This is the smartphone version. The full version, which discusses the Indonesian language as well, can be found here. 

Lesson 6 of A Basic Malay Language Course by pgoh13

Lesson 6  Berapa (How many) 



Click to listen to the Malay sentences.

A second reading (by Michelle Nor Ismat, a native speaker)

How many people came? Berapa orang datang?
Six persons. Enam orang.
How many times (did he/she) call? Berapa kali telefon?
Four times. Empat kali.
How many kilos (do you) want? Berapa kilo hendak?
Three kilos. Tiga kilo.
Vocabulary
berapa = how many
orang = people, persons
datang = to come
kali = times, occasions
hendak = to want, wish

For those who want to know more


Don't confuse berapa ("how many") with beberapa which means "several". Thus Beberapa orang datang means "Several people came" and Dia telefon beberapa kali means "He called (phoned) several times".

The Plural in Malay

Plurality is indicated by duplicating the noun. Thus:

Kereta-kereta ini mahal. (These cars are expensive.)
But when it is obvious that there are more than one the noun is not duplicated. Thus:
Semua kereta ini sudah dijual. (All these cars have been sold.)

Similarly:
Orang-orang itu tunggu bas. (Those people are waiting for the bus.)
but:
Banyak orang sudah baca buku itu. (Many people have read that book.)
Note:* To be academically correct you should say ramai orang when it is about people (see below).

Two more examples:

Kawan-kawannya melawat ke rumahnya pada Hari Krismas. (His friends visited him on Christmas Day.)
Dia ada banyak kawan. (He has many friends.)

Rumah-rumah di kawasan itu semuanya sudah dijual. (The houses in that area have all been sold.)
Orang kaya itu mempunyai tiga buah rumah. (That rich man possesses three houses.)
I am afraid I have to bring in the word buah in the sentence above. It is one of the numerical coefficients (or classifiers, if you like) which are very common in the Malay language. This topic will be explained fully in Lesson 60.

*Note about the use of ramai for people.
Here's an interesting point brought up by one of the students.
Hey sirs,
I'm really grateful to you all for the efforts that you have put it for the site. It is quite interesting to learn Bahasa Melayu or Bahasa Melaysia the way you've explained.
Well, here is a question in the Basic Malay Language Course Lesson 6 Berapa (How many)
Banyak orang sudah baca buku itu. (Many people have read that book.)
I suggest the word Ramai instead of using the word Banyak to express many people, normally we use the word Banyak (many) for things or subjects not related to people e.g. banyak buku (many books), banyak kereta (many cars), banyak cerita (many stories) etc.
Things related to people e.g.
Ramai peserta (many participants)
Ramai penonton (many audience)
Ramai penyanyi (many singers)
Ramai pekerja (many workers) etc.
So in this case "Many people have read that book" should be Ramai orang sudah baca buku itu.
I hope the above examples may help the beginner.
Thank you for giving me this opportunity to raise this matter. Once again I really appreciate all you guys have done for the readers.


My reply is as follows:
Hi,
Thank you for your feedback and your kind appreciation of the Malay language course. You are perfectly right about the use of ramai for people and I think I have also mentioned it somewhere in the course. But in its colloquial form many ordinary Malaysians are still saying banyak orang and this does not raise an eyebrow. So don't be afraid to say banyak orang in the marketplace but be sure you write ramai orang if you should be taking a Malay exam! Thanks for bringing this up though for English-speaking students it makes their learning so much easier (and I am speaking from personal experience) if there is a word-for-word equivalent, since banyak means "many" in all instances.

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