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MALAYSIA and SINGAPORE

DICTIONARY LINKS

English Malay Dictionary

The Malay Language

The Malay Language is spoken widely in Malaysia, and by some in Singapore. The Malay language in written in Roman characters and pronunciation of consonants are similar to the English Language. Vowels are pronounced according to the word with some generalization as listed below (there are some exemptions).   

Learning Malay - Learn the Malay language here:

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Glossary of Malaysia - Singapore Terminologies

Kampong/ kampung - Small villages that are located on the outskirts of town.  Malaysian often use the word ‘kampong’ to their hometown e.g when they say ‘balik kampung’ it means ‘going home’.

Nyonya (or Nonya) refers to the women who are descendents of the early Chinese settlers in Malaysia. Many Chinese men married the locals or adopted the some Malay cultural practices resulting in a unique culture which is a mix of Malay and Chinese. These people are referred to as the Peranakans (see below) or Baba and Nyonya. Baba refers to the male descendents.

Kongsi houses/ clan houses - Chinese clan house built by Chinese migrants to the Malaya during the 19th or 20th century.

The word ‘Kongsi’ comes from the Hokkien dialect which indicates firm partnership or society.   (In Hokkien the word kongsi literally means share)   A ‘kongsi’ is an association of individuals set up by Chinese immigrants from the same dialect group or those from the same area in China.   Kongsi institution was set up not only in the Malay Peninsular but also in many parts of South East Asia.   The kongsi system was established to hold people of the same home country and clans in a closer tie and relationship. 

Pre-war houses/ buildings / shophouses - buildings built before the second world war. Refers to mainly buildings built in the 19th century and early 20th century. Many of these houses in the heart of the city are use for commercial purposes (called shophouses). Some serve as both residence above stairs and shop below.

Peranakan (or Baba and Nonya)- They are decedents of Chinese who emigrated, mainly from the Hokkien Province, in China during the 18th and 19th century settling in the region called the Straits Settlements (Penang, Melaka and Singapore). Through the years of assimilating with the local population (some marrying with Malays), they developed a unique culture (language, food, custom and dressing) that is a unique blend of Malay and Chinese.   These people were known in the region as Peranakans (meaning ‘local born’ in Malay), or Babas (men) and Nonyas (women), or Straits Chinese.

 

On the Road

Malay terminology for road signs and road names

Malay

English

awas / bahaya

Danger

beri jalan

give way

gostan

go astern/ reverse

had

limit

had laju

speed limit

henti

stop

ikut kiri

keep left

jalan

road

jalan mati

dead end

jalan sehala

one-way street

kurangkan laju / pelahan

go slow

lebuh

street

lebuh raya

highway

persiaran

lane

tol

toll

tutup / jalan tutup

closed / road is closed

bayaran

payment

‘Touch ‘N Go’

refers to a road cash card that can be purchased at the PLUS office or some of the toll counters along the North South Highway

jejantas

crossing

kenderaan

vehicle

kereta

car

lori

lorry

motobaik

motorcycle

tempat letak kereta

parking

MORE Malay-English words at

English Malay Dictionary

 

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