What languages do Malaysians know
Interesting facts about the Malaysian language
Malay (the locals call their language Bahasa Melayu or Bahasa Malaysia) belongs to the family of Austronesian languages. The Austronesian language family is native to Madagascar to Easter Island and is considered to be one of the largest language families in the world. On the one hand, because it includes at least 500 individual languages. On the other hand, because they have around 200 million speakers – purely numerically – is one of the largest families. Malaysian is one of the four main languages of this family. Indonesian, Javanese and Filipino are also widely spoken languages of this group and spoken by many people.
The main characteristic of the Austronesian language group is that (due to the large number of individual languages) there is a colorful coexistence and coexistence of many languages spatially. Lots of people speak – next to the national language of their home country, which they learned in school – still other languages and dialects.
This also applies to Malaysia. However, once you have learned Malaysian, you will often find someone there who will understand you. Over seven million people in Malaysia speak Malay as their first language and nearly five million more have learned it as a second language.
Malaysian is the official language in Malaysia, Singapore and the Sultanate of Brunei. Indonesian is closely related to Malaysian.
Bahasa Melayu & Bahasa Indonesia: Differences and similarities between Malaysian and Indonesian
Malay and Indonesian are officially treated as different languages, but are closer to each other than many German dialects. They are therefore often treated as one language in linguistics. The differences between the two languages are mainly due to the different historical development. During the colonial era, the BahasaIndonesia from the Dutch and the BahasaMelayu influenced by the British colonial rulers.
In 1957 Malaysia was given independence and a language commission was set up to revise the language. Indonesia gained independence a few years earlier – namely 1949 – and there, too, one faced the need for a new national language. Whereas in Malaysia it was clear from the start that Malay should be revitalized and renewed as the new national language Bahasa Melayu should lead, the problem in Indonesia was somewhat different. There it was important to consider many different languages and dialects and not to discriminate any of them. Since there had been efforts in Indonesia since the beginning of the 20th century to spread Malay as the national language, a decision was made against Javanese, which is spoken by the majority of the population, and preference was given to Malay. In developing the new national language Bahasa Indonesia one proceeded in such a way that one standardized and edited Malay under state guidance. Above all, the grammar was simplified again. The historically grown differences in vocabulary were retained.
In the meantime, Malaysian and Indonesian have developed so far apart in terms of vocabulary that a Malaysian and an Indonesian can no longer understand each other if everyone chats away in their native language.
Malaysian is easy to learn for Germans!
The Malaysian is generally considered to be the 'Italian of the Orient'. Similar to Italian, Malaysian shares large parts of the vocabulary with other languages in the Austronesian language family. That is why it is rather easy for the speakers of this language family to learn this language as a second language. – But why should it also be easy for speakers whose mother tongue belongs to other language families (and German always does) to learn this language?
On the one hand, this is due to the sound structure of the language: Malay and Indonesian are easy to pronounce for Europeans. Germans have an even bigger advantage than the French, for example: to a certain extent, everything is pronounced the way you would in German. In total there are only 5 vowels (as in German: a, e, i, o, and u) and another so-called "middle tongue vowel" [ə] - and you already know this from German.
Learning and understanding grammar is also relatively easy: Malaysian is one insulating Language. In isolating languages, the words always stay the same. In contrast to German, you do not have to learn the inflection of verbs in this language course, the nouns always stay the same, the adjectives are also regularly increased and not adapted to reference words. There are no articles to be learned along with the noun. The pronouns are not declined.
We hope that this little introduction has sparked your interest in Malaysian and we wish you a lot of fun and success in learning.
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