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5 Essential Malay Greetings You Need To Learn Today

Malay is the official language of Malaysia. English is widely used in official affairs, and socially, Malay is the only recognized language in a governmental capacity. It is also a national language in Singapore and spoken in Brunei and Indonesia. An estimated over 290 million people speak it across the world, natively or as a second language. With so many speakers, the language certainly presents itself as one worth learning. Especially – to get a grasp on the diverse and fascinating history that Malaysia has to offer. In this article we’ll be going over 5 essential Malay Greetings you can use on a daily basis.

Why Should I Learn Malay Greetings?

Malaysia is estimated to receive over 20 million visitors annually from all over the world. The beautiful scenery, tropical climate, delightful food, and friendly people have made it a top global tourist destination.

English is widely spoken in Malaysia, but learning a few phrases can unlock new avenues to explore. Having a Malaysian friend or acquaintance can tremendously enhance your experience of the country.

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5 Essential Malay Greetings

If you’re planning to travel to Malaysia – a few welcoming words are worth knowing. Being armed with a couple of phrases yields some benefits. We’ve compiled a few significant Malay greetings that are not only easy-to-learn but can easily impress.

Selamat pagi

Pronounced “S’lah-maht page-ee,” meaning “Good morning!”. Waking up and giving this bountiful greeting to your host or any Malay speaker around you can boost the morning’s mood. The word ‘Selamat’ itself literally translates as a word about safety. But in the greeting context can be used to wish someone well.

Selamat tengah hari

Pronounced “S’lah-maht teen-gah har-ee,” meaning “Good afternoon!”. During those afternoon shopping sessions or street food binges, greeting a vendor with a hearty good afternoon might work wonders with the locals.

Selamat petang

Pronounced “S’lah-maht puh-tong,” meaning “Good evening!”. When you’re ready for a night out on the town, this Malay greeting is very useful. You can use it to greet your dinner host or introduce yourself to Kuala Lumpur’s renowned nightlife.

Apa Kabar?

Pronounced “Apah ka-bar,” meaning “How are you?”. It’s one thing to know how to say hello, but using a greeting to start a conversation is another. Asking a local how they are will set the foundations to make some new Malay friends. It can also encourage you to pick up a few more phrases to continue the conversation.

Selamat berkenalan

Pronounced “S’lah-maht bur-cur-nalan,” meaning “Pleased to meet you!”. It is quite possible in your journey and introduction will happen with someone in Malaysia – perhaps more than one. Having a response at the ready can get your introduction off on the right foot, where the hospitable Malaysian people will be even more welcoming.

Go Out and Greet Malaysia!

Now you know some greetings, it’s time to go and flaunt your knowledge. You’re ready to use your new Malay skills. From the beaches of Kota Kinabalu to the markets of Kuala Lumpur – you’ll be a welcomed guest. These few simple Malay greetings will reward your experiences with even the friendliness and hospitable nature that Malaysians have been so widely acclaimed for.

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Learn Malay Greetings With L-Lingo

You can learn Malay today with L-Lingo. L-Lingo has a 7 Day Free Lesson Course for Malay language learners. This Malay course covers all of the basic greetings, numbers, colors and other fundamental categories.

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Thinking of stepping up your Malay language learning to the next level? Give the L-Lingo app a try. Subscribing to L-Lingo Premium will give you access to over 105 Lessons, 5000 Malay vocabulary words, and native speaker audio.

L-Lingo Blog: Learn Malay Greetings With L-Lingo

Posted by Kiandro


I'm Kiandro, the content creator here at L-Lingo. I'm an avid language learner and culture enthusiast. Feel free to leave any comments or thoughts you have on my blog posts.

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