Wednesday, January 26, 2022

Language & Phrasebook in Malaysia

AsiaMalaysiaLanguage & Phrasebook in Malaysia

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Malaysia’s only official language is Malay (officially Bahasa Malaysia, sometimes known as Bahasa Melayu). The Indonesian language spoken across the border in Indonesia is similar to Malay, and speakers of both languages can generally understand each other. In some parts of Malaysia near the Thai border, especially in Kelantan, there are dialects of Malay that are almost incomprehensible to speakers of Standard Malay, although most people in these areas are able to converse in Standard Malay when necessary.

English is compulsory in all schools and is widely spoken in the larger cities, among the educated upper classes and near the main tourist attractions, although a little Malay is very useful in rural areas. There is also a colloquial form of English spoken among Malaysians in urban areas, not inappropriately known as Manglish, which involves switching between English, Malay and/or other languages. Note that almost all Malaysians do not pronounce the letter “h”, e.g. “three” and “tree” is pronounced as “tree”. Malaysians will almost always try to speak “standard English” (British) when approached by Western travellers. Police stations and government offices usually have English-speaking staff on duty.

Arabic is taught to those who attend Islamic religious schools, and many clerics as well as other very observant Muslims have a good command of the Arabic language. However, it is not widely spoken, although the Malay language has a large number of loanwords from Arabic. You will also see some examples of Malay with Arabic letters. This is called Jawi and is still used for religious publications and inscriptions, especially in states like Kelantan, although the Latin alphabet is much more commonly used throughout the country.

The Chinese community in Malaysia speaks a variety of Chinese dialects, including Cantonese, Mandarin, Teo-Kau, Hakka, Hainanese, Hok-Kau and Hokkien. Mandarin is taught in most Chinese schools, while Cantonese is commonly heard in the mass media due to the popularity of Hong Kong TVB series, so many know both languages in addition to their native dialect. The most commonly spoken Indian language is Tamil, others are Malayalam, Punjabi and Telugu.

In the northern states of Peninsular Malaysia, which border Thailand, there are several ethnic Thai communities known locally as Orang Siamese, who speak different dialects of Thai. Malacca in the south is also home to a Portuguese community that speaks a Portuguese-based Creole. The remote forest areas of Peninsular Malaysia are also home to several tribal peoples, the Orang Asli, who speak various indigenous languages such as Semelai, Temuan and many others. In East Malaysia, several indigenous languages are also spoken, especially Iban and Kadazan.

Films and television programmes are usually shown in their original language with Malay subtitles. Some children’s programmes are dubbed into Malay.

How To Travel To Malaysia

By planeThe national carrier Malaysia Airlines (MAS) has an extensive global route network and regularly ranks high in airline quality ratings. Low-cost carrier AirAsia and its sister airline AirAsia X now connect an ever-growing number of countries, including Australia, China, Cambodia, Hong Kong, India, Indonesia, Laos, Macau, New Zealand,...

How To Travel Around Malaysia

By planeThanks largely to budget airline AirAsia, Malaysia is criss-crossed by a network of affordable flights, with "special fares" starting as low as RM9 if booked early. Flying is the only practical option for travelling between Peninsular Malaysia and Borneo, as well as reaching some of Borneo's more remote...

Visa & Passport Requirements for Malaysia

Visa restrictionsCitizens of Israel with Israeli passports will be denied entry unless they have a letter of approval from the Malaysian Ministry of Home Affairs. In addition, Israeli nationals need an onward travel ticket and are asked to buy one or they will be denied entry. Malaysia no longer...

Destinations in Malaysia

Regions in MalaysiaMalaysia is divided into two main geographical regions commonly known as Peninsular Malaysia and East Malaysia.Peninsula MalaysiaWest Coast (Kedah, Kuala Lumpur, Malacca, Negeri Sembilan, Penang, Perak, Perlis, Putrajaya, Selangor).The more developed region with the modern capital Kuala Lumpur, UNESCO World Heritage Cities with colonial flair and the...

Weather & Climate in Malaysia

The climate in Malaysia is equatorial. The northeastern monsoon (October to February) floods Borneo and the east coast of the peninsula in rain and causes frequent flooding, while the west coast (especially Langkawi and Penang) is unscathed. The gentler southwest monsoon ( from April to October) reverses the pattern....

Accommodation & Hotels in Malaysia

BudgetCheap hotels and hostels are available in most cities and around most tourist destinations. As with most cheap accommodation, some are more reliable than others. Be careful when choosing cheap accommodation to avoid places that harbour illegal vices.Larger cities have YMCAs, which are a safe bet. Another notable budget...

Things To See in Malaysia

Malaysia is a fascinating country with many faces. It is multi-ethnic and multi-cultural, and its attractions vary from the iconic Petronas Towers in bustling Kuala Lumpur to perfect, palm-fringed sandy beaches and dense jungles with orangutans and tigers.There are several impressive national parks. Expeditions range from those where you...

Things To Do in Malaysia

Malaysia has excellent diving opportunities. The most popular spots are the islands off the east coast of Peninsular Malaysia (Perhentian, Redang, Tioman and many more), although the diving season is limited to April to September. However, the most famous dive site - often ranked among the best in the...

Food & Drinks in Malaysia

Food in MalaysiaAt the crossroads of Malaysian, Chinese and Indian cuisine, Malaysia is an ideal place to make makan (to eat in Malay). Discover the regional specialities and cuisine of Nyonya (Peranakan), the fusion of Malay and Chinese cuisine. You can even find unique Eurasian cuisine in the Portuguese...

Money & Shopping in Malaysia

Currency in MalaysiaThe Malaysian currency is the Malaysian ringgit, abbreviated RM or MYR, divided into 100 sen (cents). The ringgit is sometimes unofficially referred to as the dollar and you may see the '$' symbol on older notes. There are coins of RM0.05 (silver), RM0.10 (silver), RM0.20 (silver or...

Festivals & Events in Malaysia

One of the significant features of Malaysian culture is the celebration of various festivals and events. The year is filled with colourful, exhilarating and exciting activities. Some are religious and solemn, but others are lively, joyous events. An interesting feature of the main festivals here is the custom of...

Internet & Communications in Malaysia

Internet in MalaysiaInternet connectivity in Malaysia is readily available in most cities and towns. It was one of the first countries in the world to offer 4G connectivity. Broadband internet is available in most hotels, internet cafes and some restaurants. Wi-Fi is usually available in hotspots in almost all...

Traditions & Customs in Malaysia

It is advisable to dress respectfully, especially in rural areas (wearing trousers or a long skirt, not shorts, and covering the shoulders is recommended but not essential). In urban areas such as Kuala Lumpur, Johor Bahru, Penang and Ipoh, and in the East Malaysian states (Sabah and Sarawak), attitudes...

Culture Of Malaysia

Malaysia has a multi-ethnic, multi-cultural and multi-lingual society. The country's original culture comes from the indigenous tribes that inhabited it, along with the Malays who moved there later. There is a significant influence of Chinese and Indian culture dating back to the beginning of foreign trade. Other cultural influences...

History Of Malaysia

Evidence of modern human settlement in Malaysia dates back 40,000 years. It is believed that the first inhabitants of the Malay Peninsula were Negritos. Traders and settlers from India and China arrived as early as the first century AD and established trading ports and coastal towns in the second...

Stay Safe & Healthy in Malaysia

Stay safe in MalaysiaThe crime rate is higher than in neighbouring Singapore. Crimes against tourists are usually limited to pickpocketing, purse snatching and petty theft. It is important to keep a close eye on valuable items. Thefts are more common in busy places such as markets and public transport....

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