If you’re ever planning a holiday to this bustling cultural paradise, here are a few Malay phrases to help enrich your stay in Malaysia!
While the English language is widely used in most cities throughout the country, you may come across a language barrier when visiting some of the innermost parts where the best and most traditional experiences are. In these parts, Bahasa Malaysia, also known as Bahasa Melayu or simply, Malay, is used in everyday conversation. This week, we have put together a few words and phrases to help bridge the gap and to allow you to fully immerse yourself in the Malaysian experience.
First impressions are the most important! Nothing breaks the ice faster than using the proper greeting (and a nice smile!). So here are some key greetings you can use while conversing with the locals:
Good Morning – Selamat Pagi (sir-la-mart pa-ghee)
Good Afternoon – Selamat Tengahari (sir-la-mart terng-ah-ha-ree)
Good Evening – Selamat Petang (sir-la-mart pe-tongue)
Good Night – Selamat Malam (sir-la-mart ma-lahm)
How Are You – Apa Khabar (ah-pa ka-bar)
I’m Fine – Khabar Baik (Ka-bar ba-ache)
Thank You – Terima Kasih (ter-ree-ma ka-sayh)
You’re Welcome – Sama-sama (sa-ma-sa-ma)
Numbers and Counting
Malaysian shopping is not only limited to huge shopping malls where English is used. Arts and crafts markets like the Sentral Market in Kuala Lumpur as well as many other independent stores use Malay in their business exchange. As such, it is always handy to know your numbers in the Malay language.
1 – Satu (sa-too)
2 – Dua (do-ah)
3 – Tiga (tee-ga)
4 – Empat (em-part)
5 – Lima (lee-ma)
6 – Enam (er-nahm)
7 – Tujuh (too-juh)
8 – Lapan (la-pahn)
9 – Sembilan (sehm-bee-lahn)
10 – Sepuluh (sir-poo-loh)
The Malaysian currency is Ringgit Malaysia (RM) and Sen. Add this to the above numbers to denote monetary values:-
RM10 – Sepuluh Ringgit
RM10.50 – Sepuluh Ringgit Lima Puluh Sen
Here are a few handy questions in Malay to help you make your way around:
How much is this? – Ini berapa (ee-nee bur-ah-pa)
Where – Di mana (dee ma-nah)
What is this? – Ini apa (ee-nee ah-pa)
Why – Kenapa (ker-na-pa)
Who – Siapa (see-ah-pa)
And there you have it! Basic Malay phrases to help you make your way around Malaysia.