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.