Thursday, 15 September 2011

Malaysian English

In the past week or so, I have caught myself at the end of two completely ridiculous sentences (and I don't doubt there were more…):

"…although we are have a day of nothing…"


"…he had so much no money…"

Is English my second language?


So what's my excuse, what language was that?

I swear, even last year, I would have stopped mid-sentence, each time, and re-phrased the sentence. What has happened to me, that I don't bother anymore..?

Actually I know the answer. 


Malaysia is what has happened - sorry - but this nation is disabling my ability for proper speech!

Because when words like "alphabets" and "outstation", or literal translations such as, "can you off the lights",  are in regular circulation, of course my English gets messed up! They're not real words or sentences! :P

But I am proud to say that I now understand your "language". When anyone from the motherland graces me with their presence here, I am reminded just how much of a skill this truly is. I literally become a translator. From English to English. Case in point, when frequently mentioned English friend was here recently, the following conversation took place:

Malaysian Friend: "It's not random, it's just like…how I think."

…slight pause…

English Friend: "...What?"

Malaysian Friend: "What?"

English Friend: "A zombie relay?"

Malaysian Friend: "What??"

English Friend: "Did you just say, 'That's just like me, I'm running a zombie relay?' "

Malaysian Friend: "Whaaaat, no?!"

That actually happened. 

So I understand your "Malaysian English". I am slightly less proud to have started speaking it...


  1. "Miss" Claire (although it should be Miss GAUNT!), welcome to our very own "Manglish" - Malaysian English, or Mangled English... Did you realize how we Malaysian always end a question with "is it?"? Eg: You forgot to take that, is it?

    And we Malaysians ALWAYS use past tenses at the wrong place. Eg: "He didn't knew me..."

    I have had my share of bad English, and am still improving. Isn't it ironic, that you try to learn our brand of English while we try to speak like native English! OK, now we meet midway...

    BTW, have you picked up much Bahasa? (suddenly, this reminded me of how we abbreviate Bahasa Malaysia to BM, and an American client of mine had a big laugh thinking we meant Bowel Movement! LOL!)

  2. Mister Aarif, is it? Hahaha, yes that's another favourite of mine...we could make a list, 100 comments long and only scratch the surface...

    "fetch me to your place" haha

    I know, it's the halfway point...if I speak proper English all the time then people won't understand me - that really is the topic for another blog post!

    I pick up sikit-sikit desk is covered in post-its so I can learn though, go check it out, hehe. Today I belajar "bersahaja", "gerak" dan the proper usage of "yang"...