Sunday, March 21, 2010

Bab 5: Bahasa Pasar (Informal Speech)

Hello there guys and girls. How's your weekend going for you?

In this chapter, I will be introducing to you the difference between formal speech (between two unknown persons) and informal speech (between two familiar persons). However, you must remember that informal speech only applies to peers of your own age or younger. You have to remember that when applying informal speech to your elders, to use formal pronouns when referring to yourself or that person.

For informal speech, we usually use Bahasa Pasar, which is an everyday speech pattern that is truncated.

Example of informal speech between two friends:

A: Kau pi mana semalam? Penat aku telefon kau tak jawab-jawab.
B: Telefon aku matilah. Pening aku cuba fikir macam mana nak telefon kau.
A: Tulah kau. Siapa suruh kau tak caj?
B: Alah, aku lupalah.

Example of informal speech between a younger person(A - child) and an older person(B - mother).

A: Mak pi mana semalam? Penat saya telefon mak tak jawab-jawab.
B: Telefon mak matilah. Penat mak cuba fikir macam mana nak telefon kau.
A: Tulah mak. Kenapa mak tak caj telefon?
B: Mak lupalah.

English translation:

A: Where did you go yesterday? I tried calling you but you didn't answer.
B: My phone went dead. I was thinking of a way to call you.
A: See what happened (The closest translation to the above)? Why didn't you charge your phone?
B: I forgot.

For an example of formal speech, click here for Chapter 2.

Do you notice that for informal conversations between a mother and her child, the mother still uses 'mak' (mum) to refer to herself instead of 'aku' (I)? This is to soften her speech when talking to the child. Usually for men, they would use 'aku' instead.

1. Pi (formal - pergi) - to go
2. mana - where
3. semalam - yesterday
4. penat - to tire
5. telefon (formal - menelefon) - to call, to phone
6. tak (formal - tidak) - negation
7. jawab - to answer
8. telefon - telephone
9. mati - to die
10. cuba - to try
11. fikir - to think
12. macam mana (formal - bagaimana) - how
13. nak (formal - hendak) - to want
14. kenapa - why
15. caj - charge
16. lupa - to forget
17. mak (formal - emak) - mother

Also notice that a few words from the list above are truncated such as 'nak' (hendak), 'pi' (pergi) and 'tak' (tidak). There are many other words that are also truncated when used in informal speech. That will be introduced later.

But for now, I think that's enough for today.

Saturday, March 20, 2010


Malaysia (pronounced /məˈleɪʒə/ mə-LAY-zhə or /məˈleɪziə/ mə-LAY-zee-ə) is a country in Southeast Asia consisting of thirteen states and three Federal Territories, with a total landmass of 329,845 square kilometres (127,354 sq mi).[6][7] The capital city is Kuala Lumpur, while Putrajaya is the seat of the federal government. The population stands at over 28 million.[2] The country is separated by the South China Sea into two regions, Peninsular Malaysia and Malaysian Borneo (also known as East Malaysia).[7] Malaysia borders Thailand, Indonesia, Singapore, and Brunei.[7] It is near the equator and has a tropical climate.[7] Malaysia's head of state is the Yang di-Pertuan Agong,[8] an elected monarch, and the head of government is the Prime Minister.[9][10] The government is closely modelled on the Westminster parliamentary system.[11]

Malaysia as a unified state did not exist until 1963. Previously, the United Kingdom had established influence in colonies in the territory from the late 18th century. The western half of modern Malaysia was composed of several separate kingdoms. This group of colonies was known as British Malaya until its dissolution in 1946, when it was reorganized as the Malayan Union. Due to widespread opposition, it was reorganized again as the Federation of Malaya in 1948 and later gained independence on 31 August 1957.[12] Singapore, Sarawak, British North Borneo, and the Federation of Malaya merged to form Malaysia on 16 September 1963.[13] Tensions in the early years of the new union sparked an armed conflict with Indonesia, and the expulsion of Singapore on 9 August 1965.[14][15]

During the late 20th century, Malaysia experienced an economic boom and underwent rapid development. It borders the Strait of Malacca, an important international shipping crossroad, and international trade is integral to its economy.[16] Manufacturing makes up a major sector of the country's economy.[17] Malaysia has a biodiverse range of flora and fauna, and is also considered one of the 17 megadiverse countries.[18]

Read more about Malaysia here.

Bab 4: Imbuhan me-

Hello and welcome again to Mari Belajar Bahasa Melayu. It's been a while I know, and I apologize for my long absence as I had been busy with work and a new life. Anyways, let's get on to learning Bahasa Melayu.

In this chapter, I would like to introduce to you the prefix me-. The prefix me- is used to make the kata akar (root words) into transitive verbs.

What do you mean by transitive verbs? It means that the subject is acting on an object directly. We have many examples of it in other languages like French for example or Japanese. However, you have to remember that the prefix me- category comprises of me-, men-, mem-, meng-. The prefixes depend on the first letter of the word that comes after it.

A few examples:
1. Ali me-lawan Abu.
Ali fights Abu.

2. Perempuan itu sedang men-jeling lelaki itu.
That woman is staring at that man.

3. Oleh sebab kepanasan, ibu meng-ipas dirinya.
Because it is hot, mother fans herself.

There really is no general rule that you can follow. The only way for you to know which ones to use is by reading a lot of Malay papers.

However, I will try to make it easier for you to remember.

For words beginning with 'k', the 'k' is usually dropped and the prefix meng- is used.

1. kipas - fan
meng-ipas - to fan

2. kupas - to peel
meng-upas - peeling

3. kunci - key
meng-unci - to lock

For words beginning with 's', the 's' is dropped and is changed into a 'y'. Usually men- is used for these words.

1. Sapu - to sweep
Meny-apu - the act of sweeping

2. Simpan - to keep
Meny-impan - the act of keeping

3. Sangkal - to deny
Meny-angkal - the act of denying

For words beginning with a 'b' the prefix mem- is usually used.

1. Bakar - to burn
Mem-bakar - the act of burning

2. Baling - to throw
Mem-baling - the act of throwing

For words beginning with 'p', the 'p' is dropped and mem- is used.

1. Panas - hot
Mem-anas-kan - the heat up something

2. Paling - to turn away
Mem-aling - the act of turning away

Exceptions: pelawa (to invite) becomes mem-pelawa (the act of inviting), persona becomes mem-persona-kan.

Words with a vowel, 'a', 'e', 'i', 'o', 'u' are usually preceeded by meng-.

Examples: Meng-ajak (the act of inviting), meng-elak (the act of avoding), meng-intai (the act of peeping), meng-olah (the act of changing something), meng-ucap (the act of saying something).

Another exception that you have to remember is that for one syllable words, menge- is used.

1. Cat - to paint (pronounced as ch-at as in ch-air)
Menge-cat (the act of painting)

2. Tar - tar
Menge-tar (the act of tarring as in tarring a road)

Always remember that there is always an exception for these rules that I've just told you. So read up and improve your Bahasa.

In the next chapter we will probably go for a break from the grammar stuff and start with some basic conversations. Till next time.

Monday, December 8, 2008

Bab 3: Pengenalan kata-kata akar

Hello and welcome to the 3rd Chapter of Mari Belajar Bahasa Melayu. In this chapter, I will be introducing to you the basics of words that make up the language, the root words ( Kata akar).

Kata akar can either be categorized as a noun or as a verb. This is the word that is used in the dictionary. So, you would have to find the root word of a word in order to find its meaning in the dictionary. In addition, a noun can be made into a verb by adding prefixes or suffixes to the word and vice versa.

Some examples:

Hampir (Close to something) is a noun and is a kata akar. However, you can change it into a verb by adding the prefix Meng- and suffix -i which then becomes "menghampiri" which means to come close to.

Sapu (To sweep) is a verb and is also a kata akar. To change it into a noun, you can add the prefix Pen- and it turns into "penyapu" which means broom.

There are many of these prefixes and suffixes that you would have to learn in order to use them correctly. Here's a list of some of the prefixes, suffixes and infixes that are regularly used:

1) Me-
2) Men-
3) Meng-
4) Ber-
5) Meng- + -i
6) Pe-
7) Pen-
8) Peng-
9) Me- + -kan
10) Peng- + -an
11) Peng- + -kan

And so on. I don't want to scare you but it is important that you use them correctly because by using the wrong ones a word can have a totally different meaning.

Let's begin with the simplest prefix which is Me-. Whenever this prefix is added to a kata akar, it will change it into a verb.


1) Saya sedang men-yapu.
I am sweeping.

2) Dia me-lontar sebutir batu.
He throws a rock.

3) Kami me-lompat di atas katil.
We are jumping on the bed.

The bolded red shows you the prefix while the italic red is the kata akar.

Don't worry about it now as this is only the introduction. We will look into the prefixes, suffixes and infixes in much detailed later in the lessons ahead.

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Bab 2: Dialog Mudah

In this chapter, I will introduce to you a basic dialogue that may be used when meeting people for the first time. It will cover asking people's names, introducing yourself and where you come from.

The setting is set between two people who are meeting for the first time.

A: Helo. Apa khabar?
B: Baik. Awak?
A: Saya pun baik. Apakah nama awak?
B: Nama saya Rizal. Awak pula?
A: Nama saya Tini.
B: Awak berasal dari mana?
A: Saya berasal dari Kuala Lumpur.

A: Hello. How are you?
B: Fine. You?
A: I'm fine (too). What's your name?
B: My name is Rizal. And you?
A: My name is Tini.
B: Where are you from?
A: I'm from Kuala Lumpur.

A: Hey-lo. A-pah ka-bar?
B: Ba-yik. A-wak?
A: Sa-ye(ar) poon ba-yik. A-pa-kah na-me (r) a-wak?
B: Na-me (r) sa-ye(ar) ee-ya-lah Ree-zal. A-wak poo-le(r)?
A: Na-me(r) sa-ye(ar) Tee-Nee.
B: A-wak ber-a-sal da-ree ma-ne(r)?
A: Sa-ye(ar) ber-a-sal da-ree Koo-a-la Loom-poor.

Pronouns: In Malay, like many other languages have informal and formal pronouns.

I : Beta (used by His Majesty)
Saya (formal)
Aku (informal)

You: Anda (very formal)
Kamu, Awak (formal ; used with peers only)
Engkau, kau (informal)
Note: When referring to someone older or superior, you would always use his/her name or call them by 'Kakak' or 'Abang' which literally means big sister and big brother.

He, she, it: Baginda (referring to His Majesty)

We, us: Kami, kita

You (all): Anda/Kamu sekalian

They, them: Mereka

'Apa khabar' is the customary "How are you doing" question. It literally means "What news (do you have)?".

'Baik' means "fine" and if you want to say that you're not fine just add 'tidak' in front of the word, 'tidak baik' means "not fine". "So-so" would be in the area of 'Biasa saja' or literally means "It's only normal".

'Apa' is one of those question nouns and it means "what". The suffix -kah is added to emphasize the question or to make a sentence into a question. For example, 'Hari inikah?' which means "Is it today?".

'Pun' basically means 'too'.

Notice that in Malay there's no verb "to be". 'Ialah' is not a verb but a kata pemeri. It is used to desribe the phrase preceeding it. 'Ialah' is mainly used for describing noun phrases while 'adalah' is used for adjectival phrases or verb phrases. We will discuss this later in the lesson. For now, suffices to say that there's no verb "to be" in Malay.

'Berasal' means your original place. It comes from the root word 'asal' which means "roots" or "origins". We add a ber- prefix to make it into a verb.

'Dari' means "from" but we will soon learn that "from" will depend on the subject, if it's animate or inanimate which in this case means from a place. So if it's from a person, you would use 'Daripada' instead of 'Dari'.

So those are the explanation for the words that were used in the dialogue above. If you have any questions or doubts feel free to comment and I'll try my best to answer your questions.

Monday, December 1, 2008

Bab 1: Ayat-ayat mudah

Selamat Datang ke Bab 1 pelajaran Bahasa Melayu. Dalam bab ini, saya akan memperkenalkan beberapa ayat mudah untuk anda pelajari. Mari kita mulakan:

Welcome to Chapter 1 of learning Bahasa Melayu. In this chapter, I will introduce to you a few basic phrases for you to start learning. Let's begin:

Selamat pagi! ( Si(r)-la-mat pa-ghee)
Good morning!

Selamat tengahari! ( Si (r)-la-mat te(r)-nga-ha-ree)
Good afternoon!

Selamat petang! ( Si (r)-la-mat pe(r)-tongue)
Good evening!

Selamat malam! ( Si (r)-la-mat ma-lam)
Good night!

Nama saya ialah ... ( Na-me(r) sa-ye(r) iya-lah )
My name is ...

Apa khabar? ( Uppe (r) ka-bhar?)
How are you?

Readers Note: The words in the parentheses are how you would pronounce them in English and if you see something like Si (r), you would pronounce it like the British 'Sir' but of course with the silent 'r'. That is the closest sound that I can think of that relates to how you would pronounce the words in Bahasa Melayu.

Ya. ( Ya )

Tidak. ( Tee-duck)

Terima kasih. ( Te (r)-ree-ma ka-seeh)
Thank you.

Sama-sama. ( Summe (r) summe (r) )
You're welcome.