Malay 101

While sending SMS messages on their mobile phones, or being logged into Internet chat rooms, Malay-speaking youths tend to abbreviate their words to save message space or simply be quick in sending their messages, e.g. x - tak, tidak (no; not); bkn - bukan (not); bleh - boleh (can, i.e. able to). They even alter the spellings of certain full words, e.g. ko - (eng)kau (you); ye - ya (yes). They even merge two words into a new one in place of a word of the same meaning in formal Malay, e.g. diorang (dia and orang).

There is a new set of slang spoken by the urban youth, which may not be familiar to the older generation, e.g. awek (girl); balak (guy); usha (survey); skodeng (peep); cun (pretty); poyo/slenge (horrible, low-quality) etc. The youth also tend to mix Malay with English words, forming Bahasa Rojak. Example of this pidgin is: Bestlah tempat ni (This place is cool);kau ni terror lah (How daring you are; you're fabulous). This issue has raised the displeasure of language purists in Malaysia, in their effort to uphold the proper use of the national language.

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