Saturday, October 28, 2006

Words you should know in my country : Malaysia

Malaysia is a multiracial country. Even though our official religion is Islam, and official language is Malay Language, we are free to practice our own religion and our own language/dialect. I dare to say that all Malaysians are multi-lingual. We tend to mix words from different languages/dialects in our daily conversation and it's still understood by all. However the habit is hard to break and sometimes one can unintentionally make mistake. Singapore and Malaysia share the same unique way of conversation. Due to this, currently our government even wanted to set up a law to prosecute whoever that mix our national language with other languages/dialects. Heck! Don't think it will work anyway since they themselves can't even stick to the rules. Ok... Enough of that. Let me share some words or phrase with you when you are in Malaysia. Well... I can only share what I know since there are so many dialects and languages here, it's impossible for me to know every single one of them.

The Chinese likes to ask this when they meet each other instead of "hello" or
"hi":
"Lu jiak ba boi?" (Hokkien dialect)
"Ni zhi bao mei?" (Mandarin)
"Sudah Makan?"[sue-dah ma-kan] (Malay) *LOL* This is the best I can do tell you how it's pronounced.
These mean, "Had you eaten?", in English.

"How are you?", "Fine. Thank you." in different languages/dialects:
"Ni hao ma?", "Hen hao. Xie xie."(Mandarin)
"Lu ho bo?", "Ho. Kam sia." (Hokkien dialect)
"Nei hou ma?", "Hou. Dou Chay." (Cantonese dialect)
"Apa khabar?"[Ah-pa car-bar], "Khabar baik. Terima Kasih."[Car-bar ba-ik. Te-ri-ma ka-sih] (Malay)
OK... from here, I had included another useful word, "Thank you" at the end of the sentence. Killing two birds with one stone :P

"Welcome" in different languages/dialects:
"Huan yin" (Mandarin)
"Selamat Datang" [se-la-mat da-tongue] (Malay)

"Goodbye" in different languages/dialects:
"Zai jien" (Chinese)
"Selamat Tinggal"[Se-la-mat ting-gal] (Malay)
"Joi kin" (Cantonese)
But... no matter who they are, "bye" is the most common one to use. Hahahaha...

If you want to buy something and want to know the price, you can ask this,"How much is this?":
"Duo sao qien?" (Chinese)
"Berapa?"[Bur-ra-pa] (Malay)
"Kuduh?"[Ku-dooh] (Bidayuh)
"Gei dou qin/lui?" (Cantonese dialect)
"Gui lui?" (Hokkine dialect)
The classic one--->"How Much Ah?"

This would be fun :P the similar expression to "OH MY GOSSSHHH!!!", "OH NO!!!", "DEAD MEAT!" in different languages/dialects:
"ALAMAK!!!" [ah-la-mak] (Malay)
"CHAM LO!!", "SI LO" (Hokkien dialect)
"CHAN LO!!!", "YAO SI LO!!!" (Mandarin)
"SEI GAN LO!!" (Cantonese dialect)
The classic one--->"DIE LIAU LA!!!"

By the way, this is what you should know... Malaysians tend to add "la", "lo" to the end of their conversation, it doesn't matter what language/dialect they are speaking :P They mean nothing in particular, it's just an expression just like some countries they will have "eh" at the end of their sentence.

**UPDATE: Thanks to prismwater for bringing this up. It's so classic!
This is one word that will make you more "local", it's understandable by everyone in Malaysia, it doesn't belong to any language/dialect/race. Anyone one, just anyone in Malaysia will know this "GOSTAN"[go-stunt], *CHUCKLE* it means "reverse", when people wanted to reverse their car, the one and only word that will pop up no matter who they are, is "GOSTAN"!!
How it ended up here? I really have no idea. Anyone?


I guess that's all. It's Ok if you don't get or remember any of them becasue as long that you know English, you can come here and will be able to survive even if you are lost. Even if you have problem understanding some people's English, anyone on the street will be helpful enough to help you with it. There's no language barrier here as long that you know English.


Posted by, Sweet Surrender

5 Comments:

Blogger Rebelde said...

I had no idea people spoke that many languages and dialcts in Malasya. Knowledge chases me but I always out run it

10:21 PM  
Anonymous Irene said...

:) It's a multiracial country so it's common for us to speak many languages and dialects, even if we don't know how to speak but sometimes we understand what they say.

4:29 AM  
Blogger Say Lee said...

Chanced upon this project while reading the daily dosage of 3BT. Then located Malaysia and here I am.

Yes, that's Malglish for the uninitiated but there is nothing mala about it.

Also, the Mandarin is mainly spoken by the chinese Malaysian, and is the same one that's spoken in China and Taiwan.

The Malay is spoken by all, obviously some better than the others and is close to the one spoken in Indonesia as there is an effort to "standardize" the national languages in the two countries.

The Hokkien is spoken by the Hokkien clan and perhaps those who are married into the clan family like me, and is similar to the main dialect spoken in Taiwan, the Ming-Nan dialect.

And if we have the Indian/Tamil/Hindi version listed, then I would say the spectrum of daily languages spoken in a typical Malaysian setting is near complete. But I'm equally no help there.

Still a great effort!

11:56 AM  
Blogger Prismwater said...

Irene. You forgot one important word..

GOSTAN

Hehehe.. Great job u done here :D

1:46 AM  
Anonymous Irene said...

say lee, hahahha... even though it's other languages or dialects, other races actually know what they mean too even though they might not know the dialect or language coz it's spoken everywhere. We are so "rojak". heheh...

prismwater, LOL... yes yes... GOSTAN!!! it means "reverse".

9:42 AM  

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