Not about who's right or wrong [SC]

[Stream of Consciousness - SC]

Feeling very uneasy discussing about the correct way of writing "compost" in Khmer!

I was discussing with a friend today, Monorrom, about this word. We found out that people have written it in three different ways, (1) "កំប៉ុស", (2) "កំប៉ុស្ត", (3) "កំប៉ុស្តិ៍".

Number (2) is written in Biology Dictionary English-Khmer 2013. Number (3) is found in Agriculture Technical Dictionary of RUA featured by ACIAR.

And number (1) is the simplest and most straight forward way to spell "compost" in Khmer. Monorrom also found that it has the most results in Google search, 694,000 results, while (2) has 26,400 results, and (3) has 6,770 results.

Our conversations:

[Showing screenshots of the three words search results on Google]

Monorrom: "What about democracy? The people has spoken here, 694,000 [referring to number 1]. democracy or scientific elite?"

Me: "Need to find out what's the accepted official way ultimately"

Monorrom: "Accepted by who? Is what I'm asking here xD"

Me: "It's not just the technical field alone (agriculture/biology), but also we need to ask the linguist. They study the root and meaning of each word."

Monorrom: I personally choose democracy on this one :D unless there's a better reason!

Me: "Yeah, but for the simplicity sake, you can choose the democracy choice."

Monorrom: "not that I don't care about linguistics! but just as it's an imported word from "compost" and was transcribed, I don't feel strongly about the origin of this word"

Me: "Yeah, I just want find out the reason why it is spelled the way it is spelled even though it a borrowed word."

It is not like I feel strongly about this word. Not sure what "feeling strongly" means here haha. I just don't want to use the one that is not accepted by intellectuals with solid references and legit reasoning behind because that could lead to more misspellings meaning it could confused the young generation.

From this conversation, I also learned that "democracy" isn't always the right answer. I know Monorrom was joking about it, but it surprisingly taught me something. "កំប៉ុស" has the most results on Google search, but it turns out to be incorrect spelling. The takeaway from this example is that even though the majority says something is true, but it could be wrong.

I asked Kru Earb. He asked his friend. He explained that the word "compost" in Khmer is a borrowed word. "កំប៉ុស្ត" is borrowed from English, while "កំប៉ុស្តិ៍" is borrowed from French. Either of these two is true, because there has not been an official announcement from the top (not sure what he referred to) about which one to stick to. The reason why these two have correct spelling is that they can be found in two different legit dictionaries.

The difference between the two words is the pronunciation of the English and French, "Compost". We tried to write to capture the exact pronunciation of the last syllable.

However, what I can say for now is that "កំប៉ុស" is not a correct spelling because it has no proper solid explanation of how it is spelled that way.

In conclusion, it not about who's right or wrong, but to understand why it is the way it is and to respect one's language. I was so happy and satisfied getting the explanation from Kru Earb. I almost shed tears.

My questions now would be: why do we need to an official accepted language document or agreement to refer to? What would happen if there's not format or commonness in one's language? How important is it to preserve one's language?

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