Colloquial Malaysian English


When I first decided to write on this blog, I had to challenge myself to write in English. I was not sure whether I could write using perfect English. However, to my mind, most Malaysian, like I am, can write and speak English. Many have inferiority complex.

Malaysians have been thought for so long to watch out for their grammar. As a result, we failed to communicate effectively in English because ‘we are too careful with grammar’.

I think this attitude has to be changed. We have to break the psychological barrier.

Malaysians use a lot of ‘colloquial Malaysian English’ when they communicate to each other. Interestingly, colloquial Malaysian English is not spoken uniformly throughout the country as it depends very much on their mother tongue i.e whether they are Chinese-, Tamil- or Malay-educated.

Let’s borrow an example on Colloquial Malaysian English from Adibah Amin’s work.

Housewife: Your fish so flabby, no good one.
Fishmonger: Like that already hard what. How hard one you want? You want stone, want wood. I can’t find.
Housewife: You half past six lawyer one. Give little bit cheap la, this fish.
Fishmonger: Oh, that’s why you said that kind, said my thing flabby, you want cheap-cheap.
Housewife: You don’t want to give, I look at other places.
Fishmonger: Look, look la, wait you come back look for me also.

Let me just stop here to have a good laugh. Ha..Ha.. Ha..

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