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.
Hear the Malay alphabet, with example words:
The Jawi alphabet (Tulisan Jawi) is a way to write Malay, and Indonesian, with a version of the Arabic alphabet. It is one of the official scripts in Brunei. It is used in religious and cultural administration in Malaysia. In the states of Kelantan, Terengganu and Pahang is has co-official status and business have to use Jawi on signs. Jawi is sometimes used by Muslims in Indonesia and Thailand.
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.
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)
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