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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Hari ini hari apa?
What day is it today?
hari = day
hari ini = today
esok = tomorrow
kelmarin = yesterday
lusa = the day after tomorrow
minggu = week
hari Minggu = Sunday
kerana = because
My wife always goes to market on Sundays. = Isteri saya selalu pergi ke pasar pada hari Ahad. or Isteri saya selalu ke pasar pada hari Ahad. Note: When the preposition of direction (ke = towards) is used the verb "to go" (pergi) can be omitted in Malay.
hari Ahad (Sunday) is also known as hari Minggu .
hari jadi = birthday. (This is used more often than hari lahir which literally means "day of birth" ). To wish someone a happy birthday in Bahasa Malaysia you'd say Selamat hari jadi! hari besar = festival day. (It literally means "big day" ).
hari gaji = pay day (gaji by itself means "salary". Bila hari gaji? (When is pay day?) is a question often heard in offices. Let's be frank, why is everyone there if not for this?
Hari Kebangsaan = National Day. It falls on 31st August and is also known as Hari Kemerdekaan (Independence Day) .
The Malay term for public holiday is cuti am or cuti umum. But if you hear hari cuti or hari kelepasan don't you worry. They all mean the same thing. (The opposite of this, by the way, is hari kerja i.e. a working day, kerja meaning work).
By the way you might also hear Dia cuti meaning He/She is on leave (note that the verb is omitted here). If you want to specify that he is not on holiday but on sick leave you would say Dia cuti sakit. The word sakit, as you will see in Lesson 16, means "sick".
Thus Dia tidak pergi ke pejabatnya hari ini kerana cuti sakit means "He did not go to his office today because he is on sick leave."
"Annual leave" is cuti tahunan (the word tahun means "year").
"School holidays" is cuti sekolah.
And lastly "to take leave" is ambil cuti.
Hari Natal is the "pure" Malay word for Christmas Day though the "English" version Hari Krismas seems to be more used.
tiap-tiap hari = every day
Just as in English the word "daily" means the same thing as "every day", in Malay too you can also say setiap hari instead of tiap-tiap hari. Note that there are three syllables in the word Jumaat (pronounced as joo-ma-art)
I am reproducing (with his permission) an email from Nuno, a Portuguese student of Bahasa Malaysia, whose questions could be asked by other learners as well, so I am putting my reply here for the benefit of all:
1. I was reading the Malay phrasebook from Lonely Planet and on page 190 they write:
- yesterday: semalam (in your Lesson 7 it is kelmarin)
- the day before yesterday: kelmarin
2. What is most popular, bertutur bahasa Melayu or cakap bahasa Melayu?
Thank you for your questions, Nuno. Here are the answers:
1. Actually both semalam and kelmarin can be used for "yesterday". However, as I am no expert, I will quote from the authoritative Kamus Dewan dictionary published by the Dewan Bahasa dan Pustaka, the authority on Bahasa Malaysia. It gives 3 possible meanings for the word kelmarin:
(i) sehari sebelum hari ini, semalam As an example it gives the sentence: Hari ini hari Khamis, semalam hari Rabu (Today is Thursday, yesterday was Wednesday.)
(ii) dua hari sebelum hari ini, sehari sebelum semalam As an example it gives the sentence: Hari ini hari Khamis, jadi kelmarin hari Selasa (Today is Thursday, so the day before yesterday was Tuesday.)
(iii) beberapa hari (minggu) yang lepas As an example it gives the sentence: Dia sedang dirawat di rumah sakit kerana dilanggar kereta kelmarin (He is being treated at the hospital because he was knocked down by a car a few days/weeks ago.) The dictionary further adds that in Kedah and Penang, kelmarin dulu means dua hari sebelum hari ini. So if you really need the Malay equivalent of "the day before yesterday" you can either say kelmarin dulu or dulu semalam.
It is all very confusing, I know, more so for a learner and to avoid all ambiguity, I would suggest that you simply use the name of the day itself instead. Thus if the day before yesterday was Monday you could just say hari Isnin yang lalu (last Monday) and there would not be the slightest doubt or ambiguity about it!
2. As to your second question you can say Saya boleh bertutur Bahasa Melayu or Saya boleh bercakap Bahasa Melayu for "I can speak the Malay language". They both mean exactly the same thing though for a beginner it would be a bit presumptuous to use bertutur instead of bercakap.