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.)

It is thus:

EnglishMalay
Excuse me / SorryMaaf
HelloHello / Hai
How are you?Apa kabar?
I’m fineSaya baik
Thank youTerima kasih
PleaseTolong
You’re welcomeSama-sama
GoodbyeSelamat tinggal / Babai
Good morningSelamat pagi
Good afternoonSelamat patang / tenghari
Good eveningSelamat malam
What’s your name?Siapa nama awak?
My name is (Thomm)Nama saya (Thomm)
I’m from (Dili)Saya datang (Dili)
Where you go?Nak pergi mana?
I don’t knowSaya tidak tahu
I go to …Saya pergi ke …
Where is (the temple)?Mana (kuil)?
Over thereDi sana
How far is (the temple)?Berapa jauh (kuil)?
How long?Berapa lama?
AirportLapanagan terbang
HotelHotel
RestaurantRestoran
BarBar
TempleKuil
This is …Ini …
CheapMurah
ExpensiveMahal
TooTerlalu
VerySangat
Do you have …?Apakah anda mempunyai …?
I want / would like …Saya mahu …
BeerBir
WaterAir
CigarettesRokok
LighterPemitik api
A roomBilik
TicketTiket
FoodMakanan
DrinkMinuman
ChickenAyam
FishIkan
RiceNasi
NoodlesMie
What’s the score?Berapa markah?
I like your noseSaya suka hidung awak

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