Experimental Videos for Learning Khmer with Annotated Illustrations

khmer language description annotated video coffee shop

In another post I introduced Aakanee.com, a website full of great content for learning Khmer through listening, as well as content for the Thai and Isaan languages.

There are hours of descriptions in Khmer of illustrations of everyday activities as well as Khmer festivals.

Learners who understand some Khmer already should be able to listen to and understand the descriptions while looking at the illustrations, and pick up Khmer vocabulary this way.

Unfortunately, none of the content so far is as useful in itself for Khmer beginners and learners who don’t know any Khmer.

The descriptions are too fast and complex and without enough clues for a beginner to efficiently listen and connect what they’re hearing moment by moment with what they’re seeing.

As a beginner, what you could do with the images is show them to a Khmer tutor or other native speaker and have them describe them in simple language while pointing to what they are describing in the image.

By seeing them point to what they are talking about you can connect what you are hearing with the image and be able to pick up the language.

An experiment

As an experiment I’ve tried to adapt some of the existing content so that it might be more useful to beginners and even more advanced learners.

I’ve taken a couple of frames from the Southeast Asia illustrations and created videos that annotate them in sync with the corresponding recording describing the frame.

Whenever the speaker refers to something in the frame, you see it circled or highlighted.

I’ve also added some images that appear to show things that the speaker refers to but doesn’t appear on screen.

Here are a couple of the videos I’ve made and posted on the Natural Khmer Language / Learn Khmer Naturally YouTube channel:

Source: https://www.aakanee.com/AC-Khmer/O/SEA-FriedRice-Sakanan-01.html

Source: https://www.aakanee.com/AC-Khmer/O/CoffeeSoftDrink_Sakanan_03.html

I haven’t continued with this project as I’ve found it rather time-consuming to annotate each image, but I want to share what I created so far to see if anyone finds it useful.

I was able to use my limited understanding of spoken Khmer, as well as looking up a few things from the pages on Aakanee.com, to know how to annotate the videos in sync with the audio.

I’m wondering in particular how understandable this material might be to a beginner or lower-level Khmer learner, and if they would be able to pick up a lot of the language efficiently from this kind of annotated material.

Unfortunately with Khmer, as with most languages, there appears to be virtually no video content as of yet for adult beginners to pick up the language from efficiently with the help of visuals and non-verbal communication.

This is something I hope to change very soon!

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