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Looking for a Cambodian name that is unique and different? That’s not an easy task.
I’ve made it my mission to find the most beautiful, rarest names from all over Cambodia. But when you are looking for the perfect Cambodian baby name, mistakes can happen! This blog post discusses 15 common errors that people make when choosing a Cambodian name so you don’t have to make these costly mistakes!
Choosing a Cambodian name and not knowing how to pronounce it. The first of the 15 common errors people make when choosing a Cambodian baby name is forgetting that many names have subtle differences in pronunciation, so if you don’t know how to say them correctly, then your child might grow up with an embarassing mistake on their birth certificate or school ID ! A good rule of thumb before picking out any Cambodian baby name is making sure you can pronounce it properly from the start.
Picking a boy’s girl’s or unisex’er than naming him “Cambodia” for example (or vice versa). One thing about Cambodia we love our children here. And because this country has a rich, diverse history with many cultures and traditions that have come together over the centuries to form this unique culture, it’s no wonder we also get a lot of questions from people who want to name their child “Cambodia” or some other Cambodian-inspired ersatz.
Choosing one word for the entire family when you’re really naming your firstborn son and then realizing later on ou’ve got four more kids waiting in line! A common mistake is choosing just one word as a last name and not considering how it might impact future generations. For example: if someone chooses “Somalya” as his last name but has several children following him (to help avoid confusion), he’ll need to change his last name, or he’ll wind up with names like “John Smith Somalya.”
Choosing a difficult-to-pronounce last name when naming your child.
It’s not just about having an unusual first and middle name; it can also be the surname that doesn’t roll off the tongue smoothly. In fact, some of the hardest to pronounce surnames in Cambodia are Ângkar (Ngkâr), Vannak (Váñnh), Chanthol (Khánchôl), Kromsomkhouy (Khrómsúm Khûay) and Sinavongsaenkeoengnaemkheangsekaosinapoplatip (Sình Vângsăi Nám Kaôeng Sīnêk Bāp Lí Tik).
Choosing a name that’s too long. There are many ways to shorten Cambodian names, so it might not be necessary for you to have an extravagant last name like “Sinavongsaenkeoengnaemkheangsekaosinapoplatip.” In fact, simplifying the surname can make life easier when filling out forms and going through other administrative tasks.
Introducing oneself as “You”
Calling someone by their given name instead of the title, eg. using “Mr.” or “Mrs.”
Mixing up a last and first names in introductions (eg. saying “Hello, Angie”)
Referring to people as if they were royalty (‘Your Majesty’) when there is no clear indication that this person is such an individual; addressing one’s elders with words like ‘Grandma’, ‘Granny’ etc. even when not explicitly requested to do so which can happen due to language barrier)
Using titles where it isn’t appropriate:
for example calling someone who has passed away but was never titled a minister reverend, or a king as ‘Your Majesty’
Referring to someone with an improper title or position:
for example, if they are younger than the person in question, refer to them using titles such as “sir” or “master” instead of their given name)
No one is immune to mistaking a Cambodian name. Whether it’s your boss or the girl you met at a party, we all do it from time to time.
A Cambodian surname comes before their given name, and there are no spaces in between them only commas. In contrast, Westerners often put space between surnames and first names (ex: Nguyen, Tha). To prevent these mistakes for good follow our easy guide on how not to forget that “K” sound when spelling my last name!
The word Khang means ‘king’ in Sanskrit but if someone with this surname has converted to Christianity they might have the Christian forename Kenneth as well as Camneal.
The word for ‘woman’ in Khmer is Nake which would seem to suggest a male family member may have the surname Neak it’s not! It just means they are female.
This name pronounced “song” has no equivalent but doesn’t mean someone who shares this last name sings. In fact, it comes from Sanskrit and basically translates as ‘sons of India’ or ‘descendant of Indians’.