FSI Contemporary Cambodian Course

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What is the Contemporary Cambodian course?

This contemporary Cambodian course was the result of a collaboration between the Foreign Service Institute and the Defense Language Institute and was created to meet the need for supplementary resources for Cambodian language instruction.

It was first published in 1972 and consists of several components. The main part of the course is the Basic module, 60 units intended for beginners just starting the language. Each unit consists of a dialog that is used to present new language, as well as drills designed to help students master the vocabulary and structures.

It also includes Cambodian text along with a transcription, and there are also optional Cambodian reading exercises for those who wish to learn to read and write Cambodian too.

The Basic module is accompanied by recordings for all the dialogs, drills and reading exercises.

You will also find a comprehensive “Grammar Sketch”, a reference section dealing with all the main aspects of Cambodian grammar, and a glossary of all the words from the course.

When the course was created, the Basic module was supposed to be accompanied by an Intermediate module that would allow students to deepen their knowledge of Cambodian. However, this is currently unavailable, and it is unclear whether it was ever completed. If it becomes available, I will upload it at a later date.

There are also several modules dealing with aspects of the culture of the country. These are currently not hosted on this site – I have provided links to another site that was hosting them, but at present, these no longer appear to work.

It is possible that these cultural modules are, in fact, the missing intermediate modules – but at the moment it is impossible to check.

How was Contemporary Cambodian originally used?

The Basic module of this FSI Contemporary Cambodian course was designed to be studied intensively for six hours each day. For students concentrating only on speaking, this means it would have been completed in around 15 weeks. For those learning to read and write at the same time, it would have taken slightly longer, around 18-20 weeks.

Students would also have been expected to put in personal study time outside of class, and during lessons, they were supposed to speak only Cambodian. This way, after even just 15 weeks of lessons, they would have been able to achieve a very respectable level of Cambodian.

How can you use this Contemporary Cambodian course?

Although this course was designed to be used in an intensive classroom setting with a teacher, it is also well-suited to self-study study. A pro-active autonomous student will be able to work through the dialogues and drills, enlarging their vocabulary, learning useful stock phrases and understand the basics of Cambodian grammar.

You could use this as your primary coursebook, but if you have other (perhaps slightly more modern) resources for learning Cambodian, this course will still be a useful supplement.

Furthermore, although this course doesn’t teach you how to read Cambodian script, if you can learn how to read and write from another book, this course gives you plenty of additional materials for further practice.

If you have a private tutor, the materials found in this free contemporary Cambodian course are also suitable for use as a coursebook to guide your learning.

Taking it further

Although this comprehensive contemporary Cambodian course provides an excellent introduction to the language, you won’t be able to master Cambodian without practicing it in real life.

This means as soon as possible, you should take your new Cambodian skills out into the real world and put them to use.

Try to find Cambodian native speakers to converse with, and above all, do what you can to make using Cambodian a part of your daily life. Because when you do this, you will find you begin making surprising progress in this fascinating and rewarding language.


Student Text

Grammatical Sketch


Lesson 01 Tape     Lesson 31 Tape   Readings
Lesson 02 Tape     Lesson 32 Tape   Readings
Lesson 03 Tape     Lesson 33 Tape   Readings
Lesson 04 Tape     Lesson 34 Tape   Readings
Lesson 05 Tape     Lesson 35 Tape   Readings
Lesson 06 Tape 1 Tape 2   Lesson 36 Tape   Readings
Lesson 07 Tape 1 Tape 2   Lesson 37 Tape   Readings
Lesson 08 Tape     Lesson 38 Tape   Readings
Lesson 09 Tape     Lesson 39 Tape   Readings
Lesson 10 Tape   Readings Lesson 40 Tape   Readings
Lesson 11 Tape 1 Tape 2 Readings Lesson 41 Tape   Readings
Lesson 12 Tape   Readings Lesson 42 Tape   Readings
Lesson 13 Tape   Readings Lesson 43 Tape   Readings
Lesson 14 Tape   Readings Lesson 44 Tape   Readings
Lesson 15 Tape   Readings Lesson 45 Tape   Readings
Lesson 16 Tape 1 Tape 2 Readings Lesson 46 Tape   Readings
Lesson 17 Tape   Readings Lesson 47 Tape   Readings
Lesson 18 Tape   Readings Lesson 48 Tape   Readings
Lesson 19 Tape   Readings Lesson 49 Tape 1 Tape 2 Readings
Lesson 20 Tape   Readings Lesson 50 Tape 1 Tape 2 Readings
Lesson 21 Tape   Readings Lesson 51 Tape 1 Tape 2 Readings
Lesson 22 Tape   Readings Lesson 52 Tape 1 Tape 2 Readings
Lesson 23 Tape   Readings Lesson 53 Tape 1 Tape 2 Readings
Lesson 24 Tape   Readings Lesson 54 Tape 1 Tape 2 Readings
Lesson 25 Tape   Readings Lesson 55 Tape 1 Tape 2 Readings
Lesson 26 Tape   Readings Lesson 56 Tape 1 Tape 2 Readings
Lesson 27 Tape   Readings Lesson 57 Tape 1 Tape 2 Readings
Lesson 28 Tape   Readings Lesson 58 Tape 1 Tape 2 Readings
Lesson 29 Tape   Readings Lesson 59 Tape 1 Tape 2 Readings
Lesson 30 Tape 1 Tape 2 Readings Lesson 60 Tape 1 Tape 2 Readings

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