This course is designed for English speakers who wish to learn Basic Malay in 20-week lessons.
The Main Differences between English and Malay
In Bahasa Malaysia, Past Tense Verbs do not exist. Eg : I eat = I ate = Saya makan. Actions are explained using time as present, past or future indicator.
- Eg : I eat everyday : Saya makan setiap hari
- Eg : I ate just now : Saya makan tadi
- Prefixes are widely used with Bahasa Malaysia verbs, eg : me.., be.., ter.. and di...
- Suffixes are also widely used with Bahasa Malaysia verbs, eg : ..kan, …i
Similar to English, Bahasa Malaysia uses Simple, Continuous and Perfect Verbs to explain present, past and future actions
- Active and Passive Sentences
Similar to English, Active and Passive sentences exist in Bahasa Malaysia
- eg active : I do it – Saya membuatnya
- eg passive : It is done already – Ia telah dibuat
- Arrangement of Articles, possessive pronouns and Adjectives
Opposite to English, the articles, possessive pronouns and adjectives are placed after the nouns.
- Articles : the house – rumah itu
- Possessive pronoun : my house – rumah saya
- Adjective : big house – rumah besar
- How to translate ‘to be’–is, are, am, was, were etc.. Click here for more
- When a noun explains its position, ‘to be’ is translated as : berada or ada or can be omitted
- eg : He is here – Dia berada di sini or Dia ada di sini or Dia di sini
- When a noun explains itself as a noun, ‘to be’ is translated as : ialah or can be omitted
- eg : He is a doctor – Dia ialah seorang doktor or Dia seorang doktor or Dia doktor
- When a noun explains its adjective, ‘to be’ is not translated (it is omitted)
- eg : The house is big – Rumah itu besar (‘is’ is omitted)
- When ‘to be’ is used in continuous action, it is translated as : sedang
- eg : She is cooking – Dia sedang memasak
- When ‘to be’ is used in a passive voice, it is translated as : di
- eg : The shop is opened everyday – kedai itu dibuka setiap hari
- a : is always pronounced as ‘ah‘ in ‘art’, never other sound like ‘a’ in make, at etc..
- eg : waktu (time)
- i : is always pronounced as ‘i‘ in ‘into’, never other sound like ‘i’ in fine, bind etc
- eg : ini (this), itu (that)
- o : is always pronounced as ‘o‘ in oval, never other sound like ‘o’ in pot, out etc
- eg : orang (people)
- u : is always pronounced as ‘oo‘ in look, book, never other sounds like ‘u’ in upon, up, urban etc
- eg : untuk (for)
The only inconsistent vowel in Malay is ‘e‘
e : there are 2 sounds of ‘e‘
- i. ‘e‘ as in ‘her’ – mostly applicable to a 3 letter-syllable, eg : berlari (run), berjalan (walk) but sometimes to a 2-letter syllable eg : sepak (slap), belum (not yet)
- ii. ‘e‘ as in ‘egg’ – mostly applicable in 1 0r 2-letter syllable, eg : esok (tomorrow) lepak (hang around)
Most consonants sound the same in English and Malay, except :
- c : always sounds as ‘c‘ in ‘chair’, never other sounds like ‘c’ in car, cat etc
- q,v, x : there are no official word in Malay starting with ‘q, v and x’. If there are, they are imported words from Arabic, eg : qada’ (re-pay), qadar (rate), Quran (Holy book of Islam)
Combination of consonants :
words with double ‘g’ carries a ‘g’ sound
- eg : menggunakan (using)
words with ‘ng’ do not exist in English sound, however it is pronounced with nasal ‘ngah’ without ‘g’ sound.
- eg : dengan (with or by)