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 42 Saya hendak beli... (I wish to buy...)
Click to listen
A second reading (by Muhammad Nor Ismat, a native speaker)
While hendak is used to indicate a desire or wish to do something there is another little word that is used when one has to or is obliged to do something. The word is kena. The following sentences will illustrate its use:
Saya kena pergi sendiri (I have to go myself) implying that no one else can do it on my behalf.
Dia kena buat sendiri (He has got to do it all by himself).
The word kena however is also used to indicate the passive voice eg.
Dia kena gigit anjing. (He was bitten by a dog.)
Dia kena pukul orang. (He was beaten up by some people.)
In the case where kena is used to denote the passive voice it is often replaced by di joined directly to the verb.
The above two sentences become:
Dia digigit anjing.
Dia dipukul orang.
As you can see from the above sentences di is always joined to the verb to form a single word as it is not a preposition.
Example of di used as a preposition: Dia ada DI kedai kasut. (he is IN the shoe shop.)
More of this in Lesson 48.
The prefix mem is often affixed to verbs beginning with the letter "b" so when you come across the word membeli you know it's the same as beli (more on prefixes and suffixes later).
membeli-belah means "shopping" as illustrated in the sentence Isterinya suka pergi membeli-belah (His wife likes to go shopping.)
A shopping complex or a shopping mall is: pusat membeli-belah.
And in case you don't know, mall-visiting for window-shopping or just to escape the hot air outside is a favorite pastime of Malaysians on weekends!
When going shopping, you might need to use the following sentences: Mahal! Boleh kurang sedikit? (It's expensive. Can you lower the price a bit?)
or Terlalu mahal! Saya tak cukup wang. (It's too expensive! I don't have enough money)
or you might hear the shopkeeper say Paling kurang seratus ringgit = The lowest (price) is 100 ringgit.
The word paling is often used to indicate the superlative (more of this in Lesson 58).
Note that tak cukup is the short form of tidak cukup and means "not sufficient".
By the way kurang is the opposite of lebih (= more) and lebih kurang is the Malay expression for "more or less".
Another interesting use of the word kurang is in the expression kurang ajar which is the ultimate insult that you can hurl at a Malaysian (you are unlikely to find swear words in Malay in this course so note this expression preciously if you think you might need to use it one day!) It simply means badly brought up, having no manners or being badly educated.
Di manakah anda beli tali pinggang ini? (Where did you buy this belt?)
- Di pasar malam. (In the night market.)
Other articles you might want to buy: payung (umbrella), kemeja (shirt) and seluar panjang (trousers).
Talking about kemeja I can't help singing the praise of the Malaysian batik shirt. Where else in the world can you have an audience with the King (if you are lucky enough to have one) or with the Prime Minister (always possible during the Hari Raya Open House although you might have to queue up for hours) wearing only this shirt (preferably with long sleeves) but with the shirt-tail hanging out and without wearing a tie! It is perfectly respectable, believe it or not! The long-sleeved batik shirt is meant to be worn without tucking in and without a tie. Even the King wears it this way.
Incidentally it is reported that Malaysia's future astronaut can wear batik clothes and eat roti canai but not durian.
Unfortunately I have just read that the batik attire is not allowed if you wish to visit the Parliament Building. The ruling stipulates that the dress code while in the Parliament Building is as follows: "Men – to wear the traditional Baju Melayu complete with songkok and sampin or long trousers, a long-sleeved shirt and a tie." A footnote says that "Jeans, batik shirt and T-shirt are not allowed". What a pity especially as it has been accepted everywhere else.
Next a word about kasut. Make sure you remove them before entering your Malay friends' house. Even if they should tell you it's alright you should remove them if you see that they themselves are barefooted, in socks or in sandals. By doing so you will be winning their respect and admiration. In fact when I was in Port Dickson I was at a cybercafe that required its customers to remove their shoes before entering. So be prepared to follow the local customs if you have to.
Incidentally, we also talk about so many "pairs" of shoes in Bahasa Melayu. Thus if you wish to say that you have three pairs of shoes you should say Saya ada tiga pasang kasut.
This leads on naturally to the word pakai meaning "to wear". The following sentences will illustrate how the word is used:
Dia selalu pakai kemeja putih dan tali leher ke pejabat. = He always wears a white shirt and tie to office.
Saya pakai kasut baru untuk perkahwinan abang saya. = I wear new shoes for my elder brother's wedding.
Dia sudah berkahwin tetapi dia tidak pakai cincin di jarinya. = He (or She) is already married but doesn't wear a ring on his/her finger.
Jangan pakai seluar yang buruk itu. = Don't wear that old (worn) pair of trousers.
Sometimes though pakai is used not in the sense of "wear" but in the sense of "use" eg.
Kereta saya sudah rosak. Saya pakai kereta isteri saya hari ini. = My car has broken down (is out of order). I'm using my wife's car today.
It can also be used in the sense of using a telephone. Thus Bolehkah saya pakai telefon anda? means "May I use your telephone?"