Malay is the national and official language of Malaysia. Read more about Malaysian languages.


National Language: Malay (Bahasa Malaysia)
Official Language: Malay, English
Spoken Languages: Malay, Chinese, Tamil, Javanese, English

Undoubtedly, Malay (Bahasa Malaysia) enjoys the status of being the national and official language of Malaysia. There are many other languages that are spoken and understood by most of the Malaysians. Since the country had been under the colonial rule, the influence of English language still counts to an extent. Malaysia's multi-cultural aspect also comes alive in the other dialects that are spoken here.

Languages used in minority comprise Thai, Chinese dialects (Cantonese, Mandarin, Hokkien, Hakka, Hainan, Foochow) and Indian dialects (Tamil, Telugu, Malayalam, Punjabi). The international recognition of Mandarin, which is preferred in professional and business fields, is visible in Malaysia too. Regarding Indian languages, Tamil is most spoken language. Several indigenous languages, like Iban and Kadazan, are extensively used in East Malaysia.

English and Malay are taught extensively in schools, and are more or less compulsory. In cities, nearly all people are versed in English and speak it fluently. Amongst the middle and upper classes, English is the most-preferred language and it is also widely used in professional and commercial areas. Among Malaysians, their own colloquial form of English called Manglish, is more popular and is widely spoken in urban areas.

However, Malay is still more popular in the countryside and smaller towns. Malay also dominates the entire national anthem of the country. The Government of Malaysia has attempted number of times to endorse Malay as the first official language, but has not succeeded yet.

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