The Info List - Malay Language

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Latin (Malay alphabet) Arabic script
Arabic script
(Jawi alphabet)[3] Thai alphabet
Thai alphabet
(in Thailand) Malay Braille Historically Pallava alphabet, Kawi alphabet, Rencong alphabet

Signed forms

Manually Coded Malay Sistem Isyarat Bahasa Indonesia

Official status

Official language in

 Brunei   Indonesia
(as Indonesian)   Malaysia
(as Malaysian)  Singapore

Recognised minority language in

 Indonesia (Local Malay enjoys the status of a regional language in Sumatra
and Kalimantan (Borneo) apart from the national standard of Indonesian)


Regulated by Badan Pengembangan dan Pembinaan Bahasa; Dewan Bahasa dan Pustaka
Dewan Bahasa dan Pustaka
(Institute of Language and Literature); Majlis Bahasa Brunei-Indonesia- Malaysia
(Brunei–Indonesia–Malaysia Language Council – MABBIM) (a trilateral joint-venture)

Language codes

ISO 639-1 ms

ISO 639-2 may (B) msa (T)

ISO 639-3 msa – inclusive code Individual codes: kxd –  Brunei
Malay ind – Indonesian zsm – Standard Malay jax – Jambi Malay meo – Kedah Malay kvr – Kerinci xmm – Manado Malay min – Minangkabau mui – Musi zmi – Negeri Sembilan max – North Moluccan mfa – Pattani Malay

Glottolog indo1326  partial match[4]

Linguasphere 31-MFA-a

  Indonesia   Malaysia    Singapore
and Brunei, where Standard Malay is an official language   East Timor, where Indonesian is a working language   Southern Thailand
and the Cocos Isl., where other varieties of Malay are spoken

This article contains IPA
phonetic symbols. Without proper rendering support, you may see question marks, boxes, or other symbols instead of Unicode
characters. For an introductory guide on IPA
symbols, see Help:IPA.

Malay (/məˈleɪ/;[5] Malay: Bahasa Melayu بهاس ملايو‎) is a major language of the Austronesian family
Austronesian family
spoken in Brunei, Indonesia, Malaysia
and Singapore. A language of the Malays, it is spoken by 290 million people[6] across the Strait of Malacca, including the coasts of the Malay Peninsula
Malay Peninsula
of Malaysia
and the eastern coast of Sumatra
in Indonesia, and has been established as a native language of part of western coastal Sarawak
and West Kalimantan in Borneo. It is also used as a trading language in the southern Philippines, including the southern parts of the Zamboanga Peninsula, the Sulu Archipelago
Sulu Archipelago
and the southern predominantly Muslim-inhabited municipalities of Bataraza
and Balabac in Palawan. As the Bahasa Kebangsaan, or Bahasa Nasional ("National Language"), of several states, Standard Malay has various official names. In Singapore
and Brunei, it is called Bahasa Melayu ("Malay language"); in Malaysia, Bahasa Malaysia
("Malaysian language"); and in Indonesia, Bahasa Indonesia
("Indonesian language") and is designated the Bahasa Persatuan/ Pemersatu ("unifying language/lingua franca"). However, in areas of central to southern Sumatra
where the language is indigenous, Indonesians refer to it as Bahasa Melayu and consider it one of their regional languages. Standard Malay, also called Court Malay, was the literary standard of the pre-colonial Malacca and Johor Sultanates, and so the language is sometimes called Malacca, Johor or Riau Malay (or various combinations of those names) to distinguish it from the various other Malayan languages. According to Ethnologue
16, several of the Malayan varieties they currently list as separate languages, including the Orang Asli
Orang Asli
varieties of Peninsular Malay, are so closely related to standard Malay that they may prove to be dialects. There are also several Malay trade and creole languages which are based on a lingua franca derived from Classical Malay
Classical Malay
as well as Macassar Malay, which appears to be a mixed language.


1 Origin 2 History 3 Classification and related languages 4 Writing system 5 Extent of use 6 Phonology

6.1 Consonants 6.2 Vowels

7 Grammar 8 Borrowed words 9 Examples

9.1 Article 1 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights 9.2 Basic phrases in Malay

10 See also 11 References 12 Further reading 13 External links

Origin[edit] Malay historical linguists agree on the likelihood of the Malay homeland being in western Borneo
stretching to the Bruneian coast.[7] A form known as Proto-Malay was spoken in Borneo
at least by 1000 BCE and was, it has been argued, the ancestral language of all subsequent Malayan languages. Its ancestor, Proto-Malayo-Polynesian, a descendant of the Proto-Austronesian language, began to break up by at least 2000 BCE, possibly as a result of the southward expansion of Austronesian peoples into Maritime Southeast Asia
Maritime Southeast Asia
from the island of Taiwan.[8] History[edit] Main article: History of the Malay language The history of the Malay language
Malay language
can be divided into five periods: Old Malay, the Transitional Period, the Malacca Period (Classical Malay), Late Modern Malay and modern Malay. It is not clear that Old Malay was actually the ancestor of Classical Malay, but this is thought to be quite possible.[9] Old Malay
Old Malay
was influenced by the Sanskrit
literary language of Classical India and a scriptural language of Hinduism
and Buddhism. Sanskrit
loanwords can be found in Old Malay
Old Malay
vocabulary. The earliest known stone inscription in the Old Malay
Old Malay
language was found in Sumatra, written in the Pallava variety of the Grantha alphabet[10] and dates back to 7th century – known as the Kedukan Bukit inscription, it was discovered by the Dutchman M. Batenburg on November 29, 1920 at Kedukan Bukit, South Sumatra, on the banks of the Tatang, a tributary of the Musi River. It is a small stone of 45 by 80 centimetres (18 by 31 in). The earliest surviving manuscript in Malay is the Tanjong Tanah Law in post-Pallava letters. This 14th-century pre-Islamic legal text produced in the Adityawarman
era (1345–1377) of Dharmasraya, a Hindu-Buddhist kingdom that arose after the end of Srivijayan rule in Sumatra. The laws were for the Minangkabau people, who today still live in the highlands of Sumatra. The Malay language
Malay language
came into widespread use as the lingua franca of the Malacca Sultanate
Malacca Sultanate
(1402–1511). During this period, the Malay language developed rapidly under the influence of Islamic literature. The development changed the nature of the language with massive infusion of Arabic, Tamil and Sanskrit
vocabularies, called Classical Malay. Under the Sultanate of Malacca the language evolved into a form recognisable to speakers of modern Malay. When the court moved to establish the Johor Sultanate, it continued using the classical language; it has become so associated with Dutch Riau and British Johor that it is often assumed that the Malay of Riau is close to the classical language. However, there is no connection between Malaccan Malay as used on Riau and the Riau vernacular.[11] One of the oldest surviving letters written in Malay is a letter from Sultan Abu Hayat of Ternate, Maluku Islands
Maluku Islands
in present-day Indonesia, dated around 1521–1522. The letter is addressed to the king of Portugal, following contact with Portuguese explorer Francisco Serrão.[12] The letters show sign of non-native usage; the Ternateans used (and still use) the unrelated Ternate
language, a West Papuan language, as their first language. Malay was used solely as a lingua franca for inter-ethnic communications.[12] Classification and related languages[edit] See also: Austronesian languages
Austronesian languages
§ Cross-linguistic Comparison Chart Malay is a member of the Austronesian family
Austronesian family
of languages, which includes languages from Southeast Asia
Southeast Asia
and the Pacific Ocean, with a smaller number in continental Asia. Malagasy, a geographic outlier spoken in Madagascar
in the Indian Ocean, is also a member of this language family. Although each language of the family is mutually unintelligible, their similarities are rather striking. Many roots have come virtually unchanged from their common ancestor, Proto-Austronesian language. There are many cognates found in the languages' words for kinship, health, body parts and common animals. Numbers, especially, show remarkable similarities. Within Austronesian, Malay is part of a cluster of numerous closely related forms of speech known as the Malayan languages, which were spread across Malaya and the Indonesian archipelago by Malay traders from Sumatra. There is disagreement as to which varieties of speech popularly called "Malay" should be considered dialects of this language, and which should be classified as distinct Malay languages. The vernacular of Brunei— Brunei
Malay—for example, is not readily intelligible with the standard language, and the same is true with some varieties on the Malay Peninsula
Malay Peninsula
such as Kedah Malay. However, both Brunei
and Kedah are quite close.[13] The closest relatives of the Malay languages are those left behind on Sumatra, such as the Minangkabau language, with 5.5 million speakers on the west coast. Writing system[edit] Main article: Malay alphabet

Rencong alphabet, native writing systems found in Malay Peninsula, central and South Sumatra. The text reads (Voorhoeve's spelling): "haku manangis ma / njaru ka'u ka'u di / saru tijada da / tang [hitu hadik sa]", which is translated by Voorhoeve as: "I am weeping, calling you; though called, you do not come" (hitu adik sa- is the rest of 4th line.

Kedukan Bukit Inscription, using Pallava alphabet, is the oldest surviving specimen of the Old Malay
Old Malay
language in South Sumatra, Indonesia.

Malay is now written using the Latin script
Latin script
(Rumi), although an Arabic script called Arab Melayu or Jawi also exists. Rumi is official in Malaysia, Singapore, and Indonesia. Malay uses Hindu- Arabic
numerals. Rumi and Jawi are co-official in Brunei
only. Names of institutions and organisations have to use Jawi and Rumi (Latin) scripts. Jawi is used fully in schools, especially the Religious School, Sekolah Agama, which is compulsory during the afternoon for Muslim students aged from around 6–7 up to 12–14. Efforts are currently being undertaken to preserve Jawi in rural areas of Malaysia, and students taking Malay language
Malay language
examinations in Malaysia
have the option of answering questions using Jawi. The Latin script, however, is the most commonly used in Brunei
and Malaysia, both for official and informal purposes. Historically, Malay has been written using various scripts. Before the introduction of Arabic script
Arabic script
in the Malay region, Malay was written using the Pallava, Kawi and Rencong scripts; these are still in use today, such as the Cham alphabet
Cham alphabet
used by the Chams
of Vietnam
and Cambodia. Old Malay
Old Malay
was written using Pallava and Kawi script, as evident from several inscription stones in the Malay region. Starting from the era of kingdom of Pasai and throughout the golden age of the Malacca Sultanate, Jawi gradually replaced these scripts as the most commonly used script in the Malay region. Starting from the 17th century, under Dutch and British influence, Jawi was gradually replaced by the Rumi script.[14] Extent of use[edit] Main article: Malayan languages See also: Malay trade and creole languages

A Malay traffic sign in Malaysia.

Malay road signs in Jakarta, Indonesia.

Malay is spoken in Brunei, Indonesia, Malaysia, Singapore, parts of Thailand[15] and southern Philippines. Indonesia
and Brunei
have their own standards, Malaysia
and Singapore
use the same standard.[16] The extent to which Malay is used in these countries varies depending on historical and cultural circumstances. Malay is the national language in Malaysia
by Article 152 of the Constitution of Malaysia, and became the sole official language in Peninsular Malaysia
in 1968 and in East Malaysia
gradually from 1974. English continues, however, to be widely used in professional and commercial fields and in the superior courts. Other minority languages are also commonly used by the country's large ethnic minorities. The situation in Brunei
is similar to that of Malaysia. In the Philippines, Malay is spoken by a minority of the Muslim population residing in Mindanao
(specifically the Zamboanga Peninsula) and the Sulu Archipelago. However, they mostly speak it in a form of creole resembling Sabah Malay. Historically, it was the language of the archipelago prior to Spanish occupation. Indonesian is spoken by the overseas Indonesian community in Davao City, and functional phrases are taught to members of the Philippine Armed Forces and to students. Phonology[edit] Main article: Malay phonology Malay, like most Austronesian languages, is not a tonal language. Consonants[edit] The consonants of Malaysian[17] and also Indonesian[18] are shown below. Non-native consonants that only occur in borrowed words, principally from Arabic
and English, are shown in brackets.

Malay consonant phonemes

Labial Dental Alveolar Palatal Velar Glottal

Nasal m

n ɲ ŋ

Plosive/Affricate voiceless p

t t͡ʃ k (ʔ)

voiced b

d d͡ʒ ɡ

Fricative voiceless (f) (θ) s (ʃ) (x) h

voiced (v) (ð) (z)


Approximant central

j w





Orthographic note: The sounds are represented orthographically by their symbols as above, except:

/ð/ is 'z', the same as the /z/ sound (only occurs in Arabic loanwords originally containing the /ð/ sound, but the writing is not distinguished from Arabic
loanwords with /z/ sound, and this sound must be learned separately by the speakers). /ɲ/ is 'ny' /ŋ/ is 'ng' /θ/ is represented as 's', the same as the /s/ sound (only occurs in Arabic
loanwords originally containing the /θ/ sound, but the writing is not distinguished from Arabic
loanwords with /s/ sound, and this sound must be learned separately by the speakers). Previously (before 1972), this sound was written 'th' in Standard Malay (not Indonesian) the glottal stop /ʔ/ is final 'k' or an apostrophe ' (although some words have this glottal stop in the middle, such as rakyat) /tʃ/ is 'c' /dʒ/ is 'j' /ʃ/ is 'sy' /x/ is 'kh' /j/ is 'y'

Loans from Arabic:

Phonemes which occur only in Arabic
loans may be pronounced distinctly by speakers who know Arabic. Otherwise they tend to be replaced with native sounds.

Table of borrowed Arabic

Distinct Assimilated Example

/x/ /k/, /h/ khabar, kabar "news"

/ð/ /d/, /l/ redha, rela "good will"

/zˁ/ /l/, /z/ lohor, zuhur "noon (prayer)"

/ɣ/ /ɡ/, /r/ ghaib, raib "hidden"

/ʕ/[citation needed] /ʔ/ saat, sa'at "second (time)"

Vowels[edit] Malay originally had four vowels, but in many dialects today, including Standard Malay, it has six.[17] The vowels /e, o/ are much less common than the other four.

Table of vowel phonemes of Standard Malay

Front Central Back

Close i


Mid e ə o



Orthographic note: both /e/ and /ə/ are written as 'e'. This means that there are some homographs, so perang can be either /pəraŋ/ ("war") or /peraŋ/ ("blond") (but in Indonesia
perang with /e/ sound is also written as pirang). Some analyses regard /ai, au, oi/ as diphthongs.[19][20] However, [ai] and [au] can only occur in open syllables, such as cukai ("tax") and pulau ("island"). Words with a phonetic diphthong in a closed syllable, such as baik ("good") and laut ("sea"), are actually two syllables. An alternative analysis therefore treats the phonetic diphthongs [ai], [au] and [oi] as a sequence of a monophthong plus an approximant: /aj/, /aw/ and /oj/ respectively.[21] There is a rule of vowel harmony: the non-open vowels /i, e, u, o/ in bisyllabic words must agree in height, so hidung ("nose") is allowed but *hedung is not.[22] Grammar[edit] Main article: Malay grammar Malay is an agglutinative language, and new words are formed by three methods: attaching affixes onto a root word (affixation), formation of a compound word (composition), or repetition of words or portions of words (reduplication). Nouns and verbs may be basic roots, but frequently they are derived from other words by means of prefixes, suffixes and circumfixes. Malay does not make use of grammatical gender, and there are only a few words that use natural gender; the same word is used for he and she or for his and her. There is no grammatical plural in Malay either; thus orang may mean either "person" or "people". Verbs are not inflected for person or number, and they are not marked for tense; tense is instead denoted by time adverbs (such as "yesterday") or by other tense indicators, such as sudah "already" and belum "not yet". On the other hand, there is a complex system of verb affixes to render nuances of meaning and to denote voice or intentional and accidental moods. Malay does not have a grammatical subject in the sense that English does. In intransitive clauses, the noun comes before the verb. When there is both an agent and an object, these are separated by the verb (OVA or AVO), with the difference encoded in the voice of the verb. OVA, commonly but inaccurately called "passive", is the basic and most common word order.[citation needed] Borrowed words[edit] Main article: List of Malay loanwords The Malay language
Malay language
has many words borrowed from Arabic
(mainly religious terms), Sanskrit, Tamil, Persian, Portuguese, Dutch, certain Chinese languages and more recently, English (in particular many scientific and technological terms). Examples[edit] Despite the different vocabulary used by the two standard versions of the language, Malay speakers should be able to understand the translated passages below. Article 1 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights[edit]

English Indonesian Language Malaysian Language

Universal Declaration of Human Rights Pernyataan Umum tentang Hak Asasi Manusia Perisytiharan Hak Asasi Manusia sejagat

Article 1 Pasal 1 Perkara 1

All human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights. They are endowed with reason and conscience and should act towards one another in a spirit of brotherhood. Semua orang dilahirkan merdeka dan mempunyai martabat dan hak-hak yang sama. Mereka dikaruniai akal dan hati nurani dan hendaknya bergaul satu sama lain dalam semangat persaudaraan. Semua manusia dilahirkan bebas dan sama rata dari segi maruah dan hak-hak. Mereka mempunyai pemikiran dan perasaan hati dan hendaklah bergaul dengan semangat persaudaraan.

Basic phrases in Malay[edit] In Malaysia
and Indonesia, to greet somebody with "Selamat pagi" or "Selamat sejahtera" would be considered very formal, and the borrowed word "Hi" would be more usual among friends; similarly "Bye-bye" is often used when taking one's leave. However, if you're a Muslim and the Malay person you're talking to is also a Muslim, it would be more appropriate to use the Islamic greeting of 'Assalamualaikum'. Muslim Malays, especially in Indonesia, Malaysia, Singapore
and Brunei, rarely use 'Selamat pagi' (Good morning), 'Selamat tengah hari (Good "early" afternoon), 'Selamat petang' (Good "late" afternoon/evening), 'Selamat malam' (Good night) or 'Selamat tinggal / Selamat jalan' (Good bye) when talking to one another.

Malay Phrase IPA English Translation

Selamat datang /səlamat dataŋ/ Welcome (used as a greeting)

Selamat jalan /səlamat dʒalan/ Have a safe journey (equivalent to "goodbye", used by the party staying)

Selamat tinggal /səlamat tiŋɡal/ Have a safe stay (equivalent to "goodbye", used by the party leaving)

Terima kasih /tərima kasih/ Thank you

Sama-sama /samə samə/ You are welcome

Selamat pagi /səlamat paɡi/ Good morning

Selamat petang /səlamat pətaŋ/ Good afternoon/evening (note that 'Selamat petang' must not be used at night as in English. Usually Indonesian say selamat sore or good afternoon from 3 PM to 5 PM and selamat petang is for 6 PM.

Selamat sejahtera /səlamat sədʒahtərə/ For a general greeting, use 'Selamat sejahtera') Greetings (formal). This greeting is rarely used however, and would be unheard of, especially in Singapore. Its usage might be awkward for the receiver. But it is still used in schools, as a greeting between students and teachers.

Selamat malam /səlamat malam/ Good night

Jumpa lagi

See you again

Siapakah nama awak/kamu?/Nama kamu siapa?

What is your name?

Nama saya ...

My name is ... (Followed immediately by the name: for example, if one's name was Munirah, then one would introduce oneself by saying "Nama saya Munirah", which translates to "My name is Munirah".)

Apa khabar?

How are you? / What's up? (literally, "What news?")

Khabar baik

Fine, (lit.good news)

Saya sakit

I'm sick

Ya /jə/ Yes

Tidak ("tak" colloquially)


Aku (Saya) cinta pada mu (awak)

I love you (romantic love. In romantic situations, use informal "Aku" instead of "Saya" for "I". And "Kamu" or just "Mu" for "You". In romance, in immediate family communication and in songs, informal pronouns are used). In Malay language, appropriate personal pronouns must be used depending on (1) whether the situation is formal or informal, (2) the social status of the people around the speaker and (3) the relationship of the speaker with the person spoken to and/or with people around the speaker. For learners of Malay language, it is advised that they stick to formal personal pronouns when speaking Malay to Malays and Indonesians. The speaker risks being considered as rude if they use informal personal pronouns in inappropriate situations.

Saya benci awak/kamu

I hate you

Saya suka...

I like...

Saya tidak faham/paham (or simply "tak faham" colloquially)

I do not understand (or simply "don't understand" colloquially)

Saya tidak tahu (or "tak tau" colloquially)

I do not know (or "don't know" colloquially)

(Minta) maaf

I apologise ('minta' is to request i.e. "do forgive")

Tumpang/numpang tanya

"May I ask...?" (used when trying to ask something)







Bila / Kapan








Tiada/tidak ada

Nothing, none, don't have

See also[edit]

Lawah-Lawah Merah (1875), a Malay-language translation of L'araignée rouge by René de Pont-Jest (fr) has been identified as the first Malay-language novel.

Varieties of Malay Jawi, an Arabic
alphabet for Malay Differences between the Malaysian and Indonesian languages Indonesian language Languages of Indonesia List of English words of Malay origin Malajoe Batawi Malaysian English, the English used formally in Malaysia. Malaysian language


^ Mikael Parkvall, "Världens 100 största språk 2007" (The World's 100 Largest Languages in 2007), in Nationalencyklopedin ^ Uli, Kozok (10 March 2012). "How many people speak Indonesian". University of Hawaii at Manoa. Retrieved 20 October 2012. James T. Collins (Bahasa Sanskerta dan Bahasa Melayu, Jakarta: KPG 2009) gives a conservative estimate of approximately 200 million, and a maximum estimate of 250 million speakers of Malay (Collins 2009, p. 17).  ^ "Kedah MB defends use of Jawi on signboards". The Star. 26 August 2008. Archived from the original on 29 October 2012.  ^ Hammarström, Harald; Forkel, Robert; Haspelmath, Martin, eds. (2017). "Indonesian Archipelago Malay". Glottolog
3.0. Jena, Germany: Max Planck Institute for the Science of Human History.  ^ Laurie Bauer, 2007, The Linguistics Student’s Handbook, Edinburgh ^ 10 million in Malaysia, 5 million in Indonesia
as "Malay" plus 250 million as "Indonesian", etc. ^ K. Alexander Adelaar, "Where does Malay come from? Twenty years of discussions about homeland, migrations and classifications", Bijdragen tot de Taal-, Land- en Volkenkunde, 160 (2004), No. 1, Leiden, pp. 1-30 ^ Andaya, Leonard Y (2001), "The Search for the 'Origins' of Melayu" (PDF), Journal of Southeast Asian Studies, University of Singapore, 32 (3), doi:10.1017/s0022463401000169  ^ Wurm, Stephen; Mühlhäusler, Peter; Tryon, Darrell T. (1996). Atlas of Languages of Intercultural Communication in the Pacific, Asia, and the Americas: Vol I: Maps. Vol II: Texts. Walter de Gruyter. p. 677. ISBN 978-3-11-081972-4.  ^ "Bahasa Melayu Kuno". Bahasa-malaysia-simple-fun.com. 15 September 2007. Archived from the original on 26 December 2010. Retrieved 22 December 2010.  ^ Sneddon, James N. (2003). The Indonesian Language: Its History and Role in Modern Society. UNSW Press. p. 70. ISBN 978-0-86840-598-8.  ^ a b Sneddon, James N. (2003). The Indonesian Language: Its History and Role in Modern Society. UNSW Press. p. 62. ISBN 978-0-86840-598-8.  ^ Ethnologue
16 classifies them as distinct languages, ISO3 kxd and meo, but states that they "are so closely related that they may one day be included as dialects of Malay". ^ Malay (Bahasa Melayu). Retrieved 30 August 2008. ^ "Malay Can Be 'Language Of Asean' Local News". Brudirect.com. 24 October 2010. Retrieved 22 December 2010.  ^ Salleh, Haji (2008). An introduction to modern Malaysian literature. Kuala Lumpur: Institut Terjemahan Negara Malaysia
Berhad. pp. xvi. ISBN 978-983-068-307-2.  ^ a b Clynes, A., & Deterding, D. (2011). Standard Malay (Brunei). Journal of the International Phonetic Association, 41, 259–268. On-line Version Archived 15 October 2015 at the Wayback Machine. ^ Soderberg, C. D.; Olson, K. S. (2008). "Indonesian". Journal of the International Phonetic Association. 38: 209–213. doi:10.1017/s0025100308003320.  ^ Asmah Hj Omar (1985). Susur galur bahasa Melayu. Kuala Lumpur: Dewan Bahasa dan Pustaka. ^ Zaharani Ahmad (1993). Fonologi generatif: Teori dan penerapan. Kuala Lumpur: Dewan Bahasa dan Pustaka. ^ Clynes, A (1997). "On the Proto-Austronesian 'diphthongs'". Oceanic Linguistics. 36: 347–362. doi:10.2307/3622989.  ^ Adelaar, K. A. (1992). Proto Malayic: The reconstruction of its phonology and parts of its lexicon and morphology. Canberra: Pacific Linguistics.

Further reading[edit]

Adelaar, K., "Where does Malay come from? Twenty years of discussions about homeland, migrations and classifications", Bijdragen tot de Taal-, Land- en Volkenkunde 160 (2004), no: 1, Leiden, 1-30 Edwards, E. D., and C. O. Blagden. 1931. "A Chinese Vocabulary of Malacca Malay Words and Phrases Collected Between A. D. 1403 and 1511 (?)". Bulletin of the School of Oriental Studies, University of London 6 (3). Cambridge University Press]], School of Oriental and African Studies: 715–49. C. O. B. 1939. "Corrigenda and Addenda: A Chinese Vocabulary of Malacca Malay Words and Phrases Collected Between A. D. 1403 and 1511 (?)". Bulletin of the School of Oriental Studies, University of London 10 (1). Cambridge University Press. Vladimir Braginsky (18 March 2014). Classical Civilizations of South-East Asia. Routledge. pp. 366–. ISBN 978-1-136-84879-7. 

External links[edit]

Malay edition of, the free encyclopedia

Wikimedia Commons has media related to Malay language.

Wikivoyage has a phrasebook for Malay.

Adelaar, K., "Where does Malay come from? Twenty years of discussions about homeland, migrations and classifications", Bijdragen tot de Taal-, Land- en Volkenkunde 160 (2004), no: 1, Leiden, 1-30 The list of Malay words and list of words of Malay origin at Wiktionary, the free dictionary and's sibling project Swadesh list of Malay words Digital version of Wilkinson's 1926 Malay-English Dictionary Pusat Rujukan Persuratan Melayu, online Malay language
Malay language
database provided by the Dewan Bahasa dan Pustaka Kamus Besar Bahasa Indonesia
dalam jaringan (Online Great Dictionary of the Indonesian Language published by Pusat Bahasa, in Indonesian only) Dewan Bahasa dan Pustaka
Dewan Bahasa dan Pustaka
(Institute of Language and Literature Malaysia, in Malay only) The Malay Spelling Reform, Asmah Haji Omar, (Journal of the Simplified Spelling Society, 1989-2 pp. 9–13 later designated J11) Malay Chinese Dictionary Malay English Dictionary Malay English Translation

Links to related articles

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Languages of Indonesia

Sunda-Sulawesi languages



Bahasa Binan Slang


Anambas/Natuna Bangka Bengkulu Berau Jambi Jaring Halus Kutai Larantuka Palembang Pontianak

Acehnese Balinese Bamayo Banjarese Col Duano' Haji Iban Kangean Kaur Kendayan Keninjal Kerinci Kubu Lubu Loncong Madurese Minangkabau Mualang Pekal Sasak Seberuang Sumbawan Sundanese

Baduy Bantenese



Banyumasan Osing Tenggerese


Andio Badaic Bahonsuai Balaesang Balantak Banggai Batui Boano Bobongko Bonerate Bungku Busoa Cia-Cia Dampelas Dondo Kalao Kaili Kaimbulawa Kamaru Kodeoha Kulisusu Kumbewaha Lasalimu Laiyolo Lauje Liabuku Mbelala Moronene Mori Bawah Mori Atas Moma Muna Padoe Pancana Pendau Rahambuu Rampi Saluan Sarudu Sedoa Pamona Taje Tajio Tukang Besi Tolaki Tomadino Topoiyo Tomini Totoli Uma Waru Wawonii Wolio Wotu


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Northwest Sumatran


Alas Batak Angkola Batak Dairi Batak Karo Batak Mandailing Batak Simalungun Batak Toba

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Aralle-Tabulahan Bambam Bentong Budong-Budong Buginese Campalagian Dakka Duri Embaloh Enrekang Kalumpang Konjo Lemolang Maiwa Makassarese Malimpung Mamasa Mamuju Mandar Panasuan Pannei Selayar Seko Tae’ Talondo’ Taman Toraja-Sa’dan Ulumanda’

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Aoheng Aput Bahau Hovongan Kayan Krio Modang Punan Merah Segai

Land Dayak

Bakati’ Biatah Bukar Sadong Jangkang Kembayan Laraʼ Nyadu’ Rejangese Ribun Sanggau Sara Semandang Tringgus

North Bornean

Bah-Biau Basap Bukat Bukitan Kelabit Kenyah


Lengilu Lun Bawang Murut

Okolod Selungai Sembakung Tagol

Punan Merap Punan Tubu Sa'ban Sajau Tidung

Burusu Kalabakan Nonukan

Philippine languages

Central Philippine



Bintauna Bolango Buol Gorontaloan Kaidipang Lolak Mongondow Ponosakan Suwawa


Tombulu Tondano Tonsawang Tonsea Tontemboan


Bantik Ratahan Sangirese Talaud

Central-Eastern languages


Barakai Batuley Dobel Karey Koba Kola-Kompane Lola Lorang Manombai Mariri Tarangan Ujir

Central Maluku

Alune Amahai Ambelau Asilulu Banda Bati Benggoi Boano Bobot Buru Geser Haruku Hitu Hoti Huaulu Hulung Kaibobo Kamarian Laha Larike-Wakasihu Latu Liana-Seti Lisabata-Nuniali Lisela Loun Luhu Mangole Manipa Manusela Masiwang Naka'ela Nuaulu Nusa Laut Paulohi Salas Saleman Saparua Seit-Kaitetu Sepa-Teluti Sula Taliabo Teor-Kur Tulehu Watubela Wemale Yalahatan


Adonara Alorese Ile Ape Kedang Lamaholot Lamalera Lamatuka Levuka Lewo Eleng Lewotobi Sika South Lembata West Lembata

Halmahera- Cenderawasih

Ambai Ansus Arguni Bedoanas Biak Busami Dusner Erokwanas Irarutu Iresim Kuri Kurudu Munggui Marau Meoswar Mor Pom Papuma Roon Serui-Laut Tandia Wabo Waropen Wandamen Woi Yaur Yeretuar


Fordata Kei Onin Sekar Uruangnirin Yamdena


Selaru Seluwasan


Anakalangu Baliledo Bima Dhao Ende-Li'o-Ke'o-Nage Gaura Hawu Kambera Kodi Komodo Lamboya Mamboru Manggarai Ngadha Palu'e Pondok Rajong Rembong Riung Rongga So'a Kepo' Wae Rana Wanukaka Wejewa


Tetum Uab Meto Amarasi Baikeno Bekais Bilba Dai Dawera-Daweloor Dela-Oenale Dengka East Damar Emplawas Helong Imroing Kisar Leti Lole Luang Masela Nila North Babar Ringgou Romang Serili Serua Southeast Babar Tela'a Termanu Te'un Tii West Damar Wetar

Western Oceanic

Anus Bonggo Kayupulau Liki Masimasi Ormu Podena Kaptiau Sobei Tarpia Tobati Wakde Yamna



Papuan languages

Abui Abun Adang Aghu Airoran Asmat Auye Ayamaru Bagusa Baham Baropasi Bauzi Bayono-Awbono Berik Betaf Bimin Blagar Bonerif Bunak Burate Burmeso Burumakok Buruwai Citak Dabe Dao Demisa Demta Dineor Ekari Faiwol Galela Gamkonora Grand Valley Dani Hattam Hupla Iha Isirawa Itik Iwur Jofotek-Bromnya Kaera Kafoa Kalabra Kamang Kamberau Kamoro Kanum Karas Karon Dori Kauwera Kehu Keijar Klon Kofei Kombai Kombai–Wanggom Komyandaret Koneraw Kopka Kopkaka Korowai Kui Kula Kuwani Kwerba Mamberamo Kwerba Kwesten Kwinsu Loloda Maklew Mander Mandobo Mantion Mawes Meax Meninggo Mian Modole Moi Mombum Momina Momuna Moni Moraid Mpur Muyu Nafri Nakai Nduga Nedebang Ngalum Nggem Ninggerum Nisa-Anasi Oksapmin Orya Pagu Pisa Retta Sahu Samarokena Saponi Sauri Sause Saweru Sawi Sawila Seget Sempan Sentani Setaman Shiaxa Silimo Skou Suganga Tabaru Tabla Tangko Tause Tefaro Tehit Teiwa Telefol Ternate Tidore Tifal Tobelo Trimuris Tsaukambo Tunggare Urapmin Vitou Waioli Walak Wambon Wano Wares Wersing West Makian Western Dani Western Pantar Wolani Woria Yali Yawa Yelmek Yonggom

Other languages

Creoles and Pidgins

Malay-based creoles

Ambonese Malay Baba Malay Bandanese Malay Bacanese Malay Balinese Malay Betawi Gorap Kupang Malay Manado Malay Makassar Malay North Moluccan Malay Papuan Malay

Other creoles and pidgins

Javindo Petjo Mardijker Pidgin Iha Pidgin Onin Portugis Bidau Creole Portuguese

Sinitic languages

Cantonese Fuzhounese Hainanese Hakka Hokkien

Medan Riau

Mandarin Pu-Xian Min Teochew

Afro-Asiatic languages

Modern Standard Arabic

Dravidian languages


Germanic languages

English Dutch (historical)

Sign languages

Indonesian Sign Language Kata Kolok

v t e

Languages of Malaysia





English (comparison with British English)

Significant minority



Cantonese Eastern Min Fuqing Fuzhou Hokkien Mandarin Chinese Malaysian Mandarin Pu-Xian Min Penang Hokkien Southern Peninsular Malaysian Hokkien Yue Chinese



Malayalam Tamil

Malaysian Tamil



Gujarati Hindi Punjabi Urdu





Bornean Land Dayak Malayic Philippine Sama–Bajaw




Chavacano Kristang Manglish Other Malay trade and creole languages

Natives & Indigenous


Banjar Buginese Javanese Malay (Malayan)

Peninsular Malaysia

Baba Malay Batek Baweanese Cheq Wong Chetty Malay Duano’ Jah Hut Jahai Jakun Jedek Kedah Malay Kelantan-Pattani Malay Kenaboi1 Kensiu Kintaq Kristang Lanoh Mah Meri Minriq Mintil Mos Negeri Sembilan Malay Orang Kanaq Orang Seletar Pahang Malay Perak Malay Rawa Malay Sabüm1 Semai Semaq Beri Semelai Semnam Southern Thai Temiar Temoq2 Temuan Terengganu Malay Wila'1

East Malaysia

Abai Bahau Bajaw Balau Belait Berawan Biatah Bintulu Bonggi Bookan Bruneian/Kedayan Malay Brunei
Bisaya Bukar Sadong Bukitan Coastal Kadazan Cocos Malay Daro-Matu Dumpas Dusun Eastern Kadazan Gana’ Iban Ida'an Iranun Jagoi Jangkang Kajaman Kalabakan Kanowit Kayan Kelabit Kendayan Keningau Murut Kinabatangan Kiput Klias River Kadazan Kota Marudu Talantang Kuijau Lahanan Lelak1 Lengilu1 Lotud Lun Bawang Mainstream Kenyah Maranao Melanau Molbog Momogun Murik Kayan Narom Nonukan Tidong Okolod Paluan Papar Punan Batu2 Penan Remun Sa'ban Sabah Bisaya Sabah Malay Sama Sarawak
Malay Sebop Sebuyau Sekapan Selungai Murut Sembakung Seru1 Serudung Sian Suluk Sungai Tagol Timugon Tombonuwo Tring Tringgus Tutoh Ukit2 Uma’ Lasan

Mixed & Others

Rojak Tanglish Esperanto


African Arab Bangladeshi Burmese Cambodian East Timorese Filipino Indonesian

comparison with Malaysian

Iranian Japanese Korean Laotian Nepalese Pakistani Sri Lankan Thai Vietnamese



Malaysian Sign Language (Manually Coded Malay)

By states

Penang Sign Language Selangor Sign Language

1 Extinct languages. 2 Nearly extinct languages.

v t e

Languages of Singapore

Official languages

English Malay Mandarin Tamil

Creole languages

Baba Malay Chitty Malay Kristang Singlish Singdarin

Immigrant languages


Cantonese Hakka Hokkien Teochew


Gujarati Hindi Malayalam Punjabi Telugu Urdu


Javanese Baweanese Minangkabau Banjarese Buginese


Arabic Armenian Burmese Japanese Korean Nepali Sinhalese Tagalog Thai

Indigenous languages

Johor-Riau Malay Orang Seletar

Sign languages

Singaporean Sign Language

v t e

Languages of South Africa

Pan South African Language Board Commission for Cultural, Religious and Linguistic Community Rights Department of Arts and Culture


West Germanic

Afrikaans English

Southern Bantu


Northern Sotho (Sesotho sa Leboa) Southern Sotho (Sesotho) Tswana (Setswana)


Southern Ndebele (isiNdebele) Swazi (siSwati) Xhosa (isiXhosa) Zulu (isiZulu)


Tsonga (Xitsonga)


Venda (Tshivenḓa)

Recognised unofficial languages mentioned in the 1996 constitution


Bhaca Khoi Lala Lozi Nama Nhlangwini Northern Ndebele Phuthi San Tuu


German Greek Gujarati Hindi Portuguese Malay (historical) Tamil Telugu Urdu


Arabic Hebrew Sanskrit


LGBT slang

Gayle IsiNgqumo


Tsotsitaal and Camtho Oorlams Creole Fanagalo Pretoria Sotho Scamto SA Sign Language

v t e

Languages of Brunei

Official language

English Malay ( Brunei

Minority languages

Belait Chinese Dusun Bisaya Iban Lun Bawang Melanau Berawan Tutong Tamil Sian Penan-Nibong

v t e

Languages of Thailand

Official language


Indigenous languages


Bru Chong Chung Jahai Kensiu Khmer

Northern Western

Kintaq Kuy Mlabri Mon Nyah Kur Palaung Ten'edn Thavung Vietnamese


Cham Malay

Bangkok Malay Pattani Malay Satun Malay

Moken Urak Lawoi’


Hmong Iu Mien


Akha Eastern Pwo Lisu Nuosu Mpi Northern Pwo Phrae Pwo Red Karen (Eastern Kayah) S'gaw Karen Ugong


Isan Khün Northern Thai Lao Phu Thai Phuan Shan Southern Thai Tai Lü Tai Nüa Thai Song

Sign languages

Thai Sign Language Ban Khor Sign

v t e

Nuclear Malayo-Polynesian languages



Sundanese (Bantenese, Baduy)


Kangean Madurese



Acehnese Cham dialects Chru Haroi Jarai Rade Roglai Tsat (Utsat)


Bamayo Banjar Brunei/Kedayan Malay Berau Malay Bangka Malay Balau Bengkulu Col Duano' Haji Iban Jambi Malay Jakun Kedah Malay Kutai Malay Kaur Kerinci Kelantan- Pattani Malay (Yawi) Kendayan Keninjal Kubu Orang Laut Lubu Malay (Malaysian & Indonesian) Minangkabau Musi Mualang Orang Kanaq Orang Seletar Pahang Malay Pekal Perak Malay Remun Sarawak
Malay Seberuang Sebuyau Temuan Terengganu Malay Urak Lawoi'


Balinese Sasak Sumbawa

Northwest Sumatran

Enggano Gayo Mentawai Nias Sikule Simeulue


Alas Batak Angkola Batak Dairi Batak Karo Batak Simalungun Batak Toba Mandailing


Lampung Api Lampung Nyo Komering

Celebic (Disputed)

Andio Badaic Bahonsuai Balaesang Balantak Banggai Batui Boano Bobongko Bonerate Bungku Busoa Cia-Cia Dampelas Dondo Kalao Kaili Kaimbulawa Kamaru Kodeoha Kulisusu Kumbewaha Lasalimu Laiyolo Lauje Liabuku Mbelala Moronene Mori Bawah Mori Atas Moma Muna Padoe Pancana Pendau Rahambuu Rampi Saluan Sarudu Sedoa Pamona Taje Tajio Tukang Besi Tolaki Tomadino Topoiyo Tomini Totoli Uma Waru Wawonii Wolio Wotu

South Sulawesi

Aralle-Tabulahan Bambam Bentong Budong-Budong Buginese Campalagian Dakka Duri Embaloh Enrekang Kalumpang Konjo Lemolang Maiwa (Sulawesi) Makassarese Malimpung Mamasa Mamuju Mandar Panasuan Pannei Selayar Seko Tae’ Talondo’ Taman Toraja-Sa’dan Ulumanda’


Moken dialects


Arekan Banyumasan Mataraman Kawi (Old Javanese) Kedu Osing Tenggerese

Central–Eastern Malayo-Polynesian (over 700 languages)

Eastern Malayo-Polynesian groups

Halmahera–Cenderawasih Oceanic languages

Central Malayo-Polynesian linkages

Aru Central Maluku Kei-Tanimbar Kowiai Selaru Sumba–Flores Teor–Kur Timoric West Damar


Chamorro Hukumina † Palauan

Authority control

GND: 40371