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Malay language

Austronesian language of Southeast Asia / From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

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Malay (/məˈl/;[8] Malay: Bahasa Melayu, Jawi: بهاس ملايو) is an Austronesian language that is an official language of Brunei, Indonesia, Malaysia, and Singapore, and that is also spoken in East Timor and parts of Thailand. Altogether, it is spoken by 290 million people[9] (including 260 million in the "Indonesian" literary standard)[10] across Maritime Southeast Asia.

Quick facts: Malay, Pronunciation, Native to, Ethnici...
Bahasa Melayu
بهاس ملايو
Pronunciation[baˈ məˈla.ju]
Native toBrunei, East Timor, Indonesia, Malaysia, Singapore, Southern Thailand, Christmas Island, Cocos (Keeling) Islands
(see also Malayophones)
SpeakersL1 – 77 million (2007)[2]
Total (L1 and L2): 200–290 million (2009)[3]
Early forms
Standard forms
Manually Coded Malay
Official status
Official language in
Recognised minority
language in
Regulated by
Language codes
ISO 639-1ms
ISO 639-2may (B)
msa (T)
ISO 639-3msa – inclusive code
Individual codes:
zlm  Malay (individual language)
ind  Indonesian
zsm  Standard Malay
abs  Ambon Malay
mbf  Baba Malay
pea  Baba Indonesian
mhp  Balinese Malay
bjn  Banjarese
mfb  Bangka
btj  Bacan
bew  Betawi
bve  Berau
kxd  Brunei Malay
ccm  Chetty Malay
coa  Cocos Malay
liw  Col
goq  Gorap
hji  Haji
jax  Jambi Malay
vkk  Kaur
meo  Kedah Malay
mfa  Kelantan-Pattani Malay
kvr  Kerinci
mqg  Kota Bangun Kutai
mkn  Kupang Malay
mfp  Makassar Malay
xmm  Manado Malay
min  Minangkabau
mui  Musi
zmi  Negeri Sembilan
Malayophone countries, where Malay (including Malaysian and Indonesian) is spoken.
  As official language, in any of its formal standards
  As recognized minority or trade language
A speaker of the Malaysian variant in Langkawi
A speaker of the Indonesian variant in the Netherlands
A young man speaks Kedah Malay

The language is pluricentric, several varieties of it are standardized as the national language (bahasa kebangsaan or bahasa nasional) of several nation states with various official names: in Malaysia, it is designated as either Bahasa Malaysia ("Malaysian") or also Bahasa Melayu ("Malay language"); in Singapore and Brunei, it is called Bahasa Melayu ("Malay language"); in Indonesia, an autonomous normative variety called Bahasa Indonesia ("Indonesian language") is designated the bahasa persatuan/pemersatu ("unifying language" or lingua franca)[11] whereas the term "Malay" (bahasa Melayu) is domestically restricted to vernacular varieties of Malay indigenous to areas of Central to Southern Sumatra and West Kalimantan.[lower-alpha 2]

Malay, also called Court Malay, was the literary standard of the pre-colonial Malacca and Johor Sultanates and so the language is sometimes called Malacca, Johor or Riau Malay (or various combinations of those names) to distinguish it from the various other Malayic languages. According to Ethnologue 16, several of the Malayic varieties they currently list as separate languages, including the Orang Asli varieties of Peninsular Malay, are so closely related to standard Malay that they may prove to be dialects. There are also several Malay trade and creole languages based on a lingua franca derived from Classical Malay as well as Makassar Malay, which appears to be a mixed language.