Language Primer: Malay

A many-named language that crops up in many corners of Southeast Asia.

Malay enjoys numerous sobriquets: Bahasa Malaysia; Bahasa Melayu; Bahasa Kebangsaan (national language) and so forth. All centre upon the same thing: Malay is the national language of Malaysia and is spoken officially in Indonesia, Singapore and Brunei, while in Timor-Leste and Thailand, it enjoys something of an unofficial status. So similar is Malay to Bahasa Indonesia that speakers of either language can often understand one another.

Read more: Escape Dili at Watabo’o Beach.

(Language Editor: As always with these guides, this list was compiled from wandering the streets of the host country. Thus, it is most likely incomplete, imperfect and strewn with errors; it is, however, raw and presented as-is. Only the foolhardy should consider it gospel.)

Bahasa Melayu

Excuse me (sorry) – Maaf

Hello – Hello / Hai

How are you? – Apa kabar?

I’m fine – Saya baik

Thank you – Terima kasih

Please – Tolong

You’re welcome – Sama-sama

Goodbye – Selamat tinggal / Babai

Good morning – Selamat pagi

Good afternoon – Selamat tenghari

Good evening – Selamat patang

Good night – Selamat malam

What’s your name? – Siapa name awak?

My name is (Thomm) – Nama saya (Thomm)

I’m from (Dili) – Saya datang (Dili)

Where you go? – Nak pergi mana?

I don’t know – Saya tidak tahu

I go to – Saya pergi ke

Where is (the temple)? – Mana (kuil)?

Over there – Di sana

How far is (the temple)? – Berapa jauh (kuil)?

How long? – Berapa lama?

Airport – Lapangan terbang

Hotel – Hotel

Restaurant – Restoran

Bar – Bar

Temple – Kuil

This is … – Ini …

Cheap – Murah

Expensive – Mahal

Too – Terlalu

Very – Sangat

Do you have …? – Apakah anda mempunyai …?

I want/would like – Saya mahu

Beer – Bir

Water – Air

Cigarettes – Rokok

Lighter – Pemitik api

A room – Bilik

A ticket – Tiket

Food – Makanan

Drink – Minuman

Chicken – Ayam

Fish – Ikan

Rice – Nasi

Noodles – Mi

What’s the score? –  Berapa markah?

I like your nose – Saya suka hidung awak


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