While searching the internet for vintage language-learning materials, I came across an offer on eBay for a copy of a Linguaphone Malay self-instructional language course. My quick search of the HTLAL forum revealed a surprisingly high level of discussions of what is, for many people, a less-frequently studied language. The same cannot be said of the LLORG. Nevertheless, and most particularly because I wanted to share my discovery of an offer for the now out-of-print Linguaphone Malay course (which is distinct from this publisher’s Indonesian course), I decided to create a thread covering resources for this language. Rather surprisingly, there are quite a few materials!
Languages of Malaysia
The indigenous languages of Malaysia belong to the Mon-Khmer and Malayo-Polynesian families. The national, or official, language is Malay which is the mother tongue of the majority Malay ethnic group. The main ethnic groups within Malaysia comprise the Malays, Chinese and Indians, with many other ethnic groups represented in smaller numbers, each with its own languages. The largest native languages spoken in East Malaysia are the Iban, Dusunic, and the Kadazan languages. English is widely understood and spoken in service industries and is a compulsory subject in primary and secondary school. It is also the main language spoken in most private colleges and universities. English may take precedence over Malay in certain official contexts as provided for by the National Language Act, especially in the states of Sabah and Sarawak, where it may be the official working language.
Malaysia contains speakers of 137 living languages, 41 of which are found in Peninsular Malaysia. The government provides schooling at the primary level in each of the three major languages, Malay, Mandarin and Tamil. Within Malay and Tamil there are a number of dialectal differences. There are a number of Chinese languages native to the ethnic Chinese who originated from southern China, which include Yue, Min and Hakka Chinese.
The Malaysian language (Malay: bahasa Malaysia; Jawi: بهاس مليسيا) or Malaysian Malay (Malay: bahasa Melayu Malaysia) is the name regularly applied to the Malay language used in Malaysia (as opposed to the lect used in Indonesia, which is referred to as the Indonesian language). Constitutionally, however, the official language of Malaysia is Malay, but the government from time to time refers to it as Malaysian. Standard Malaysian is a normative register of the Johore-Riau dialect of Malay. It is spoken by much of the Malaysian population, although most learn a vernacular form of Malay or other native language first. Malay is a compulsory subject in primary and secondary schools.
Malay (/məˈleɪ/; Malay: Bahasa Melayu, بهاس ملايو) is an Austronesian language spoken in Brunei, Indonesia, Malaysia and Singapore, as well as parts of Thailand. A language of the Malays, it is spoken by 290 million people across the Strait of Malacca, including the coasts of the Malay Peninsula of Malaysia and the eastern coast of Sumatra in Indonesia and has been established as a native language of part of western coastal Sarawak and West Kalimantan in Borneo. It is also used as a trading language in the southern Philippines, including the southern parts of the Zamboanga Peninsula, the Sulu Archipelago and the southern predominantly Muslim-inhabited municipalities of Bataraza and Balabac in Palawan.
As the Bahasa Kebangsaan or Bahasa Nasional ("national language") of several states, Standard Malay has various official names. In Malaysia, it is designated as either Bahasa Malaysia ("Malaysian language") or Bahasa Melayu ("Malay language"). In Singapore and Brunei, it is called Bahasa Melayu ("Malay language") and in Indonesia, an autonomous normative variety called Bahasa Indonesia ("Indonesian language") is designated the Bahasa Persatuan/Pemersatu ("unifying language"/lingua franca). However, in areas of central to southern Sumatra where vernacular varieties of Malay are indigenous, Indonesians refer to it as Bahasa Melayu and consider it one of their regional languages.
Malay versus Indonesian
Malaysian and Indonesian are two standardized registers of the Malay language, used in Malaysia and Indonesia, respectively. Both varieties are generally mutually intelligible, yet there are noticeable differences in spelling, grammar, pronunciation and vocabulary, as well as the predominant source of loanwords. The differences can range from those mutually unintelligible with one another, to those having a closer familial resemblance. The regionalized and localized varieties of Malay can become a catalyst for intercultural conflict, especially in higher education. To non-native speakers the two varieties may seem identical, but to native speakers the differences are noticeable through both diction and accent. They affect the broadcasting industry with regard to foreign language subtitling, for example, in DVD movies and on cable TV. In order to reach a wider audience, both Indonesian and Malay subtitles are sometimes displayed in a movie, along with other language subtitles. Another example is Malaysian TV providing Malay subtitling on Indonesian sinetrons (TV dramas) aired in Malaysia, and vice versa
MALAY RESOURCES: GENERAL
Malay, not Indonesian
Items included in this list pertain specifically to the study of Malay, not Indonesian. While many people are of the opinion that the two languages are mutually intelligible and that the resources for the study of one can be used with good effect for the study of the other, in selecting the materials below, I have relied on the publishers’ titles. For example, the editors of the Linguaphone, Routledge, and Teach Yourself courses all chose to publish separate courses for these two languages. Readers seeking resources for Indonesian may wish to refer to the following, separate, list (which is in serious need of an update):
Indonesian Resources - LLORG - January 2016
In preparing the list of resources below, I consulted the following websites: U.S. Government ERIC, Defense Language Institute (DLIFLC), National Foreign Language Center (NFLC), Joint Base Lewis-McChord (JBLM) Language and Culture Center, Indiana University CeLT Recorded Sound Archives, Yojik and Live Lingua (DLI, FSI, Peace Corp materials), a small number of American universities renowned for their language programmes, the commercial booksellers Amazon, AbeBooks, and eBay, as well as general searches of the internet.
Excluded from this List
Excluded from the list of resources below are phrase books, language guides (whether printed or online), grammars, verb books, dictionaries, videos whether on YouTube or elsewhere, readers, as well as the editions of the Bible, or extracts thereof, in Malay.
Absent at Roll Call
The following usually-reliable and widely appreciated “go to sources” of materials had no listings. Please note however, that some of these sources published courses for the study of Indonesian.
Assimil le Malay – NONE (but there is an Indonesian course)
DLI Malay Basic Course – NONE (but there is an Indonesian course)
DLI Malay GLOSS reading & listening files – NONE (but there are Indonesian files)
ERIC Malay – 29 pages of listings, but nothing other than what appears in the “legacy” materials, below.
FSI Malay Basic Course – NONE
Peace Corps Malay Course – NONE (but some files have been recovered)
MALAY RESOURCES: LEGACY
Linguaphone Malay (1960’s ?)
Perhaps in the 1950’s, but most likely no later than the end of the 1960’s, Linguaphone published a course for the self-instruction of Malay; that is, one separate from their own Indonesian course. Materials included a Course Manual, a Handbook, and 4 audio cassettes (I have appended an image as a second post to this thread). Although now out-of-print, Linguaphone U.K. began offering copies of their courses from this period for sale, subject to request, which I would imagine would be PDF/MP3 versions. Who ya gonna call?
Manual of the Malay Language: With an introductory sketch of the Sanskrit element in Malay (19th century) by Sir William Edward Maxwell – Reprints and eBooks
These 200-odd page manuals, often reprinted from the 1907 editions of Sir Maxwell’s original work, would clearly show their age in today’s context. Nevertheless, a couple of Amazon Customer Reviewers expressed their appreciation for this book. What have you got to lose?
Pattani Malay (1966) by C. Richard Fassler – Peace Corps
Although I could not find a Peace Corps Malay course, I did come across a set of files, available via the website of Northern Illinois University, which are based on the 1966 work of C. Richard Fassler, a former Peace Corps employee. If you did around on the university’s website, you will also discover materials for the study of Indonesian.
Speak Malay! A course in simple Malay (1960) by Edward S. King - University of London Press
Although this 255-page book is now out-of-print, copies are still available on the internet. Were I interested in learning this language, I would probably pick up a used copy owing to the editor’s description which almost implies the use of the audio-lingual method (of course, even if audio recordings had been prepared to accompany this book, locating them today would be near impossible): “The lessons in this book are spread out over a period of 12 weeks, with each week containing 5 lessons + a revision lesson. The lessons are divided into 3 sections. The first has sentences to teach certain patterns. Sometimes these sentences form a dialogue in later lessons. The second section has the vocabulary from the previous section (usually limited to vocabulary mentioned in sentences). The third section contains grammar explanation. The grammar section often refers to the first section of the lesson for examples rather than give more examples. In some cases, the explanation is shortened and the reader is asked to reread the examples in the first section to get the hang of it. The revision lessons include exercises which are mostly translate to/from Malay, make sentences. The few times there is a reading exercise, it's followed by translate into English rather than comprehension questions. The book has key answers to the exercises, as well as Malay-English & English-Malay vocabulary lists. Words that show up in the grammar section have the grammar point number next to them.”
Intermediate Malay conversation: Bahasa Melayu perengkat pertengahan (1977) by Muhammad Yonn - Intellectual Publishing
I have found nothing more than an old listing for this 104-page booklet. Still, it is encouraging to note that someone took the time to compose an book destined for intermediate-level students. Libraries, perhaps? Hey, a little applause, I’m dyin’ up here!
Spoken Malay, Books 1 and 2 (1945) by Isadore Dyen – Linguistic Society of American, American Council of Learned Societies
During the Second World War, the United States Armed Forces Institute commissioned a series of introductory language courses, most of which employed the then-nascent audio-lingual method of instruction, for the in-class and/or self-instruction of a very broad range of languages. Level upon completion of these courses would probably be equivalent of CEFR A1. It should be noted that, despite their origins, these courses did NOT place any emphasis on the language for use in a military context. Often comprised of two course books measuring 8-inches x 5-1/2-inches, of 300-odd pages each, these courses were frequently accompanied by large sets of 78 rpm shellac (or vinyl) records having a total during of 6 hours or more. In the 1970’s, the now-defunct publisher, Spoken Language Services, Inc. (SLS), acquired the rights to these material and began publishing reprints of the course manuals accompanied by audio cassettes. Spoken Malay, authored by Isadore Dyen, was one such course. Although now out-of-print, copies of the course manuals can still be found on the internet; a PDF version is also available via the U.S. Government’s ERIC website. However, given the passage of time, locating the audio recordings now represents quite a challenge.
MALAY RESOURCES: CONTEMPORARY
Basic Malay Language Course - online
This free course introduces the basics of the Malay language in 64 well-conceived lessons. Please note that there is an online version as well as a downloadable smartphone version. A great place to start!
Cambridge IGCSETM Malay as a First Language (2019) by Bt Ishak, Azfa Ilyana, Bt Mohamad, Zuraimah, et al. - Collins
From the publisher’s description: “Collins Cambridge IGCSE Malay as a First Language is the only published resource to offer full and comprehensive coverage of the new Cambridge IGCSE Malay as a First Language syllabus (0696). With a Student’s Book and Teacher’s Guide available, the resources support both students and teachers in a clear and engaging way.
Aimed at first language Malay learners, the Student’s Book is designed to help students develop and apply their language skills.
• Written by experienced Malay first language teachers specifically for international students with careful consideration of learners’ needs
• Developed and reviewed by Malay first language specialists and experienced teachers
• Clear mapping to the syllabus and full syllabus coverage
• Integrated exam practice throughout with sample questions, mock exams, learning objectives and learning summaries to reinforce students’ understanding
• Easy-to-use structure with accessible and consistent signposting within each unit.
• Glossary of key terminology included in the back of the book
This title is endorsed by Cambridge Assessment International Education”
Cambridge IGCSE Malay as a Foreign Language (2017) by Norshah Aizat Shuaib and Zaharah Othman - Collins
From the publisher’s description: “Collins Cambridge IGCSE® Malay is the only published course to offer full and comprehensive coverage of the Cambridge IGCSE® Malay syllabus. Aimed at students learning Malay as a foreign language, the course consists of a Student Book, Workbook, and a digital component which includes a Teacher’s Guide and additional resources. The Student book has been carefully planned around topic-based units so that language and skills are taught in context. All topics, grammar and vocabulary are mapped to the syllabus, with clear learning objectives for each unit. Cultural insight boxes also feature throughout the book, offering an insight into the culture and civilisation of Malaysia, linking language to culture to further motivate the student in the study of the language. Each unit includes practice in all four skills – reading, writing, speaking and listening – with a variety of appropriately-graded exercises offering progression within and across units. Audio files are available as a free download for listening comprehension exercises and pronunciation practice. The Student Book includes a grammar reference and a vocabulary bank at the end of the book as a useful reference resource and to consolidate students’ learning. Collins is working with Cambridge International Examinations towards endorsement of this title.” Look no further!
DLI Headstart2 Malay
The United States Armed Forces Defense Language Institute website hosts a number of “familiarization” courses which are freely available to the public, the level upon completion of which would probably be somewhere around CEFR A1. While these courses definitely include vocabulary that would be encountered in a military context, they are also quite useful for preparing the student for everyday encounters in a civilian context. Readers might wish to note of the fact that the DLI Headstart2 courses exist for BOTH Indonesian and Malay. What the heck, do both of them!
Glossika Malay files
Chatter on the HTLAL indicates that Glossika once offered a set of files for the practicing of Malay (most likely at the CEFR B1+ level). I would imagine that they are no longer available from the publisher. Still, perhaps someone purchased a set and would be willing to part with them.
Malay for Everyone: Mastering Malay Through English (1997) -by Othman Sulaiman - Weatherhill
This fairly-recently published self-instructional course book (for which I could not find any audio recordings) has been well-received by the few Amazon Customers who chose to post a review:
NetAhoppinMom on Amazon in 2016 wrote: Good start, but lacking: I just received this book recently so I have not yet done any of the lessons. However I have thumbed through it several times. I agree with other reviewers that the book is easy to follow and there seems to be a decent amount of vocabulary given. What it is lacking is practical, example dialogues that would give learners a good idea of how the language is used in everyday conversation. I have a teach-yourself Urdu book that has lots of wonderful dialogues between fictional characters that introduces new vocabulary words and teaches you how people actually use the language in everyday situations. I was really hoping this book would have the same but it does not. Without it, there seems to be something lacking. Also I had to use the index in the back in order to find simple useful words like 'yes', 'no', and 'thank you.' I think it should have been covered in the first or second chapter. I also would have rather had the chapters laid out according basic situations with the appropriate vocabulary accompanying it, such as Introducing Yourself, Asking for Directions, etc
D. Squires on Amazon in 2006 wrote: Excellent book: This book is one of the best available in a concise format for English speakers to learn Malay, the language spoken in Malaysia and Indonesia (with some minor variation). I lived in Malaysia almost four years and formally studied Indonesian at the university level for over three years on a language fellowship. With that background, I can say that this is the most useful single text I have seen. The organization is very clear and logical, explanations are sharp and crisp, there are plenty of succinct examples, the exercises are practical and accessible, and the vocabulary covered is excellent for everyday life. The organization also allows you to pick and choose what you want to concentrate on, i.e. to devise your own organization to some extent.
https://www.amazon.com/Malay-Everyone-Mastering-Through-Pelanduk/dp/9679783227/ref=sr_1_30?crid=3JUFCDJ9L7LDN&keywords=malay+language&qid=1572185716&sprefix=malay+%2Caps%2C159&sr=8-30Suhayb on Amazon in xxxx wrote: Excellent resource: This is by far the best book on learning the Malaysian language I have come across for the English speaker. The book is divided into many small chapters, each with a single theme which is explained clearly and succinctly. It is a very easy book to read, even if you only want a general overview of the language. The author's explanation of the different types uses of personal pronouns alone makes this book a worthwhile purchase.
NFLC (National Foreign Language Center) Malay files
The NFLC website hosts files for the supplemental study and practice of an astonishingly broad range of languages which are often available from the Beginners through Advanced levels. Access is subject to a 5.00 $US monthly fee which can be cancelled at any time. The NFLC, too, lists separate materials for Indonesian and Malay. Most DEFINITELY worth the investment!
Pattani Malay (1966) by C. Richard Fassler – Peace Corps
I have listed this time twice because of its standing on the website of Northern Illinois University. To reiterate: although I could not find a Peace Corps Malay course, I did come across a set of files, available via the website of Northern Illinois University, which are based on the 1966 work of C. Richard Fassler, a former Peace Corps employee. If you did around on the university’s website, you will also discover materials for the study of Indonesian.
Routledge Colloquial Malay (2nd ed., 2015) by Zaharah Othman – Routledge (Taylor & Francis)
The previous edition of this title, by the same author, was not well-received by Amazon Customers. However, the latest edition seems to have almost met its mark. As a reminder, the audio recordings are now freely available for download from the publisher’s website.
https://www.amazon.com/s?k=colloquial+malay&crid=SHB428972M86&sprefix=colloquial+malay%2Caps%2C159&ref=nb_sb_ss_i_1_16Dr Konrad Schneckenhauer on Amazon in 2015 wrote: Could have been five stars, excellent but flawed: This could have been a five-star review but a high degree of sloppiness in the book's preparation has lost it a star. The sloppiness manifests itself mainly in the vocabulary lists for each lesson, which are incomplete; in the general vocabulary at the end of the book, which is only a small selection of the words presented in the fifteen lessons, when it should contain *all* of the words presented; and in the presence of vocabulary in the dialogues which is not explained anywhere in the book.
Another flaw is the complete failure, in Unit 15, to explain causative verbs of the form di...kan correctly. The author has lumped them together in one large group with all the passive verbs, which is confusing and wrong. It is much easier to grasp the di...kan verbs if it is explained that they have a causative meaning.
Apart from these quite important flaws, it's an excellent course, with good explanations of grammar, plenty of clear examples, and sensible topics for the dialogues.
The book also gets my award for the strangest dialogue presented in a language course - check out Unit 6 Dialogue 1, about a strange creature which one person wants to touch while her friend urgently and anxiously persuades her not to touch it.
The audio material accompanying this course on CD or mp3 (also available now as a download) is really excellent, with clear articulation of the language at sensible speeds.
I recommend this course wholeheartedly despite its faults - all of which can be overcome if you buy a decent Malay dictionary as an adjunct to your study.
Teach Yourself (Complete) Malay (1st ed., 2010) by Eva Nyimas, Christopher Byrnes – Teach Yourself Series
This 400-page introduction to the Malay language has suffered from poor Amazon Customer Reviews, not because of its contents, but because of glitches with the audio recordings or the eBook/Kindle editions. More balance reviews were posted as follows:
Bernard Gee on Amazon in 2014 wrote: Great for Beginners: Pretty good. Goes through the usual scenarios simply and effectively. Would have liked to have had the CD included to get maximum benefit. Boyfriend is Malaysian and he helps a lot. Book arrived quickly and before time allocated. Secure packaging
https://www.amazon.com/Complete-Malay-Bahasa-Malaysia-Yourself/dp/1444102001/ref=sr_1_fkmr0_1?keywords=teach+yourself+marley&qid=1572207633&sr=8-1-fkmr0Specky on Amazon in 2014 wrote: I love the structure of this course. Each chapter contains a few lessons, and each lesson is broken down into bite-size portions. As it says in the book, you can learn something useful in 1 minute, or 10 minutes. The audio accompaniment is different from other courses I've come across. It's very different from the usual "listen and repeat" with lots of pauses. Many of the lessons in the book have a conversation passage about a page long, with a vocabulary. The audio has the conversation without breaks and explanations. Personally I find it a very different and much faster way to learn. Many of the audio chapters end with an "Over to you" section where there ARE breaks, and also questions and variations on the conversation where you must respond in both English and in Malay which aids both comprehension and recall. The only criticism I would have of the book is that there is no summary of affixes (although they are explained throughout the text). This is the best language course I've come across.(out of 4 languages spread over about 8-10 different online courses and books). Top notch!
MALAY RESOURCES: WHY RE-INVENT THE WHEEL?
bluejay390 on the HTLAL in 2009 wrote: I am a huge Malay nerd so I have to share my Malay/Indonesian collection with everyone, haha. Thank you rggg for some of the Indonesian links.
Intro Course This is the best website to start at for learning Malay for free online.
Bahasa Malaysia Simple and Fun
Your Dream to Learn Indonesian Language Very nice blog with Indonesian lessons.
Kata-kata dasar A course designed by the Australian Government
Wikibook Indonesian Course
Webster's Dictionary Just do a search for Non-English.
English to Malay
English - Malay - Chinese Interchangeable between all three languages. You can type in a Chinese word and get the meaning in Malay and English.
Kamus Online Indonesian to English and English to Indonesian Dictionary
Kampung Chat There are usually a lot of people in there. And a lot of SMS/chatspeak.
Cari Forums This is the largest forum among Malaysian and Indonesian speakers. It is mostly in Malay/Indonesian with a little bit of English. There is also a Chinese forum if you change the language to Chinese. Great place for practicing Malay/Indonesian.
Forum for those Learning Malay
Books and Manga/Comics Online
Malay Scanlation Manga Blog
The Quran Online
Forum for Islam If you go over to Pendidikan -> E-Book you can download some books. They are related to Islam but if you go over to E-Book Novel they have the book Ayat-Ayat Cinta for download. It is worth checking out.
TV3 Great site! You don't even have to live in Malaysia to watch anything on this site.
Irienad on Youtube
Indonesian Movie - Ayat Ayat Cinta Love this movie!
Various Indonesian movies and a few in English/other languages
Lots of Indonesian Movies
Murai Celebrity News
Melayu Online Also has some has some short stories online... if you can find them.
Spell Checker for malay and Various Other Languages
Cit Cat You can translate large texts with this between English, Malay, and Chinese.
Should anyone respond to this thread by suggesting additional materials or by adding their own assessments of the materials listed above, I will attempt to insert them into the list above. However, as doing so might not be practicable, I would strongly encourage anyone referring to this file to read any additional comments, as they may contain information that you would not want to miss!