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Tagged With: Languages

My Top 3 Favourite British Slang Words

When I was new in Malaysia, it took me quite  a while to adjust from American English (the norm in the Philippines) to British English (the norm in Malaysia). Suddenly, I had to start saying ‘lift’ instead of ‘elevator’; add u’s to words like neighbour, labour, and colour; pronounce ‘family’ as ‘femly’ and ‘sure’ as … Continue reading »

Categories: Rojak | Tags: , , | 3 Comments

10 Colloquial Malay Terms To Learn

Every language in the world has its formal version — used in official documents, correspondence and newspapers — and its informal daily version — slang, bahasa pasar (literally: ‘market language’), streetwise lingo. Here are 10 Malay terms that fall in the latter category:- 1. “On The Way” I dare say that this phrase — ironically, … Continue reading »

Categories: Malaysia | Tags: | 14 Comments

Tearing My Hair Out Over Jawi

This may look like Arabic to you, but it’s not. This is Jawi, previously the standard script for writing the Malay language. Adapted from the Arabic language, it uses all of the original 28 letters of the Arabic alphabet. In addition, Jawi has six unique supplementary letters: va (same as wa but with a single … Continue reading »

Categories: Malaysia | Tags: | 18 Comments

The Great Malaysian-Indonesian Divide

At first glance, Bahasa Malaysia (Malaysian language) and Bahasa Indonesia (Indonesian language) look very similar. Most of the words are the same — makan (eat), ikan (fish), rumah (house); the structure of sentences are also the same, e.g. Ini anak saya (This is my child). But after countless trips to Indonesia, it is becoming more … Continue reading »

Categories: Malaysia | Tags: , | 17 Comments

Taking Small Steps

Knowing how my children need to improve their Malay, I’ve been taking small steps lately to help them build up their vocabulary. Like this morning, for instance. I turned on the radio, picking out a talk show in Malay. Then I highlighted certain words to them. “Banduan,” I said. “Do you know what that means?” … Continue reading »

Categories: Parenting | Tags: , , | 12 Comments