Manglish (or sometimes Malglish or Mangled English) is the colloquial version of the English language as spoken in Malaysia and it is a portmanteau of the word Malay and English (also possibly Mandarin and English).
The vocabulary of Manglish consists of words originating from English, Malay, Hokkien, Mandarin, Cantonese, Tamil, and to a lesser extent various other European languages, while Manglish syntax resembles southern varieties of Chinese. Also, elements of American and Australian slang have come through from imported television series.
The Malaysian Manglish is sometimes known as Rojak or Bahasa Rojak, but it differs from the Rojak language by the usage of English as the base language.
It is similar to Singlish.
Manglish shares substantial linguistic similarities with Singaporean English (Singlish) in Singapore, although distinctions can be made, particularly in vocabulary. Initially, "Singlish" and "Manglish" were essentially the same language, when Singapore and Malaysia were a single geographic entity: Malaya. In old Malaya, English was the language of the British administration whilst Malay was spoken as the lingua franca of the street. Thus, even the Chinese would revert to Malay when speaking to Chinese people who did not speak the same Chinese dialect.
Theoretically, English as spoken in Malaysia is based on British English and called Malaysian English. British spelling is generally followed. However, the influence of American English modes of expression and slang is strong, particularly among Malaysian youth.
Since 1968, Malay, or Bahasa Melayu, has been the country's sole official language. While English is widely used, many Malay words have become part of common usage in informal English or Manglish. An example is suffixing sentences with lah, as in, "Don't be so worried-lah", which is usually used to present a sentence as rather light-going and not so serious, the suffix has no specific meaning. However, Chinese dialects also make abundant use of the suffix lah and there is some disagreement as to which language it was originally borrowed from. There is also a strong influence from Mandarin, Cantonese, Hokkien, and Tamil, which are other major dialects and languages spoken in Malaysia. Manglish also uses some archaic British terms from the era of British colonisation (see "gostan" and "outstation" below).
|lah||Used to affirm a statement (similar to "of course"). Frequently used at the end of sentences and usually ends with an exclamation mark (!). It is derived from and has the same meaning as the Chinese expression "啦".||Don't be an idiot lah!|
|nah||Used when giving something to another person, often in a rude or impolite way.||Nah, take this!|
|meh||Used when asking questions, especially when a person is skeptical of something. Derived from the Chinese expression "咩".||Really meh? Cannot meh?|
|liao||Means "already" Derived from the Chinese expression "了".||No more stock liao.|
|ah||Derived from the Chinese expression "啊". Used at the end of sentences, unlike meh the question is rhetorical. Also used when asking a genuine question. Besides that, some people use it when referring to a subject before making a (usually negative) comment.|| Why is he like that ah? Is that true ah?|
My brother ah, always disturb me!
|lor||Used when explaining something. Derived from the Chinese expression "囉".||Like that lor!|
|d/dy/ady/edy/ridy||Derived from the word "already". Often used in online chatroom by the youth in Malaysia, although in speech, speakers will often pronounce as 'ridy'||I eat 'd' 'loh', I eat 'ridy'|
|le||Used to soften an order, thus making it less harsh. Derived from the Chinese expression "了".||Give me that le.|
|one/wan||Used as an emphasis at the end of a sentence. It is believed to derive from the Chinese way of suffixing "的" at sentences.||Why is he so naughty one (ah)?|
|what||Unlike British/American English, the word 'what' is often used as an exclamation mark, not just to ask a question.||What! How could you do that? I didn't take it, what.|
|got/have||Used as a literal translation from the Malay word 'ada'. The arrangement of words is often also literally translated. The use of this particular particle is widespread in Manglish, where 'got' is substituted for every tense of the verb 'to have'.||You got/have anything to do? (Kamu ada apa-apa untuk buat?) I got already/got/will get my car from the garage. Got or not? (Really?) Where got? (To deny something, as in Malay "Mana ada?", and also in Chinese "Nali you?" as spoken in Malaysia)|
Manglish can be divided into two: 1)Manglish 1=refers to the English of the English-medium educated where English is still a true second language; being used by its speakers in everyday conversation. 2)Manglish 2=refers to the English of the Malay-medium educated where English has a definite foreign/second language appearances. For some its speakers, it appears to be a foreign language, rarely used in oral communication and even less in writing and reading.
Manglish 1 can be standard ME -with the exception of a minority of Malaysian speakers who have been educated abroad and have achieved near-native speaker proficiency generally speaking.
Manglish 2 can be sub-standard ME /local dialect -it has all the features of the first variety of Manglish. besides, at the lexical level, limited lexis is used and consequently , a number of words serve a variety of functions, giving extended meanings not normally accepted in standard British English.
Speakers of Manglish from the country's different ethnic groups tend to intersperse varying amounts of expressions or interjections from their mother tongue - be it Malay, Chinese or Indian - which, in some cases, qualifies as a form of code-switching.
Verbs or adjectives from other languages often have English affixes, and conversely sentences may be constructed using English words in another language's syntax. People tend to translate phrases directly from their first languages into English, for instance, "on the light" instead of "turn on the light". Or sometimes, "open the light", translated directly from Chinese.
Due to exposure to other languages and dialects, particularly within the national school system, members of a particular ethnic group may be familiar with phrases or expressions originating from languages other than their mother tongue and may, in fact, apply them in their daily speech, regardless of the ethnicity of their audience. This is especially true in the case of interjections and vulgar slang.
Of late, Malaysians have been more creative and more Malay and Chinese words have been converging with English words. It's very simple, just find a Malay or Chinese verb, and add the word "-ing", "-fied", "-able" etc.
Note that 'lah' is often written after a comma for clarity, but there is never a pause before it. This is because in the original Malay, 'lah' is appended to the end of the word and is not a separate word by itself.
In Malay, 'lah' is used to change a verb into a command or to soften its tone, particularly when usage of the verb may seem impolite. For example, "to drink" is "minum", but "Here, drink!" is "minumlah". Similarly, 'lah' is frequently used with imperatives in Singlish, such as the command, "Drink, lah!" (Come on, drink!). 'Lah' also occurs frequently with "Yah" and "No" (hence "Yah lah" and "No lah"), resulting in a less brusque sound, thus facilitating the flow of conversation. This form is more used by Chinese in Malaysia.
Lah is often used with brusque, short, negative responses:
Lah is also used for reassurance:
Lah can also be used to emphasize items in a spoken list, appearing after each item in the list.
Although lah can appear nearly anywhere, it cannot appear with a yes-no question. Another particle should be used instead. For example:
Most of the Manglish grammar described here is of Chinese origin since Malays do not converse in English daily, while the Indians use a different form of Manglish. The Chinese influence in Manglish, however, can be seen among other races in Malaysia, especially when conversing with Chinese-speaking people. This principle can be generally applied to all forms of non-standard English spoken in Malaysia.
It might have Tamil origin. Lah is still used widely in Southern Tamilnadu (Thirunelveli, Kanyakumari district) in the same manner. Tamil is said to be more pure in this region than northern Tamilnadu and had ancient trade link with south east Asia
Lah nowadays is used to refer to the 5th Prime Minister of Malaysia, due to his informal nickname, Pak Lah.
Can is used extensively as both a question particle and an answer particle. The negative is cannot:
The word 'Manglish' is also used to describe the colloquial Malayalam that is often interlarded with English. It is a supposedly stylish accent often associated with TV personalities (mostly females). Although the origin of the accent is attributed to the pidgin Malayalam spoken by non resident Indians, many native speakers of Malayalam commonly emulate the accent due to the perceived style value and increasing exposure to the accent via TV shows.
Manglish (manga in English) is also the name of an interactive cartoon feature in the Mainichi Daily News, Japan's major English-language online newspaper. Manga, or Japanese comics, are displayed on the Web site in their original format, but English translations of the Japanese characters can be seen by mousing over the speech balloons. http://mdn.mainichi-msn.co.jp/entertainment/etc/manglish/index.html