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Encyclopedia > Manglish
Spoken in: Malaysia
Total speakers:
Language family: English Creole
Language codes
ISO 639-1: none
ISO 639-2:
ISO 639-3:

Manglish (or sometimes Malglish or Mangled English) is the colloquial version of the English language as spoken in Malaysia and it is a portmanteau of the word Malay and English (also possibly Mandarin and English). The Malaysian Manglish is sometimes known as Rojak or Rojak Language (Bahasa Rojak), but it differs with the Rojak language by the usage of English as the base language. It is similar to Singlish. Image File history File links Merge-arrows. ... Malaysian English (MyE) or formally known as Malaysian Standard English (MySE) is a form of English used and spoken in Malaysia as a second language. ... Image File history File links Question_book-3. ... A language family is a group of languages related by descent from a common proto-language. ... An English-based creole language, or English creole for short, is a creole language that was significantly influenced by the English language. ... ISO 639-1 is the first part of the ISO 639 international-standard language-code family. ... ISO 639-2 is the second part of the ISO 639 standard, which lists codes for the representation of the names of languages. ... ISO 639-3 is an international standard for language codes. ... The Unicode Standard, Version 5. ... The English language is a West Germanic language that originates in England. ... An example of Malaysias Rojak language (Bahasa Rojak), taken randomly from a Malaysian forum. ... Singlish is an English-based creole language native to Singapore. ...



Manglish shares substantial linguistic similarities with Singaporean English (Singlish) in Singapore, although distinctions can be made, particularly in vocabulary. Some chinese in Malaysia speak singlish as singlish is less influenced by bahasa melayu. Singlish is the English-based creole spoken colloquially in Singapore. ...

Initially, "Singlish" and "Manglish" were essentially the same language, when Singapore and Malaysia were a single geographic entity: Malaya. In old Malaya, English was the language of the British administration whilst Malay was spoken as the lingua franca of the street. Thus, even the Chinese would revert to Malay when speaking to Chinese people who did not speak the same Chinese dialect. Map of Peninsular Malaysia Peninsular Malaysia (Malay: Semenanjung Malaysia) is the part of Malaysia which lies on the Malay Peninsula, and shares a land border with Thailand in the north. ...

Theoretically, English as spoken in Malaysia is based on British English and called Malaysian English. British spelling is generally followed. However, the influence of American English modes of expression and slang is strong, particularly among Malaysian youth. British English (BrE, BE, en-GB) is the broad term used to distinguish the forms of the English language used in the United Kingdom from forms used elsewhere in the Anglophone world. ... Malaysian English (MyE) or formally known as Malaysian Standard English (MySE) is a form of English used and spoken in Malaysia as a second language. ... For other uses, see American English (disambiguation). ...

Since 1968, Malay, or Bahasa Melayu, has been the country's sole official language. While English is widely used, many Malay words have become part of common usage in informal English or Manglish. An example is suffixing sentences with lah, as in, "Don't be so worried-lah", which is usually used to present a sentence as rather light-going and not so serious, the suffix has no specific meaning. However, Chinese dialects also make abundant use of the suffix lah and there is some disagreement as to which language it was originally borrowed from. There is also a strong influence from Mandarin, Cantonese, Hokkien, and Tamil, which are other major dialects and languages spoken in Malaysia. Manglish also uses some archaic British terms from the era of British colonisation (see "gostan" and "outstation" below). Year 1968 (MCMLXVIII) was a leap year starting on Monday (link will display full calendar) of the Gregorian calendar. ... Not to be confused with the Malayalam language, spoken in India. ... The Malay language, also known locally as Bahasa Melayu, is an Austronesian language spoken by the Malay people who are native to the Malay peninsula, southern Thailand, Singapore and parts of Sumatra. ... This article is on all of the Northern and Southwestern Chinese dialects. ... This article is about all of the Cantonese (Yue) dialects. ... Mǐn Nán (Chinese: 閩南語), also spelt as Minnan or Min-nan; native name Bân-lâm-gú; literally means Southern Min or Southern Fujian and refers to the local language/dialect of southern Fujian province, China. ... Tamil ( ; IPA ) is a Dravidian language spoken predominantly by Tamils in India and Sri Lanka, with smaller communities of speakers in many other countries. ...

Manglish Particles

Word Meaning Example
lah Used to affirm a statement (similar to "of course"). Frequently used at the end of sentences and usually ends with an exclamation mark (!). It is derived from and has the same meaning as the Chinese expression "啦". Don't be an idiot lah!
nah Used when giving something to another person, often in a rude or impolite way. Nah, take this!
meh Used when asking questions, especially when a person is skeptical of something. Derived from the Chinese expression "咩". Really meh?

Cannot meh?

liao Means "already" Derived from the Chinese expression "了". No more stock liao.
ah Derived from the Chinese expression "啊". Used at the end of sentences, unlike meh the question is rhetorical. Also used when asking a genuine question. Besides that, some people use it when referring to a subject before making a (usually negative) comment. Why is he like that ah?

Is that true ah?

My brother ah, always disturb me!

lor Used when explaining something. Derived from the Chinese expression "咯". Like that lor!
d/ady/edy/ridy Derived from the word "already". Often used in online chatroom by the youth in Malaysia, although in speech, speakers will often pronounce as 'ridy' I eat 'd' 'loh', I eat 'ridy'
le Used to soften an order, thus making it less harsh. Derived from the Chinese expression "了". Give me that le.
one/wan Used as an emphasis at the end of a sentence. It is believed to derive from the Chinese way of suffixing "的" at sentences. Why is he so naughty one (ah)?
what Unlike British/American English, the word 'what' is often used as an exclamation mark, not just to ask a question. What! How could you do that?

I didn't take it, what.

got/have Used as a literal translation from the Malay word 'ada'. The arrangement of words is often also literally translated. The use of this particular particle is widespread in Manglish, where 'got' is substituted for every tense of the verb 'to have'. You got/have anything to do? (Kamu ada apa-apa untuk buat?)

I got already/got/will get my car from the garage. Got or not? (Really?) Where got? (To deny something, as in Malay "Mana ada?", and also in Chinese "Nali you?" as spoken in Malaysia)

manglish can be divided into two: 1.manglish 1=refer to the english of the english-medium educated where english is still a true second language; being used by its speakers in everyday conversation 2.manglish 2=refer to the english of the malay-medium educated where english 'has a definite foreign/second language appearances. for some its speakers, it appears to be a foreign language, rarely used in oral communication and even less in writing and reading.

manglish 1 can be standard ME -with the exception of a minority of malaysian speakers who have been educated abroad and have achieved near-native speaker proficiency generally speaking.

manglish 2 can be sub-standard ME /local dielect -it has all the features of the first variety of manglish. besides, at the lexical level, limited lexis is used and consequently , a number of words serve a variety of functions, giving extended meanings not normally accepted in standard british english.


Speakers of Manglish from the country's different ethnic groups tend to intersperse varying amounts of expressions or interjections from their mother tongue - be it Malay, Chinese or Indian - which, in some cases, qualifies as a form of code-switching. Not to be confused with the Malayalam language, spoken in India. ... Code-switching is a term in linguistics referring to alternation between one or more languages, dialects, or language registers in the course of discourse between people who have more than one language in common. ...

Verbs or adjectives from other languages often have English affixes, and conversely sentences may be constructed using English words in another language's syntax. People tend to translate phrases directly from their first languages into English, for instance, "on the light" instead of "turn on the light". Or sometimes, "open the light", translated directly from Chinese. Look up affix in Wiktionary, the free dictionary. ...

Due to exposure to other languages and dialects, particularly within the national school system, members of a particular ethnic group may be familiar with phrases or expressions originating from languages other than their mother tongue and may, in fact, apply them in their daily speech, regardless of the ethnicity of their audience. This is especially true in the case of interjections and vulgar slang.

Of late, Malaysians have been more creative and more Malay and Chinese words have been converging with English words. It's very simple, just find a Malay or Chinese verb, and add the word "-ing", "-fied", "-able" etc.

Words and grammar

// These words are used either in writing or orally. ...


  • "barsket" - derived from 'bastard', general derogatory term. May also be derived from 'basket case'.
  • "bladibarsket" - derived from 'bloody bastard', profane derogatory term.
  • "kapster" - a nosy or talkative person; can also be used as an adjective, e.g., "I hate them because they are so kapster." Contraction of the Malay verb "cakap", to speak, plus -ster (probably from analogy with English words such as "trickster").
  • "maluation" - embarrassment, from Malay "malu" + English "-ation".
  • "outstation" - out of town (e.g., going outstation).
  • "terrer" - (pronounced as the English "terror") Refers to someone or something being awesomely amazing or good (e.g., "Bloody hell, that guy is terrer!").

Not to be confused with the Malayalam language, spoken in India. ...


  • "action/askyen/eksyen" - show-offy (due to confusion of the usage of the Malay word "berlagak", which can either mean "show off" or "to act")
  • "aiksy/lan si" - arrogant, overconfident. 'Aiksy' possibly derived from 'acting up'; 'lan si' is of Cantonese origin.
  • "blur" - confused, out-of-it. Roughly equivalent to "spacey" in American slang.
  • "slumber" - relaxed, laid-back; possibly a conflation of the Malay "selamba", meaning nonchalant, and the English "slumber".
  • "pai-seh" - ashamed, embarrassed/embarrassing. 'pai seh' is of Hokkien origin [Eg: I kena punish lah... very pai-seh eh!].
  • "chop" - stamp (of approval). (Due to confusion of the usage of the Malay word "cop". [Eg. I got the chop for my letter from the office lah.])

For other uses, see American English (disambiguation). ...


  • "business" - a euphemism for bodily functions conducted in the toilet. One can do big business or small business.
  • "cabut/cantas" - to run off, flee or to escape ('Cabut' is a Malay word meaning to pull or pulling out as a transitive verb, or to become detached as an intransitive verb.)
  • "gostan" - reverse a vehicle, apparently from the nautical term "go astern" (mostly used in Kelantan, Kedah and Penang). Sometimes also expressed as "gostan balik" (lit., reverse back).
  • "jadi" - happened, succeeded (derived from the Malay word 'jadi', and may sometimes mean 'so' as in, "Jadi?" = "So what?")
  • "jalan" - to walk (Malay)
  • "kantoi" - to get caught ("I kena kantoi..." means, "I got shafted/reprimanded/caught")
  • "kena" - to get caught/punished; often used like a noun ("I sure kena if I cheat") or (I need to 'kena' a joint o_0"). From the Malay passive verb "kena".
  • "kill" - to punish/scold/cause trouble to someone ("If you're not careful ah, this guy will kill you")
  • "makan" - to eat (Malay)
  • "minum" - to drink (Malay)
  • "on/off" - to turn something on or off, respectively (e.g. "Don't forget to off the fan.")
  • "pengsan" - to faint (Malay)
  • "pon" - to skip school/play truant (from Malay "ponteng", meaning the same)
  • "saman" - to issue a fine, usually in relation to a traffic offence, from "summons".
  • "sit" - since this is the word used for riding in a vehicle in Malay and in Chinese dialects, it is used in the same way in English, e.g. "sit bus"
  • "tahan" - to stand, to bear ("Cannot tahan her perfume! So strong!"). From Malay "tahan", to endure, to withstand.
  • "tumpang-ing" - riding in someone else's vehicle or lodging at someone else's house, from the Malay verb "tumpang" + "-ing"
  • "yam-cha" - socializing with friends in "mamak stall" Derived from the "Yum Cha" used in Cantonese.
  • (any Malay word) + "ing" - doing a certain action ("Tengah makan" or "I'm eating right now" is shortened to "Makan-ing' and "He's the one cheating me!" equates to 'He's d one dat tipu-ing me leh..' ")

A transitive verb is a verb that requires both a subject and one or more objects. ... “Intransitive” redirects here. ... A list of nautical terms; some remain current, many date from the 17th-19th century. ... A summons is a legal document issued by a court (a judicial summons) or by an administrative agency of government (an administrative summons) for various purposes. ... Not to be confused with the Malayalam language, spoken in India. ... Picture of traditional Malaysian Mamak and the Mamak Stall. ... Lung Mun, an old-styled Cantonese restaurant in Wan Chai, Hong Kong Yum cha (Cantonese:飲茶; Japanese: ヤムチャ, kanji:喫茶), literally translated as drinking tea, refers to the Cantonsese custom of eating tiny tastes of many different foods while sipping a well-brewed Chinese cuppa. ...


  • "Alamak": exclamation of surprise or shock. (E.g. "Alamak!" (Oh no!))
  • "Best/Syok/Syiok": indicates the object as superlatively good. "Syok/shiok" is from the Hokkien word for sexual arousal or pleasure. (Shiok is also a chain of novelty shops, although it could also be possible that the word stems from the English word "shock" in the context of seeing something shocking).
  • "Die/Finish/Gone/Habis/Mampus/Mampui/Sei/Pok kai/tiu-lor(死)" - generic exclamations to indicate "trouble", used like the English "damn it" or "to face the music". "sei" is usually pronounced as its Cantonese equivalent, "die". (E.g. Today he die because of that loan shark). (Today, he is in trouble because of the loan sharks The word "die" does not mean to die literally)
  • "Fooi sheh/Foo yoh/Foo lamak" - exclamation of amazement/wonder/marvel. (E.g. Foooooi sheh, his hair so jinjang!)
  • "Jinjang" - a term to explain one's appearance, being out of fashion or old-fashioned. Sometimes it is used to refer to people who act rudely or uncivilized in public. (Jinjang is also a sub-urban town in Kuala Lumpur,Malaysia). (E.g. The guys over there are so jinjang!).

Mǐn N n (Chinese: 閩南語), also spelt as Minnan or Min-nan; native name B ; literally means Southern Min or Southern Fujian and refers to the local language/dialect of southern Fujian province, China. ... A novelty is a small manufactured adornment, especially a personal adornment. ... This article is about all of the Cantonese (Yue) dialects. ... A loan shark is a person or body that offers illegal unsecured loans at high interest rates to individuals, often backed by blackmail or threats of violence. ... A loan shark is a person or body that offers illegal unsecured loans at high interest rates to individuals, often backed by blackmail or threats of violence. ... Jinjang is a main town in Kuala Lumpur. ...


  • "(Subject + predicate), is it?" - this is often used as a question. "It" doesn't refer to the subject, but rather to the entire preceding clause ("Is it so?") This is comparable to the French phrase “n’est-ce pas?” (literally “isn’t it?”)

Other usage

The word 'Manglish' is also used to describe the colloquial South Indian–accented English that is often interlarded with Malayalam.It is a supposedly stylish accent often associated with TV personalities (mostly females). Although the origin of the accent is attributed to the pidgin Malayalam spoken by non resident Indians, many native speakers of Malayalam commonly emulate the accent due to the perceived style value and increasing exposure to the accent via TV shows. The accent is commonly criticized for being extremely detracting, confusing and overall clownish. The geographical south of India includes all Indian territory below the 20th parallel. ... Malayalam ( ) is the language spoken predominantly in the state of Kerala, in southern India. ...

Manglish (manga in English) is also the name of an interactive cartoon feature in the Mainichi Daily News, Japan's major English-language online newspaper. Manga, or Japanese comics, are displayed on the Web site in their original format, but English translations of the Japanese characters can be seen by mousing over the speech balloons. http://mdn.mainichi-msn.co.jp/entertainment/etc/manglish/index.html This article is about the comics published in East Asian countries. ... The Mainichi Shimbun (毎日新聞, lit. ... This article is about the comics published in East Asian countries. ... Four different shapes of speech or thought balloons Speech balloons (also speech bubbles or word balloons) are a graphic convention used in comic books, strips, and cartoons to allow words (and much less often, pictures) to be understood as representing the speech or thoughts of a given character in the...

See also

Malaysian English (MyE) or formally known as Malaysian Standard English (MySE) is a form of English used and spoken in Malaysia as a second language. ... // These words are used either in writing or orally. ... This article does not cite any references or sources. ...

External links

  • Manglish: For and Against, Should Malaysians speak Manglish or proper English?



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