign languages and related area studies, and students learning Cambodian are encouraged to apply!



Are you a Salt Lake community member wanting to learn Cambodian?

The University of Utah offers Cambodian courses for community members through Continuing Education & Community Engagement. These courses are available for academic non-credit, and you do not need to be a student to register for these courses.

Learn More


Narin Goleman

Associate Instructor
1951 LNCO


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Last Updated: 3/25/21