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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Saya hendak minum kopi.
Anda hendak minum apa?
Saya hendak minum teh.
Dia minum susu tiap-tiap pagi.
Kawan saya minum air sahaja.
I want to drink coffee.
What do you want to drink?
I want to drink tea.
He drinks milk every morning.
My friend only drinks water.
hendak = to wish
(also, to want)
minum = to drink
kopi = coffee
teh = tea
susu = milk
tiap-tiap pagi = every morning
kawan = friend
air = water
sahaja = only
Please refer to Lesson 14 on the use of hendak.
"Beer" and "whisky" keep their English pronunciation though their spelling is changed in Malay to bir and wiski in conformity with Malay spelling rules. Thus:
Dia suka minum bir tetapi saya suka minum wiski. = He likes to drink beer but I like to drink whisky.
Another "foreign" drink that keeps its English pronunciation is "wine" though it is spelt the Malay way eg. Saya hendak minum wain.
And after drinking so much whisky and wine don't be surprised if you become mabuk. Yes, you guessed it! Dia mabuk means "He is drunk".
When asking a guest what he wants to drink, it is perhaps better to use hendak (wish) than suka (like).
However, instead of asking Anda hendak minum apa? you can also ask Anda mahu minum apa? (What do you want to drink?) in which case the answer would be Saya mahu minum kopi.
Note that mahu is normally pronounced mau in its spoken form.
As you've just learnt, the Malay word for milk is susu so coffee with milk is kopi susu and tea with milk teh susu. Similar to teh susu (except that it is covered with a thick layer of froth) is teh tarik. It means "pulled" milk tea. You'll have to see the teaman in action tossing the tea from one receptacle to your teacup to understand what this really means. Go below or click here for photos of the teh tarik seller. Those who are new to Malaysia will soon find out that teh tarik is a real social leveller in Malaysia and considered as its national drink. Whether you are King or just a common labourer everyone has a right to his glass of teh tarik. In fact when the price of fuel was increased in Malaysia even non-motorists protested as they felt that this would have an impact on the price of a glass of teh tarik! And there was talk about asking the first Malaysian astronaut to make teh tarik in space when he accompanied the Russian space launcher on October 6, 2007. This proposal didn't materialize finally as the food and diet were in the hands of nutritionists.
Coffee without milk (but normally with sugar already in it) is called kopi O (pronounced "or") or kopi kosong (kosong by the way means "empty"). Same for tea - ask for teh O or teh kosong if you don't want milk. If you want your coffee or tea with ice cubes just add the word ais (as in "ice" - its English origin) or beng (Chinese origin). This is a good example of the versatility of the Malay language adopting words from other languages like all active and dynamic languages do.
Malaysians normally take their coffee and tea sweet so if you don't take sugar you have to add tanpa gula (without sugar) or tak mau gula (don't want sugar)
But what if it is not sweet enough? Just say Tak cukup manis. Tolong tambah sedikit gula lagi. (It's not sweet enough. Please add a bit more sugar.)
In Indonesia coffee without sugar is called kopi pahit and tea without sugar is called teh pahit. Quite logical as the word pahit means "bitter".
Oh, I nearly forgot. How do you say "I feel thirsty" in Malay? It's Saya berasa dahaga.
There is another word for thirsty. It's haus. So you can also say Saya berasa haus.
Incidentally "coffee shop" in Bahasa Malaysia is kedai kopi.
It is equivalent to the English pub or the French café and you go there not just for a cup of coffee but also to have your meals (nasi lemak, roti canai, char koay teow, etc) or to sembang (chat) with your friends (which can be very loud at times, everyone feeling as much at home in a coffee-shop as in his own house!).
By the way please note that the first syllable in sembang is pronounced as in the English word "same" and not as the first syllable of sembilan which, as you have already learnt in Lesson 5, means "nine".
In fact the kedai kopi is such an institution in Malaysia and the Chinese word for it kopitiam ("tiam" meaning shop in Chinese) so widely used that the word has recently found its way into the Dewan Bahasa dan Pustaka's authoritative Malay dictionary Kamus Dewan (edisi keempat) which appeared in 2005 (the previous edition came out in 1994 and did not include the word) with this entry:
kopitiam = kedai kopi
Another place where Malaysians like to hang out is the "mamak" stall ("mamak" being the word locals use for an Indian converted to Islam), though if you use the word to refer to an Indian Muslim it could stir up some hot Indian blood! And knowing how spicy Indian curries are I would advise you not to use it! Read more about the "mamak stall" in this Wikipedia article.
From kedai kopi meaning "coffee shop" (in Malay the adjective comes after the noun, remember?) you would have guessed that the Malay word for "shop" is kedai. Thus Saya akan pergi ke kedai kasut esok means "I shall be going to the shoe shop tomorrow".
Cultural note: At social functions drinks are normally offered and received with both hands.
The first photo shows an apprentice teh tarik seller and the second someone who has been selling teh tarik all his life.