Our Approach to Khosak and Akhosak Sound

Many Khmer beginning text books do not focus the distinction in depth between Khosak and Akhosak vowels sounds that is needed when annunciate the sound based on the combination of vowel and consonant.

Rather, many text books use an a few words to teach the sounds making it incomplete. Many students came out of the lesson does not have a clear contrast of the different vowel sounds. As a result students have a difficult time pronouncing new words or remember words they encounter before.

So in ReanKhmer, we focus those differences sounds in more detail and add more time to practice. In addition, we use example words as a context to re-enforce the differences. So once the students remember the sounds, he/she can apply them appropriately to new or similar words.


Khmer vowels have two roles, Khosak and Akhosak. When combining with Khosak consonant, the vowels will act as Khosak vowels which in almost all of the cases has different sounds than as Akhosak vowels. When combining with Akosak consonant, it uses the Askosak sound.

ImageFor example, TA + AA is TAA (grandpa) where TO + AA is TEAR (duck). The same vowel AA when combine with TA will use the AA sound but when combine with TO, it uses the EA sound. By knowing the sounds of the vowels for both cases, students can read more accurate on unfamiliar words. Where student who does not struggle to make the correct sounds.

Although, knowing the different sound, it may not help student to read all of the words correctly. This is because there are many exception words that does not read following the Khosak and Akhosak rules. For example, the word BARII (cigar), RO + II should be REE not RII since RO is Khosak so II should be sound as EE.

These are some grammatical rules that student can learn about some of the exceptions but these rules can be very complex and not easy to apply. In addition, those rules does not apply to all of the words. There are some exceptions to those rules. Thus many Khmer native students never learn those rules.

Instead of focusing on the rule, students can learn those exception words as they learn to read through the lesson. This will build their vocabularies and read the words correctly. This will be the approach of ReanKhmer.

By know the distinction of vowel sounds, students can benefit by easily notice the exception word and be able to remember them effectively.

Even there are exceptions of Khmer word using Khosak and Akhosak vowels, those who knew the sound differences between Khosak and Akhosak well can dramatically benefit from it. In most cases they can easily read unfamiliar words without any assistance.