Contributor(s)University of New England
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AbstractMalay is an Austronesian language spoken, in different varieties, in Malaysia, Indonesia, and neighbouring countries. If one includes both first-language and second-language speakers, Malay is spoken by some 200 million people, making it one of the world's most widely spoken languages. The Malay language has long been a lingua franca in a region strategically situated at the crossroads of South Asia and East Asia. Linguistically, the main external influences have been from India and the Middle East, as evidenced by numerous fully indigenised loanwords from Sanskrit and Arabic. More recently English has had a significant influence. Culturally, the main external influence on the Malay world is the Islamic religion. The Malays have been Muslims for over four centuries. This study deals solely with the language as spoken in Malaysia, (i.e. with Bahasa Melayu). Stylistic variation in Malay is extensive, with at least three broad registers in daily use (Asmah 1987, Benjamin 1993, Koh 1990). Standard Malay, whose form is regulated by the national language planning institute (Dewan Bahasa dan Pustaka), is the only acceptable register in high-prestige printed materials and in official public discourse. Colloquial Malay designates the sort of oral language Malays use among themselves in informal everyday interaction. It can also be found in ephemeral printed materials such as entertainment and humour magazines and cheap novels, and in television am radio talk-back shows, comedies and dramas. Bazaar Malay ('bahasa pasa', "market speech") is a stigmatised pidgin Malay used primarily for marketplace transactions across ethnic lines. This study is intended to represent Colloquia Malay, as used at home with family or close friends.