Saying “I don’t know” — Cultural note


អត់ដឹងដែរ ជាពាក្យប្រើញឹកញាប់ជាងគេនៅពេលឆ្លើយថាយើងមិនដឹងអំពីអ្វីមួយគេចូលចិត្តប្រើពាក្យ ដែរ នៅខាងចុង ព្រោះវាបង្កប់ន័យថាយើងក៏បានជួយគិតដោះស្រាយចម្ងល់របស់អ្នកសួរដែរ ប៉ុន្តែយើងនៅតែមិនដឹងផ្ទុយទៅវិញ ពាក្យឆ្លើយថា អត់ដឹងទេ ស្ដាប់ទៅមិនសូវពីរោះប៉ុន្មានទេ ព្រោះវាហាក់ដូចជាបង្កប់ន័យថាយើងមិនខ្វល់អំពីបញ្ហារបស់អ្នកសួរ

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KhmerPronunciationEnglish/Notes
អត់ ʔɑt 1. no, not
2. to be without, lacking
3. to restrain oneself, abstain from
4. particle to form yes/no questions
ដឹង dəŋ 1. to know, to be aware of, to be familiar with
2. [colloquial] can be used in the affirmative or, as an answer to a question, to mean ‘no’ {ដឹងហើយ = ok!} {ឯងដឹងថាគាត់ទៅណាអត់? ដឹង! = Do you know where he went to? No, I don’t.}
ដែរ dae 1. also, too, likewise, in the same way
2. indeed, quite, rather
3. marks a polite, gentler, less abrupt statement: all the same, even so, nevertheless
ជា cie 1. to be (equal to), to be as
2. to be well, in good health, recovered
3. to be effective (of medicines)
ពាក្យ piek word, term, expression, phrase
ប្រើ praə to use
ញឹកញាប់ ɲɨk ɲoap 1. repeatedly, many times
2. often, frequently, on many occasions
ជាងគេ cieŋ kee superlative marker: the most, the ...-est
នៅ nɨv 1. in, at
2. to be located at, to live in or at, to reside, to stay, to be in
3. still, yet (pre-verbal marker of a durative or continuative aspect, as a final particle in the tag question ហើយឬនៅ it means 'yet' and as a reply to a question of this kind, it means 'not yet') {ញ៉ាំអីហើយនៅ? = Have you eaten already?}
ពេល peel 1. time
2. moment, instant, period of time
ឆ្លើយ claəy to reply, to answer
ថា tʰaa 1. to say, tell, pronounce
2. that (introduces a question or indirect discourse)
យើង yəəŋ 1. we
2. I (familiar)
3. in final position used to refer to 'our Cambodian ...' {ទុរេនកំពតយើងមែន? = Kampot durian (from our country, Cambodia), right?}
មិន mɨn negative particle not, non- (usually requires the final particle ទេ)
អំពី ʔɑmpii 1. about, concerning, relative to
2. from, out of {អំពីថ្ងៃនេះទៅ = from this day on}
អ្វីមួយ ʔvǝymuǝy 1. what?
2. any, some, a certain one
3. anything, nothing, something
គេ kee 1. he, she
2. one, someone
3. other(s)
ចូលចិត្ត coul cət to like, to prefer
Notes: ជើង ត
ខាងចុង kʰaaŋ coŋ 1. at the end
2. the end
ព្រោះ prʊəh because (of), since
វា vie 1. it (of animals, things, or very young children)
2. he, she, they (familiar or contemptuous)
បង្កប់ន័យ bɑŋkɑp ney to imply
Notes: BCF
ក៏ kɑɑ marker of sequential or consecutive action: also, so, then, therefore, accordingly
បាន baan 1. to have completed/done something
2. to intend to complete something
3. marker of completed action
4. to get, obtain, acquire, to achieve, have been able to, to get/have the opportunity to do something
5. to get someone or something to do something (often translated by the English passive in this sense)
6. to be able to
7. not ... until, then and only then
8. to pass to someone through inheritance
9. to be OK, fine, all right
10. [spoken language] however, though, in contrast {ម្សិលមិញបានក្ដៅខ្លាំង = yesterday, however, it was very hot}
ជួយ cuəy to help, to assist
គិត kɨt 1. to think, to realize
2. to calculate
3. to charge
rɨɨ 1. or
2. phrase-final interrogative particle {មិនមែនឬ = Isn't it true?}
ដោះស្រាយ dɑh sraay 1. to solve (a problem), alleviate (a situation)
2. to attend to (e.g., a problem)
3. to untie
4. to explain
ចម្ងល់ cɑmŋɑl doubt
Notes: root: ឆ្ងល់; neither in Headley nor Chuon
របស់ rɔbɑh 1. object, thing, belonging, property
2. of, belonging to
អ្នក neak 1. you (to equals of both sexes)
2. person, one who... (used as an agentive particle to create nouns from predicatives)
សួរ suə 1. to ask, question, enquire
2. to visit, come to see
ប៉ុន្តែ pontae but, however
Notes: ជើង ត; root: តែ
នៅតែ nɨv tae 1. still, as before
2. to be left, remain
ផ្ទុយទៅវិញ ptuy tɨv vɨɲ on the contrary
ទេ tee 1. particle: negative particle occurring in phrase final position especially after មិន, ពុំ, etc.
2. interrogative particle occurring in phrase final position, often in the combination ឬទេ
3. neutral/positive particle to add emphasis {ខ្ញុំសុខសប្បាយទេ = I'm fine!}
ស្ដាប់ sdap 1. to listen (to)
2. to obey
3. to understand (a spoken language)
Notes: ជើង ដ
ទៅ tɨv 1. to go (away from the speaker in space or time), to go to / towards, go on, continue, advance, go away
2. towards
3. from now on, from then on (often used as a particle indicating that the action began at some point in the past or present and continued on into the future or that the action is directed away from the speaker)
4. imperative particle, go ahead and ...! {ញ៉ាំទៅ = Go ahead and eat/drink!}
មិនសូវ mɨn səv not so much, rather not
ពីរោះ piirʊəh to be melodious, harmonious, sweet, sonorous, pleasing to the ear
ប៉ុន្មាន ponmaan 1. how much, how many
2. (in an affirmative context) some, several, a few, a certain number
3. (in a negative or indefinite context) (not) many, to any (great) extent
ហាក់ដូចជា hak douc cie it seems as though, one could say that
មិនខ្វល់ mɨn kvɑl to not care (about)
បញ្ហា baɲhaa, paɲhaa problem, difficulty, matter, question, issue