The Malay language is considered one of the easiest languages to learn and to practice especially for native English speakers. It is so easy, that one can pick up the basics and talk confidently with the locals in more or less than six months.
Although there are various dialects of Malay, the language’s structure is quite simple. Basically, this language has no grammatical gender. Plus, it is easy to pronounce Malay words and is not a tonal language.
The one thing you might want to be aware of is the different slang and dialects. In Malaysia, there are about 137 diverse languages and 30 distinct tribes that make up variations of the languages.
But there is nothing to be worried off. Local Malaysian will definitely understand if you talk in the standard Malay language.
Tutorial In Malay Via Social Media Platforms
You may find tutorials in Malay via social media platforms such as Youtube, Facebook and Tiktok to learn Malay. There are some channels and pages that are dedicated to teaching Malay to foreign viewers.
On Youtube, for example, there are channels like ‘I Wanna Learn Malay’ and ‘Online Tutor for Bahasa Melayu’ that focus on the Malay language for non-native speakers. They are basically teaching basic and conversational Malay for free through this platform. They are also a Facebook page that teaches the Malay language in Ipoh dialects.
However, there are also disadvantages to learn through these platforms.
Firstly, they only produce content that is recorded earlier and published later. It means there is a lack of two ways communication between the instructor and the viewers. Yes, they can answer the questions asked by the viewers in the comment section. But there is nothing that can beat live conversations.
Secondly, the platforms are not uploading or publishing content consistently. They probably upload on weekly basis for the first few years or months and they stop. It would be such a turn-off if you just started learning and wanting more.
Thirdly, the content creators upload teachings content based on whatever they want, not what the viewers need. Some content may be non-relevant to the learners. Nevertheless, the viewers have to follow and digest whatever contents are being produced.
Therefore, you might still want to look up a proper teacher who offers Malay courses in Malaysia to improve your proficiency.
Malay Language Courses For Non-Native Speakers In Shah Alam
Here is a list of learning centres that provide Malay courses for expatriates in Shah Alam. These courses are taught by teachers with good background in teaching and the language.
1. BM World
BM World designs its Malay language course through fun activities such as storytelling, drama and games. It offers an innovative and contemporary teaching approach.
The students will have to attend a placement test to check their level of entry. The language centre then will match the students’ proficiency according to the right syllabus to optimize their learning. BM World is located in Jalan Anggerik Vanila, Kota Kemuning.
2. Akademi Pengajian Bahasa
If you are a registered foreign student at Universiti Teknologi MARA, you are able to sign up for a Malay course at the Malay Studies Department (JPM). The Malay Studies Department is located inside the Akademi Pengajian Bahasa in UiTM Shah Alam.
The department is also responsible to help other foreign universities in designing the Malay Studies Programmes and teaching the Malay language as a foreign language.
3. Inter-Cultural Language School
Inter-Cultural Language School (ICLS) have been teaching foreign language for three decades now. One of the languages that ICLS offers is the Malay language for non-native speakers. The course is divided into four levels - beginner, elementary, intermediate and advance.
You can either choose to join in a group lesson or opt for a private lesson. Before signing up for the course, you will be required to sit for a placement test to see your proficiency level. The test will determine which level you will be placed into. You can also find ICLS offering Malay classes in Kuala Lumpur.
A Simple Tutor In Malay - Basics Conversations
As a start, you might want to know a few common phrases that you can use while living in Malaysia. Here is some basic conversation in the Malay language that you can start.
Terima kasih / Thank you.
You can say ‘terima kasih’ (te-ree-mah ka-seh) to your friends for helping you out with anything. Or use this when thanking your waiter for serving you at a restaurant.
Ya / Yes.
Say ‘ya’ (yah) if you agreed to something. For example, a local offers you to have some delicious Nasi Lemak, say ‘ya’ and dig in!
Tidak / No.
Say ‘tidak’ (tee-dak) if you disagree with something. Let’s say a local Malaysian offers you durian, would you like to try and eat it? If you don’t, just say ‘tidak’.
Hai, apa khabar? / Hi, how are you?
Use ‘Hai, apa khabar’ (hi ah-paa kaa-bar) to greet someone.
Berapa harga? / How much is this?
You can use ‘berapa harga’ (be-raa-paa har-gah) to ask the price of the thing you want to buy.
Boleh tolong saya? / Can you help me?
If you need help, simply use the phrase ‘Boleh tolong saya?’ (bow-leh toh-long saa-yah)
Saya tidak faham / I don’t understand.
If you don’t understand what local people say, say ‘saya tidak faham’ (saa-yah tee-dak faa-haam). They probably going to repeat what they say in English.
What do you think? Is Malay an easy language to start learning now?
Is It Hard To Find A Malay Teacher For Foreigner?
If this comes to your mind, the answer is no. Looking for a teacher to teach you Malay is quite easy.
You can choose to attend physical class at the Malay language centres listed above. Or there is another easier way for you to learn Malay.
Look for your Malay teacher on Superprof. Superprof is a reputable online tutoring platform that offers a wide variety of tutors and subjects to choose from including the Malay language.
If you search for Malay tutors in Shah Alam through the Superprof search engine, you will find 39 available teachers to teach you.
But, why limit yourself to tutors in Shah Alam? You can also find your tutors from other places like Seberang Perai for instance. You actually have the options to go for a face-to-face lesson or online learning sessions with your tutor.
Why Attending Malay Course Is Important For Foreigner?
The Malay language is used in multiple countries around Southeast Asia including Malaysia, Indonesia, Brunei and Singapore. In fact, all of these countries have adopted the Malay language as their national language.
So, how is learning the Malay language could benefit foreigners like you?
1. Talk With The Local
The best thing about learning Malay is you can talk like a local Malaysian. Living in a foreign country, it is good to know its local language. You can make new friends and get to know the culture much better.
Not everyone in Malaysia can understand and speak English. Hence, it is good if you learn and make use of the Malay language well.
2. Bargaining Skill
In Malaysia, there are a lot of wet markets, wholesale markets and all sorts of markets that you can go and buy things. You can also find small stalls on the side of the road when you go for a drive.
Purchasing groceries, street food, fruits or souvenir are much cheaper in these markets compared to buying them from the mall. Having proficiency in Malay and talk like a local, you can even bargain to get a cheaper price for the things you purchase.
3. Be A Celebrity
Mat Dan, Rhys William and Cassidy Anderson. If you Google these names, you will find that they are pretty much popular in Malaysia for being able to speak Malay properly. They are also considered celebrities here.
If you thinking about getting into the Malaysian entertainment business, you might want to start learning Malay now. With a bit of luck and hard work, you can get fame and some profit out of it.
4. Communicate With Malay Speaker From Neighbouring Countries
As mentioned above, Malay is also spoken in countries around Malaysia such as Singapore, Indonesia, Thailand and the Philippines. If you master the Malay language in Malaysia, you will be able to communicate with other people while visiting neighbouring countries.
Speaking Malay will help you to dive into the interesting culture of the Malay Archipelago. The locals are happy to share with you their culture, history and heritage. The main problem is only the language barrier. Learning Malay will break that barrier!
If you are a newcomer in Malaysia, do consider taking a Malay language course for foreigners whether you are in George Town or Johor Bahru. Although English is also widespread in Malaysia, knowing the Malay language allows you to connect with the locals and the culture more.
Not only you will be able to talk like a local, but you also can learn and understand more about the Malay culture, history and the diverse multiculturalism in Malaysia. After all, the Malay language is an amazing language that people should keep their eyes out for.
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