Talk:Khmer numerals

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help! I cant see the Khmer numrals![edit]

help! I cant see the Khmer numrals! My computer can display the japanese, russian, greek, etc. Wikipedias no problem, but for this article I see a whole bunch of little boxes. Numerao 19:56, 2 December 2006 (UTC)

You need a Khmer Unicode font and a recent version of Uniscribe. Go to for more info. --Dara 13:31, 5 July 2007 (UTC)


Strictly speaking, these are not Khmer numerals: they're Khmer numbers. A numeral is the written symbol used to represent a number. PiCo 15:39, 12 September 2007 (UTC)


The pronunciation section doesnt use IPA - some of the numbers have IPA pronunciation on the main khmer language page, but the rest would require a speaker/expert to fill in... —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 20:48, 25 March 2008 (UTC)

I entirely agree with you. I took the liberty of transfering the IPA from the Khmer language#Numbers section into this article, whereas I had to look up the rest for approximate pronunciation from another website, and edit it according to Khmer language#Phonology. There are inevitably dialectal differences in pronunciation, but at least it's a good start. - Io Katai (talk) 03:51, 26 March 2008 (UTC)

Thai influence[edit]

So it seems that the numbers 1-10 are Khmer originals, but the "tens" above 30 (sam, sai, ha, hok, chet...) have clearly been borrowed from Thai. Is there an indigenous system for representing these, and is it still used? Jpatokal (talk) 12:00, 25 November 2008 (UTC)

I suspect that is the indigenous system. Khmer language significantly predates Thai, so it seems likely that Thai borrowed the decimals (and many other words) from Khmer. From the Thai alphabet article:
"The Thai alphabet is derived from the Khmer alphabet, which is modeled after the Brahmic script from the Indic family. The language and its alphabet are closely related to the Lao language and alphabet. Most Laotians are able to read and understand Thai, as more than half of the Thai vocabulary, grammar, intonation, vowels and so forth are common with the Lao language. Much like the Burmese adopted the Mon script (which also has Indic origins), the Thais adopted and modified Khmer script to create their own writing system. While the oldest known inscription in the Khmer language dates from 611 CE, inscriptions in Thai writing began to appear around 1292 CE."
Happy editing, Paxse (talk) 17:30, 25 November 2008 (UTC)
I don't think he was referring to the characters for the numerals themselves (which are derived from Khmer), but rather to the origin and pronunciation of the Khmer words for numbers outside 1-10.
But to point out, those sets of numbers are used in quite a few South East Asian languages, and it would be more likely that both Thai and Khmer were influenced by Cantonese, Min Nan, Teochew (or Chaozhou ), or various other dialects, due to the historical extent of the Chinese influence. However, without any thorough studies done on the numbers, we can't necessarily jump to any conclusions on who borrowed from who.
Since both Khmer and Vietnamese numbers from 1-10 are derived from Proto-Khmer, it could be possible that Khmer may have used a similar system to the Vietnamese (on top of the fact that Vietnam and Cambodia are neighboring, so they may have influenced each other). Thus, '45' may be have been constructed as បួន+ដប់+ប្រាំ (literally 4x10+5), as is typical in most East Asian languages. Though without any actual studies, this is but mere speculation. - Io Katai (talk) 20:22, 25 November 2008 (UTC)
Io Katai is on the right track here. Actually, though, studies have been done (unfortunately, I don't have them handy right now) in which comparative methods are used to analyze the numbers in the more isolated tribal Mon-Khmer languages. Many of these languages don't have words (nor even concepts, apparently) for numbers much higher than 20, using words such as "a lot" or "many" for anything more than what is easily counted. Sam, sae, ha, hok, etc. are undoubtably of Chinese origin but how they came to be adopted into Khmer, whether directly from Chinese contact or through the medium of Thai, is unclear, though most agree that Thai influence is more likely. As an aside, with the predominance of Indian thought influencing early Khmer civilization in matters such as science, astrology, numerology, etc., it is curious that the colloquial names for numbers were not more influenced by Sanskrit/Pali/Prakrits.--William Thweatt Talk | Contribs 23:06, 7 December 2008 (UTC)
Looking back, I'd have to agree that they're borrowed from Thai since the numbers are non-productive in Khmer, while Thai uses them all around. At what time they were first used I wouldn't know, but after doing a bit of research I concluded that Khmer used to use a base 5 and base 20 system, and it would be untrue that Khmer lacked numbers over 20 since Angkorian Khmer possessed a unique numeral for the number 400 (modern-day ស្លឹក, slək). Although I'm not done, you can see a rough draft on Khmer numbers here. - Io Katai (talk) 00:15, 12 December 2008 (UTC)
Nice job on the research. Your rough draft is looking good as well. I'd just like to clear up one point. I wasn't implying that Historical Khmer (the stages of Khmer for which there is written evidence) lacked numbers above 20, as it obviously had them. I was simply recalling some studies I read recently which reported that some Mon-Khmer tribal languages (I believe Semai, Temiar, Chong and Somre were among these, but my memory may be faulty here) seemed to lack indiginous designation for concepts higher than that which is "countable". By the way, I haven't seen any mention of the alternative colloquial forms for 11-19 (muay dan-dap, pi dan-dap, etc.) (Forgive my laziness for not using IPA or Khmer Script, but I think we all know what I'm taling about)--William Thweatt Talk | Contribs 00:44, 12 December 2008 (UTC)
Yeah, I only added a brief mention of 'dan-dap' beside the number 10 in the notes, but I should probably expand that part. Btw, can you confirm if the ordinal number for 1, ទីមួយ (first), is sometimes pronounced or read as /tiː muə jɔː/)? It seems odd to me that Sealang's dictionary would give this form rather than /tiː muəj/ as I would have expected (the other one looks to me as if it were misread). - Io Katai (talk) 01:05, 12 December 2008 (UTC)

<undent> Hey Io Katai, sorry for not replying earlier (hi William also). My comment above was a little abrupt. I'd been cleaning off a spate of pro-thai vandalism from Cambodian articles (and pro-Khmer vandalism from Thai articles) at the time. I saw just another piece of ethnic rivalry and shot first without thinking. My own knowledge on the origins of Thai and Khmer is just the opposite of Encyclopedic - minimal. However, I like the Khmer numbers article you have going in your user space very much. Would you mind if I nominate it for DYK when you move it over to article space? Cheers, Paxse (talk) 07:51, 12 December 2008 (UTC)

Don't worry about it, everyone gets days like that :P As for the numbers, I suppose I'll create the page once I'm done adding some descriptions and fixing it up here and there. I'll let you know when, but feel free to nominate it after if you feel it's adequate enough. - Io Katai (talk) 17:52, 13 December 2008 (UTC)
It's a deal! Paxse (talk) 19:56, 13 December 2008 (UTC)
Okay, well I think I'm pretty much done, you can check out the current version here. I'm rather wondering if it wouldn't just be better to replace this entire page and redirect Khmer numbers here. At least, that's my opinion since it covers all the material in the current Khmer numerals article and more. - Io Katai (talk) 22:01, 19 December 2008 (UTC)
Alright, unless anyone objects, I'll be replacing this entire page with what you see at User:Io Katai/Khmer numbers, and redirecting Khmer numbers here as well. - Io Katai (talk) 04:01, 3 January 2009 (UTC)

Your article looks excellent, great work. Can you think of how we can add an image or two to brighten it up? I'm happy to take photographs of anything to help. Cheers, Paxse (talk) 15:31, 3 January 2009 (UTC)

Hmmm, well I don't have any idea for an image in mind... anything that shows the numbers in context would do. :S - Io Katai (talk) 04:53, 5 January 2009 (UTC)


Ok well I tried the best I could to make this article as detailed as possible, and after a month's worth of edits I've placed everything here. I couldn't think of anything to place as an introductory at the very top, so I left it as-is. - Io Katai (talk) 17:42, 7 January 2009 (UTC)

Indian numerals[edit]

I've added your claim of first extant material evidence of zero in Cambodia versus India, here. Please keep an eye on it and improve it. Taprobanus (talk) 17:00, 11 January 2009 (UTC)

21. Jenner, Phillip N. (1976). Mon–Khmer Studies 5. p. 40[edit]

Is this reference correct: 21. Jenner, Phillip N. (1976). Mon–Khmer Studies 5. p. 40? Jenner had an article in MKS V but it's hard to tell if it had anything to do with numbers and the page number doesn't match. You can check it out here: Jenner, P. 1976, "The value of i, ī, u and ū in Middle Khmer", in The Mon-Khmer Studies Journal, vol. 5, pp. 101-133. Tbequ (talk) 09:34, 17 December 2012 (UTC)

Thanks for pointing that out, I've corrected the reference. The actual document referred is titled "Les noms de nombre en Khmer". Not sure how that slip up happened. — Io Katai ᵀᵃˡᵏ 23:05, 17 December 2012 (UTC)

Requested move[edit]

The following discussion is an archived discussion of a requested move. Please do not modify it. Subsequent comments should be made in a new section on the talk page. Editors desiring to contest the closing decision should consider a move review. No further edits should be made to this section.

The result of the move request was: Move. No real objections for two weeks; consensus confirms the grammatical use of "numerals" and the proposed title is more consistent with related articles. Cúchullain t/c 15:49, 1 March 2014 (UTC)

Khmer numbersKhmer numerals – The article was moved to "Khmer numbers" on the basis of it being "not about numerals". I think that move should be reverted for these two reasons:
a.) All of the other pages use "numerals" (e.g. "Chinese numerals" and "Japanese numerals")
b.) the page itself even calls them numerals. Pikachu Bros. (talk) 19:51, 13 February 2014 (UTC)

The article technically deals with both Khmer numerals (graphical representation) and numbers (linguistic representation), the first being discussed at the beginning, while the second is discussed thereafter. So if we wanted to be absolutely accurate, the article would have to be renamed "Khmer numerals and numbers", and the lead paragraph would also have to be expanded to provide mention of Khmer numbers (technically speaking, the lead was originally part of the section "Numerals"). Though you may wish to ask Kwamikagami for his input. — Io Katai ᵀᵃˡᵏ 00:38, 14 February 2014 (UTC)
"Numeral" also means the linguistic category, whereas the graphemes are also digits. The terminology isn't terribly standardized, but in grammar, when considering parts of speech, it's "numerals". — kwami (talk) 00:43, 14 February 2014 (UTC)
The above discussion is preserved as an archive of a requested move. Please do not modify it. Subsequent comments should be made in a new section on this talk page or in a move review. No further edits should be made to this section.