This language belongs to the Austronesian family. It heavily borrows from the Portuguese, Chinese and Dutch vocabularies. This brings about differences in the alphabetical letters depending on each Malay speaking country (Indonesia, Malaysia, Singapore). For example, Indonesia follows the Dutch alphabet while Malaysia and Singapore adopt the English alphabet. The language can also be written using the Jawi (Arabic) and Rumi (Roman) scripts.

Malay is the most spoken language in Malaysia with over 20 million speakers.

“Hello” or “Hai” which is a greeting similar to the English word “Hello” is a useful phrase in the Malay language. When one wishes to introduce one's self, they say “nama saya” which means “my name is”. Other useful phrases include “terima kasih” for “thank you”, “maaf” for “excuse me”, and “maafkan saya” for “I am sorry”.

Other than Malay, other languages spoken in Malaysia include Chinese, Tamil, Creole, and English. A unique dialect known as Manglish is also spoken in Malaysia. Manglish is English with influences from the Malay language.

This page was last modified on May 1st, 2018

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