BASIC VOCABULARY LIST (500 words)
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(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 44 Short forms: nak, tak, dah, etc.
Click to listen
A second reading (by Muhammad Nor Ismat, a native speaker)
Nak jumpa doktor PUN tak ada masa (I don't even have time to see a doctor.) Note that there is a pause after the word pun which has got to be stressed to bring out the full meaning of the sentence. The little word pun has the sense of "even to the extent of" in this sentence. (By the way pun has got quite a number of other uses and if you'd like to learn more about these I have put them together in one page, following an email inquiry from a student. Go here for Various uses of the Malay word pun.)
Suka tak? (Do you like it or not?) to which the answer can be Suka, Tak suka or Tak berapa suka (= Not too much).
tak ada means "don't have"
tak mahu means "don't want"
tak tahu means "don't know"
tak guna means "useless"
tak sempat means "don't have enough time"
buat tak tahu means "pretend not to know about something"
tak nak means "don't want" and comes from tidak hendak
Even if you yourself prefer to use the full form of the words (these being the words you learnt) the main purpose of this lesson is to make you aware of their contracted forms so you will understand them when you hear them spoken. As a matter of fact, the short forms are very frequently used in speech.
So do make use of them in conversations. An example is in the use of saja instead of sahaja in the following answers. The usual meaning of saja is "only" but note how it is used in the following expressions. Thus, to the question:
Apa nak minum? (What do you wish to drink?) the answer could be Apa saja (Anything at all)
Bila boleh kita makan bersama? (When can we eat together?) the answer could be Bila-bila saja (Anytime)
Di mana anda nak tidur? (Where do you wish to sleep?) the answer could be Mana-mana saja (Anywhere)
Note also the following conversational question forms:
Ada pen tak? (Do you have a pen or not?) to which the answer can be Ada or Tak ada.
Mau keluar tak? (Do you wish to go out or not?) to which the answer can be Mau or Tak mau.
Dah makan belum? (Have you eaten?) to which the answer can be Dah or Belum.
Boleh masuk tak? (Can I come in or not?) to which the answer can be Boleh or Tak boleh.