This article is about the language on which Standard Indonesian and Malaysian are based. For the vernacular varieties and dialects of Malay, see Malayan languages
A young Malay speaker
An Indonesian speaker
A Malay speaker
As the Bahasa Kebangsaan
or Bahasa Nasional
("national language") of several states, Standard Malay has various official names. In Malaysia, it is designated as either Bahasa Malaysia
") or Bahasa Melayu
("Malay language"). In Singapore and Brunei, it is called Bahasa Melayu
("Malay language") and in Indonesia, an autonomous normative variety called Bahasa Indonesia
") is designated the Bahasa Persatuan/Pemersatu
("unifying language"/lingua franca
). However, in areas of Central to Southern Sumatra
where vernacular varieties of Malay are 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
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
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 as well as Macassar Malay
, which appears to be a mixed language
(1875), a Malay-language translation of L'araignée rouge
by René de Pont-Jest [fr]
has been identified as the first Malay-language novel. Prior to the era, the Malay literature & storytelling was predominantly written in the form of Hikayat
The history of the Malay language can be divided into five periods: Old Malay, the Transitional Period, the Malacca Period (Classical Malay), Late Modern Malay and Modern Malay. Old Malay is believed to be the actual ancestor of Classical Malay.
The Malay language came into widespread use as the lingua franca
of the 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
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 closer connection between Malaccan Malay as used on Riau and the Riau vernacular.
Malay is a member of the Austronesian
family of languages, which includes languages from Southeast Asia
and the Pacific Ocean
, with a smaller number in continental Asia
, a geographic outlier spoken in Madagascar
in the Indian Ocean
, is also a member of this language family. Although these languages are not necessarily mutually intelligible to any extent, 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 Malayic 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 lects on the Malay Peninsula such as Kedah Malay
. However, both Brunei and Kedah are quite close.
The Rencong alphabet
, a native writing system 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.
Malay is now written using the Latin script
, known as Rumi
in Brunei, Malaysia and Singapore or Latin
in Indonesia, although an Arabic script
called Arab Melayu
also exists. Latin script is official in Malaysia, Singapore, and Indonesia. Malay uses Hindu-Arabic numerals
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 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 in the Malay region, Malay was written using the Pallava
scripts; these are still in use today, such as the Cham alphabet
used by the Chams
. 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
Extent of use
A Malay traffic sign in Malaysia.
Malay road signs in Jakarta
, Indonesia. "Lajur Khusus Menurunkan Penumpang
" means "Lane for dropping passengers only" in Indonesian
Malay is spoken in Brunei
, East Timor
, parts of Thailand
and southern Philippines
. Indonesia regulates its own normative variety of Malay, while Malaysia and Singapore use the same standard.
Brunei, in addition to Standard Malay, uses a distinct vernacular dialect
called Brunei Malay
. In East Timor
, Indonesian is recognised by the constitution as one of two working languages (the other being English
), alongside the official languages of Tetum
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 primary trading language of the archipelago prior to Spanish occupation
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.
The consonants of Malaysian
and also Indonesian
are shown below. Non-native consonants that only occur in borrowed words, principally from Arabic and English, are shown in brackets.
Malay consonant phonemes
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 consonants
Malay originally had four vowels, but in many dialects today, including Standard Malay, it has six.
The vowels /e, o/ are much less common than the other four.
Table of vowel phonemes of Standard Malay
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.
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.
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
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”
which is dia
or for "his”
which is dia punya.
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.
This section needs expansion
. You can help by adding to it
. (July 2019)
That said, although there is an abundance of loan words in the Malay language, just like in English, the most commonly used words are mostly of non-foreign origin. Words used to refer to everyday things such as 'air' (water), 'batu' (stone) and 'panas' (hot), pronouns such as 'aku' (I/me), 'kau' (you) and 'dia' (he/him or she/her) and numbers such as 'satu' (one), 'dua' (two) and 'tiga' (three) are all of non-foreign origin.
Varieties and related languages
There is a group of closely related languages spoken by Malays
and related peoples across Brunei
, Southern Thailand
, and the far southern parts of the Philippines
. They have traditionally been classified as Malay, Para-Malay, and Aboriginal Malay, but this reflects geography and ethnicity rather than a proper linguistic classification. The Malayan languages are mutually intelligible
to varying extents, though the distinction between language and dialect is unclear in many cases.
The other Malayan languages, included in neither of these groups, are associated with the expansion of the Malays across the archipelago. They include Malaccan Malay (Malaysian
), Kedah Malay
, Kedayan/Brunei Malay
, Berau Malay
, Bangka Malay
, Jambi Malay
, Kutai Malay
, Pattani Malay
, and Banjarese
may belong here.
The extent to which Malay and related Malayan languages are used in the countries where it is spoken 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 West 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 Singapore, Malay was historically the lingua franca
among people of different nationalities. Although this has largely given way to English, Malay still retains the status of national language and the national anthem
, Majulah Singapura
, is entirely in Malay. In addition, parade commands in the military, police and civil defence are given only in Malay.
Most residents of the five southernmost provinces of Thailand
—a region that, for the most part, used to be part of an ancient Malay kingdom called Pattani
— speak a dialect of Malay called Yawi
(not to be confused with Jawi), which is similar to Kelantanese Malay, but the language has no official status or recognition.
Owing to earlier contact with the Philippines
, Malay words—such as dalam hati
(glory), tengah hari
(delicious) — have evolved and been integrated into Tagalog
and other Philippine languages
By contrast, Indonesian has successfully become the lingua franca
for its disparate islands and ethnic groups, in part because the colonial language, Dutch, is no longer commonly spoken. (In East Timor
, which was governed as a province of Indonesia from 1976 to 1999, Indonesian is widely spoken and recognized under its Constitution
as a 'working language'.)
, which developed from the Malaccan
dialect, there are many Malay varieties spoken in Indonesia, they are divided into western and eastern groups. Western Malay dialects are predominantly spoken in Sumatra
, which itself is divided into Bornean and Sumatran Malay, some of the most widely spoken Sumatran Malay dialects are Riau Malay
, Palembang Malay
and Jambi Malay
are believed to be Sumatran Malay descendants. Meanwhile, the Jakarta
dialect (known as Betawi
) also belongs to the western Malay group.
The differences among both groups are quite observable. For example, the word 'kita' means "we, us" in western, but means "I, me" in Manado, whereas "we, us" in Manado is 'torang' and Ambon 'katong' (originally abbreviated from Malay 'kita orang' (means "we people"). Another difference is the lack of possessive pronouns (and suffixes) in eastern dialects. Manado uses the verb 'pe' and Ambon 'pu' (from Malay 'punya', meaning "to have") to mark possession. So "my name" and "our house" are translated in western Malay as 'namaku' and 'rumah kita' but 'kita pe nama' and 'torang pe rumah' in Manado and 'beta pu nama', 'katong pu rumah' in Ambon dialect.
The pronunciation may vary in western dialects, especially the pronunciation of words ending in the vowel 'a'. For example, in some parts of Malaysia and in Singapore, 'kita' (inclusive we, us, our) is pronounced as /kitə/, in Kelantan and Southern Thailand as /kitɔ/, in Riau as /kita/, in Palembang as /kito/, in Betawi and Perak as /kitɛ/ and in Kedah and Perlis as /kitɑ/.
Batavian and eastern dialects are sometimes regarded as Malay creole, because the speakers are not ethnically Malay.
All Malay speakers should be able to understand either of the translations below, which differ mostly in their choice of wording. The words for 'article', pasal and perkara, and for 'declaration', pernyataan and perisytiharan, are specific to the Indonesian and Malaysian standards, respectively, but otherwise all the words are found in both (and even those words may be found with slightly different meanings).
- ^ 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.
- ^ "Languages of ASEAN". Retrieved 7 August 2017.
- ^ a b "East Timor Languages". www.easttimorgovernment.com. Archived from the original on 4 March 2016. Retrieved 30 July 2018.
- ^ Bauer, Laurie (2007). The Linguistic Student's Handbook. Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press.
- ^ 10 million in Malaysia, 5 million in Indonesia as "Malay" plus 260 million as "Indonesian", etc.
- ^ Wardhana, Dian Eka Chandra (2021). "Indonesian as the Language of ASEAN During the New Life Behavior Change 2021". Journal of Social Work and Science Education. 1 (3): 266–280. Retrieved 29 January 2021.
- ^ Adelaar (2004)
- ^ Andaya, Leonard Y. (2001). "The Search for the 'Origins' of Melayu" (PDF). Journal of Southeast Asian Studies. 32 (3): 315–330. 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.
- ^ Surakhman, M. Ali (23 October 2017). "Undang-Undang Tanjung Tanah: Naskah Melayu Tertua di Dunia". kemdikbud.go.id (in Indonesian).
- ^ 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)". Omniglot. Retrieved 30 August 2008.
- ^ "Malay Can Be 'Language of ASEAN'". 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, Adrian; Deterding, David (2011). "Standard Malay (Brunei)". Journal of the International Phonetic Association. 41 (2): 259–268. doi:10.1017/S002510031100017X..
- ^ Soderberg, Craig D.; Olson, Kenneth S. (2008). "Indonesian". Journal of the International Phonetic Association. 38 (2): 209–213. doi:10.1017/S0025100308003320. ISSN 1475-3502.
- ^ Asmah Haji, Omar (1985). Susur galur bahasa Melayu. Kuala Lumpur: Dewan Bahasa dan Pustaka.
- ^ Ahmad, Zaharani (1993). Fonologi generatif: teori dan penerapan. Kuala Lumpur: Dewan Bahasa dan Pustaka.
- ^ Clynes, Adrian (1997). "On the Proto-Austronesian "Diphthongs"". Oceanic Linguistics. 36 (2): 347–361. doi:10.2307/3622989. JSTOR 3622989.
- ^ Adelaar, K. A. (1992). Proto Malayic: the reconstruction of its phonology and parts of its lexicon and morphology (PDF). Canberra: Pacific Linguistics. doi:10.15144/pl-c119. ISBN 0858834081. OCLC 26845189.
- ^ Ethnologue 16 also lists Col, Haji, Kaur, Kerinci, Kubu, Lubu'.
- ^ standard named as stated in: "Universal Declaration of Human Rights - Bahasa Indonesia (Indonesian)". Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights. Retrieved 17 March 2021.
- ^ the other language standard aside from "Indonesian" is named simply as "Malay", as stated in: "Universal Declaration of Human Rights (Bahasa Melayu (Malay))". Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights.
- Adelaar, K. Alexander (2004). "Where does Malay come from? Twenty years of discussions about homeland, migrations and classifications". Bijdragen tot de Taal-, Land- en Volkenkunde. 160 (1): 1–30. doi:10.1163/22134379-90003733. JSTOR 27868100.
- Edwards, E. D.; Blagden, C. O. (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): 715–749. doi:10.1017/S0041977X00093204. JSTOR 607205.
- B., C. O. (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). JSTOR 607921.
- Braginsky, Vladimir, ed. (2013) [First published 2002]. Classical Civilizations of South-East Asia. Oxford: Routledge. ISBN 978-1-136-84879-7.
- Wilkinson, Richard James (1901–1903). A Malay-English Dictionary. Singapore: Kelly & Walsh.
Wikivoyage has a phrasebook for Malay
Last edited on 1 May 2021, at 03:31
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