Barang (Khmer word)

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For the Filipino term, see Barang (Philippine mythology).

Barang (បារាំង) is a Khmer word meaning French. It is often mispronounced like ba-réng. The correct pronunciation is bâ-râng, but pâ-râng is also acceptable. It is thought to be corruption of the word France but this may be a misconception.[verification needed] The term is related to the Thai term farang which has a similar meaning. In the Malay language, barang means "thing".

The origin of this word is debatable as there are several possibilities. One is that it came from Arabic (faranj) via Malay traders. Another is that it came straight from the French. Since Khmer does not have a letter that represents the Latin F, it is pronounced with a B sound. As with many Khmer words of foreign origin, n's often change to an ng sound. Such as Aleurmâng (អាឡឺម៉ង់) (German) which comes from the French word Allemand.

In the Khmer language, the term barang has also come to mean a foreigner, particularly one of European ancestry. It is not a demeaning word, but some Khmer speakers might use it in a bad context. The term is becoming more popular now among travelers. It is even used by some expatriates living in Cambodia themselves.

Khmer is the official language of Cambodia which was once a French protectorate called Cambodge in French. The French had many influences on the Khmer language, such as the pronunciation of Mercedes. Many technical terms used today in Khmer are of French origin. Barang is also used as a suffix in some Khmer words such as môn barang (មាន់បារាំង) which is transliterally French chicken, but refers to a turkey. Another word is kh'teum barang (ខ្ទឹមបារាំង) which is transliterally French allium and means an onion.

"Barangsaes" (បារាំងសែស) is another Khmer term that shows its relation with the word Français, but it is rarely used.