Learn Survival Malay
Wikitravel phrasebooks are available in many languages and each one varies in depth and detail. Most of the phrasebooks include a pronunciation guide, a general phrase list, information about dates and numbers, a color list, transportation-related phrases, vocabulary for shopping and phrases for eating and drinking. Some are even more in depth, and all are free!
This Malay phrasebook is not a language tutorial, comprehensive grammar or dictionary. Its goal is to define just enough of the language so that an English-speaking traveller can "get by" in areas where Malay is spoken.
Malay is the sole official language of Malaysia and Brunei, and one of four in Singapore. It is closely related to Indonesian, but the main difference is the vocabulary: Indonesian has been heavily influenced by Dutch and Javanese (and also Sanskrit), while Malay has been heavily influenced by Arabic, English, Sanskrit, Tamil and Chinese.
Malay is a major language of the Austronesian family. Standardized varieties of Malay are the official language of Malaysia (Malaysian), Indonesia (Indonesian) and Brunei. Malay is one of four official languages of Singapore, and is a working language of East Timor, a consequence of over twenty years of Indonesian administration. It is spoken natively by 40 million people across the Malacca Strait, including the coasts of the Malay Peninsula of Malaysia and southern Thailand, Riau province, the eastern coast of Sumatra, and the Riau Islands in Indonesia, as has been established as a native language of Jakarta and of part of western coastal Sarawak and Kalimantan in Borneo. As a second language, Indonesian is spoken by an estimated 140 million.
In Malaysia, the standard language is called Bahasa Malaysia "Malaysian language". In Singapore, Brunei, southern Thailand, and the southern Philippines it is called Bahasa Melayu "Malay language", and in Indonesia it is generally called Bahasa Indonesia, "Indonesian language", though Bahasa Nasional "National Language" and Bahasa Persatuan/Pemersatu "Unifying Language" are also heard. However, in areas of Sumatra and Riau where the language is indigenous, Indonesians refer to it as Bahasa Melayu.