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Learn Malay Language

Malay is an Austronesian language officially spoken in Indonesia, Brunei, Malaysia and Singapore and unofficially spoken in East Timor and parts of Thailand. It is spoken by 290 million people across the Malay world.

Malay is an unwritten language. In the Sriwichai period, Sanskrit characters were used to write. Later, when Malaysia converted to Muslims by the Indians in the Mughal dynasty, they used Arabic scripts to write what we called Yawi (yawi). Later, when Malaysia was under British rule, it turned to use Roman characters to write or called rumi

In the following lesson, rumi is used in Malay writing. Let’s study together with Hai, Taiga.

Chapter 1 Sacrifice in Malay

In Malay, there are 6 sacrifices.

  1. A: Pronounce ” ah ” such as :-

saya pronounced sa-ya = I , I , I , I , I

Mata reads as Ma-ta = eyes.

kaya pronounced ka-ya = wealthy

2 E ( taling ) : Pronounce ” A ” or ” A ” eg:-

meja pronounced as me-ya or ma-ya = table

sewa pronounced se-va = rent, hire

(It’s an opening sound, a long sound)

  1. E ( pepet ) : pronounce ” er “, short and light, for example:-

kera pronounced as kera, or may also be heard as than = monkey

mesyuarat pronounced me-su-wa-rat or mesuarat = meeting

peta – peta = map

  1. I : pronounced as ” I ” ” e ” such as :-

pipi pronounced pi-pi = cheeks

biji ” bi-yi = seed

kiri ” ki-ri = left

If there is a spell after I, change the sound to “E” or “A”, for example:

bilik pronounced b-lek = room

kambing ” kam-beng = goat

  1. O: Pronounce ” o ” eg:-

bola pronounced bo-la = ball

roti pronounced ro-ti = bread

topi ” topi = hat

  1. U : Pronounce “U” or “U” or may pronounce “O” when there are spellings such as :-

susu pronounced su-su = milk

buku ” bu-gu = book

guru ” guru = teacher


Vowel pronunciation changes with spelling (exceptions).

sayap read sajap = wings

padang ” pa-dang = plain

( padang besar – padang besar = the name of the border town of Thailand and Malaysia means a great plain)

merah read me-rah = red

dewi ” de-vi = angel

dewa ” de-wa = angel

parang ” pa-rang = war

ketam “ke-tam = crab

pipit ” year-off = sparrow

kikis ” ki-kis = scrape

lompat ” lompus = jump

tongkat ” Tong-kat = staff

kasut “ka-sut = shoes

rumput ” rum-put = grass

Diphthongs ( diftong )

ai is pronounced “ai”, for example :-

misai read me-sai = mustache

pantai “pan-tai = sandy beach

tupai “tu-to = squirrel

au pronounced ” au ” eg :-

kerbau read ker- light = buffalo

hijau ” hi-yao = green

pisau “pi-sau = dagger

oi is pronounced ” oi ” eg:-

kaloi read ka-loi = name of a fish

amboi ” Um-boi = Oh (interjection)

tampou ” tam-poi = alder’s name


Malay consonants

Consonant / The consonant

In general, the pronunciation of consonants in Malay is the same as in English. But there are some consonants that are pronounced differently, such as :-

C : pronounce Mon (Malay doesn’t use Ch ), for example:-

cuci read ju-ji = clean

camca ” jam-ja = spoon to scoop food

G : Pronounce g only, for example:-

gagak read ka-kak = crow

gunung “gu-nung = mountain

gigi ” gi-gi = teeth

H is pronounced ” h ” clearly and firmly when it is the first letter of a syllable, such as :-

hidung read hee-dong = nose

haus ” ha-ul = thirsty

helai ” hae lai = piece sheet

hubaya ” hoo-ba-ya = be careful

K: Pronounced ” g “, but at the end of a word it is not pronounced, but it is extracted to make it sound shorter and more dense, for example :-

kakak (ka-kak) = older sister

Kenal (Kenal) = know

budak (budak) = child

perak (perak) = silver (metal)

tarik (ta-rek) = pull

rokok (ro-kok) = cigarette

R: Pronounce ” r” at the end of a word, it must be pronounced as:-

kertas (kertas) = paper

harta (har-ta) = property

derma (der-ma) = gift

lapar (la-par) = hungry

pasir (pa-ser) = sand

telur (teluar) = egg

NG : Pronounce ” D” eg :-

ngaum (sesame-oom) = growl

ngeri (ngeri) = scared

ngiang (silence) = murmur

NY : Pronounce “Y” like :-

nyayi (ya-ya) = to sing

nyiwa (nyi-wa) = life

nyiur (nyor) = coconut

SY: Pronounced “Y”, for example :-

syah (shah) = king

syarikat (sha-ri-kat) = company

syak (shak) = doubt

KH: Pronounce ” c ” eg:-

khabar (ka-bar) = news

ikhlas ( ik-lus) = sincere

tawarikh (ta-wa-rek) = history


Pronoun kata kanti Nama

saya (sa-ya) = I

beta (be-ta) = I (royal term)

hamba (ham – ba) = servant (used with master)

aku(ah-gu) ku (gu) = me

anda (an – da) = you (polite)

engkau (eng – gao) kau (gao) = eng (used with a friend or someone lower)

kamu (ka – mu) = you, you (applies to people of lower levels)

mereka (mer – rae – ka) = them

kami ( ka – there ) = us (not including listeners)

kita (ki-ta) = us (including listeners)

awak (ah – wak) = you (used with people of the same level)


Malay has an easy and simple possessive grammar. Easier than Thai Chinese language, for example :-

buku saya (Buku – Saya) = my book

buku beta (bugu – beta) = my book

buku aku (bugu – aku) = my book

buku anda (bugu – anda) = your book

buku engkau (buku – engkau) = your book

buku kamu ( buku – kamu ) = your book

buku kami (buku – kami) = our book (not including listeners)

buku kita ( buku – kita ) = our book (including our listeners)

buku awak (Buku-awak) = your book

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