Bahasa Malaysia and Bahasa Indonesia
Some people might not know that Bahasa Malaysia is very similar to Bahasa Indonesia (the Indonesian language). To draw a parallel they are as similar as British English is to American English or the Spanish of Spain to that of South America. A Malaysian speaking Bahasa Malaysia in Indonesia would normally be understood just as an Indonesian would be in Malaysia. Some differences exist though, mainly in vocabulary. Thus an Indonesian would say bisa whereas a Malaysian would say boleh (both mean "can"). Some examples of differences between Malay and Indonesian words in common use are shown in the following table. Note that some of the Indonesian words are of Dutch origin.
ponsel, telepon genggam
Thus while a Malaysian would say Saya boleh cakap bahasa Inggeris (I can speak English) an Indonesian would say Saya bisa bicara bahasa Inggeris.
The differences in their pronunciation are also not that many (the big number of Indonesian workers in Malaysia helping).
It is also to be noted that while a Malaysian would address a man as Tuan an Indonesian would address him as Bapak or Pak. Similarly a woman would be addressed as Puan in Malaysia but Ibu (pronounced ee-boo) or Bu in Indonesia. A younger man can be addressed as Saudara and a younger woman as Saudari while a child can be addressed as Adik.
Another difference is that if someone were to say Terima kasih (=Thank you) to you in Malaysia, you would answer with Sama-sama whereas in Indonesia you would say Kembali.
Like the Malays in Malaysia, the Indonesians are very sensitive to politeness. So when you are trying to make your way through a group of people you should say Permisi. To help you to remember this, just think of "With your permission".
The BBC has no Malay edition but it has an Indonesian edition here:
BBC Indonesian edition.
The Northern Illinois University has lots of resources for anyone wishing to study the Indonesian language. Go here to see how similar the two languages are in their vocabulary as well as in their pronunciation.
There is a comprehensive list of the differences in Malay and Indonesian words here.
Click here to go to the Malay language course.