BASIC VOCABULARY LIST (500 words)
English->Malay | French->Malay | Spanish->Malay | Malay->English/French/Spanish
(A mastery of this selected list of the most commonly-used Malay words should help you to carry out a very simple conversation in Malay.)
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Lesson 16 Kalau..... (If.....)
Click to listen
A second reading (by Michelle Nor Ismat, a native speaker)
The above are examples of conditional sentences using "If". Needless to say kalau is a very important word to know if (there you are, even I cannot help using it to explain this lesson) you want to tell your friend that you won't be going if it rains. And as in English, the word kalau can also come in the second part of the sentence instead of at the very beginning. Example:
Dia tidak akan datang kalau hujan. (He will not come if it rains).
Kalau hujan dia tak datang (in the blinking banner above) is the colloquial form of Kalau hujan dia tidak akan datang which would be too long to fit into the banner space.
Note in passing that tak is the abbreviated form of tidak and that akan can be left out as it is implied in the context (though it is better to have it in to avoid any possible misunderstanding).
Note that in sentences two and three in the above table anda (you) is not necessary as it is obvious that you are referring to the person whom you are addressing. But just as in English, you can't include the word "you" without changing the sentence a bit. So Sentence 2 becomes:
"If you are sick, you should go to see a doctor." and in Malay
Kalau sakit, anda harus pergi jumpa doktor.
Ok, let's not complicate matters further, shall we?
The suffix lah in Kalau tidak faham tanyalah saya is meant to soften the tone so that it does not appear as a harsh order.
By the way the Malay suffix "lah" has infiltrated so widely into "Manglish" (Malaysian English) that no true Malaysian, however well-educated he might be in English, can do without it when speaking to fellow Malaysians. The very use of it ignites a kind of Malaysian intimity from which the foreigner (non-Malaysian) is excluded, as explained in this delightful article on The Adorable Lah by Lee Su Kim.