cover image

Malay language

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

Dear Wikiwand AI, let's keep it short by simply answering these key questions:

Can you list the top facts and stats about Malay language?

Summarize this article for a 10 years old


Malay (/məˈl/;[7] Malay: Bahasa Melayu, Jawi: بهاس ملايو, Rejang: ꤷꥁꤼ ꤸꥍꤾꤿꥈ) 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 the Philippines and Thailand. Altogether, it is spoken by 290 million people[8] (around 260 million people speak "Indonesian")[9] across Maritime Southeast Asia.

Quick facts: Malay, Pronunciation, Native to, Ethnici...
Bahasa Melayu
بهاس ملايو
ꤷꥁꤼ ꤸꥍꤾꤿꥈ
Pronunciation[ mə.la.ju]
Native toBrunei, Indonesia, Malaysia, Singapore, South 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
Thailand (as Pattani Malay)
Regulated by
Language codes
ISO 639-1ms
ISO 639-2may (B)
msa (T)
ISO 639-3msa – inclusive code
Individual codes:
zlm  Malay (individual language)
kxd  Brunei Malay
ind  Indonesian
zsm  Standard Malay
jax  Jambi Malay
meo  Kedah Malay
kvr  Kerinci
xmm  Manado Malay
min  Minangkabau
mui  Musi
zmi  Negeri Sembilan
max  North Moluccan Malay
mfa  Kelantan-Pattani Malay
coa  Cocos Malay
bjn  Banjarese
bew  Betawi
msi  Sabah Malay
mqg  Kota Bangun Kutai Malay
Glottologindo1326  partial match
areas where Malay-Indonesian is spoken:
  Singapore and Brunei, where Standard Malay is an official language
  East Timor, where Indonesian is a working language
  Southern Thailand and the Cocos Isl., where other varieties of Malay are spoken
A young man speaks Kedah Malay
An Indonesian speaker
A Malay speaker

As the bahasa kebangsaan or bahasa nasional ("national language") of several states, Standard Malay has various official names. In Malaysia, it is designated as either Bahasa Melayu Malaysia ("Malaysian Malay") 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). Usage of the term "Malay" (bahasa Melayu) is restricted in Indonesia to refer to vernacular varieties of Malay indigenous to areas of Central to Southern Sumatra and West Kalimantan.[lower-alpha 1]

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 Macassar Malay, which appears to be a mixed language.