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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Updated on August 28, 2015
Lesson 4 Orang Inggeris (Englishman or woman)
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A second reading (by Michelle Nor Ismat, a native speaker)
1. As you have seen earlier the pronoun dia (third person singular) can refer to a woman as well as a man. Thus:
Dia orang Amerika. = He/She is American.
Dia orang Jerman. = He/She is German.
Dia orang Belanda. = He/She is Dutch.
Dia orang Rusia. = He/She is Russian.
Note that the pronunciation and spelling of Russia is changed to conform with Malay pronunciation (roo-si-ah) and spelling (only one S).
Dia orang Singapura. = He/She is Singaporean.
Dia orang Thai. = He/She is Thai.
Dia orang Mesir. = He/She is Egyptian.
Dia orang Israel. (pronounced in 3 syllables i.e. Is-ra-el) = He/She is Israelite.
A more common word for this is orang Yahudi (Jew).
A word to describe a person's race is bangsa eg. Dia bangsa Cina. = He (or She) is Chinese or Dia bangsa Melayu. = He (or She) is Malay.
2. Note how a question can easily be formed from a statement by adding the question tag kah at the end. Thus:
Anda orang Perancis. (= You are French.)
Anda orang Peranciskah? (= Are you French?)
Do note however that you do not really need to add the suffix kah to turn the statement into a question. As in most languages, a rising tone on the last syllable of the statement is sufficient to turn it into a question. Thus Anda orang Perancis? (= Are you French?)
3. Note also that in this type of sentences the verb "to be" is not needed in Malay and that kah is tagged on to the word preceding it and does not stand by itself.
4. The word for a foreigner is orang asing but you might often hear people talking about orang putih (literally: white person) or mat salih. They are referring to Caucasians (as opposed to Asians). Note that Caucasian is used here to mean one of the main ethnic divisions of the human race or what is loosely called the white race.
Incidentally, with the large number of Africans (mostly from Nigeria) living in Malaysia over the past decade or two, a new term has been created to refer to them. You will learn about it in the lesson on colours later.
5. You should find the word Inggeris very easy to remember as it is the Malay spelling for "English" (ok, I agree with you, it is not an exact phonetic reproduction as the final "sh" sound becomes "s"). This is because in the Malay language the "sh" sound must always be followed by a vowel eg. syarat or mesyuarat. More of this in Lesson 49.
6. Saudi Arabia in Malay is Arab Saudi.
7. Morocco in Malay is negara Maghribi.
After studying lessons 2 and 4 you would have noticed that names of languages always start with the word bahasa and nationalities with the word orang or rakyat (see note below). The same principle applies to the names of countries. These start with the word negara or negeri . The following table will help you understand better. And if you don't find your country here the chances are the name of the country is retained as it is and used with the appropriate word eg. if you are from Sweden you are orang Sweden or rakyat Sweden, your language is bahasa Sweden and your country is negara Sweden or negeri Sweden. The spelling though is sometimes changed to be in line with the Malay sound thus Canada becomes Kanada, America becomes Amerika and German becomes Jerman.
The word bangsa is also sometimes used to describe a person's nationality though it is best to keep it to describe his race eg. a Malaysian can be Malay (bangsa Melayu), Indian (bangsa India) or Chinese (bangsa Cina) but they are all rakyat Malaysia.
But perhaps it is easier (and clearer) if you just ask the person where he comes from. In Malay this would be Anda berasal dari mana? The full answer would be Saya berasal dari Perancis (if you are from France).
NOTE: If you want to stress that you are a citizen of your country just replace orang with rakyat.
Under the column Name of country you can easily replace negara with negeri. The two words are quite often interchangeable.
*The final syllable of the word Malaysia is pronounced variously as "siah", "seer" and sometimes "sheer". The first two pronunciations are the most common.
**In the case of China the name of the country retains its original spelling but the language and the people are spelt according to Malay spelling rules (i.e. Cina). Note that this rule is not always observed and the country is often spelt as Cina too.
***More usually referred to as Amerika Syarikat (United States of America).