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Malay (Bahasa Melayu / بهاس ملايو)

Malay is a Malayic language spoken in Malaysia, Indonesia, Singapore, Brunei and Thailand. The total number of speakers of Standard Malay is about 18 million. There are also about 170 million people who speak Indonesian, which is a form of Malay.

The earliest known inscriptions in Malay were found in southern Sumatra and on the island of Bangka and date from 683-6 AD. They were written in an Indian script during the time of the kingdom of Srivijaya.

When Islam arrived in southeast Asia during the 14th century, the Arabic script was adapted to write the Malay language. In the 17th century, under influence from the Dutch and British, the Arabic script was replaced by the Latin alphabet.

Latin alphabet for Malay (Tulisan Rumi)

A a B b C c D d E e F f G g H h I i
e bi si di i ef ji hec ai
J j K k L l M m N n O o P p Q q R r
je ke el em en ou pi kiu ar
S s T t U u V v W w X x Y y Z z  
es ti yu vi dabel
eks wai zed  

A recording of the Malay alphabet by Ng Kiat Quan


Malay pronunciation

Malaysian pronunciation


Arabic alphabet for Malay (Jawi / جاوي)

Malay (Jawi) abjad


Arabic Numerals

Download an Malay pronunciation chart (Excel)

Sample text in Malay (Jawi alphabet)

Sample text in Malay (Jawi alphabet)

Sample text in Malay (Latin alphabet)

Semua manusia dilahirkan bebas dan samarata dari segi kemuliaan dan hak-hak. Mereka mempunyai pemikiran dan perasaan hati dan hendaklah bertindak di antara satu sama lain dengan semangat persaudaraan.

A recording of this text


All human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights. They are endowed with reason and conscience and should act towards one another in a spirit of brotherhood.
(Article 1 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights)

Information about Malay | Malay phrases | Malay numbers | Tower of Babel in Malay | Malay learning materials


Information about the Malay language

Malay lessons

Malay phrases

Malay dictionaries

Malayo-Polynesian languages

Other languages written with the: Arabic script | Latin alphabet