Malaysian English

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When Malaysia (then Malaya) became independent in 1957, the Malay language was made the national and official language. Malay began replacing English in public administration and the courts, as well as replacing English as the medium of instruction in national schools and public universities. Today, English remains a compulsory subject up to the fifth form (15-16 years old) in secondary schools. It is also still widely used in the private sector, business, private higher education, and the media. There is now an increasing number of international schools, private colleges, and universities where English is the medium of instruction. It is also common to find both Malaysian print newspapers (e.g. The StarThe New Straits Times, and The Malay Mail) and online news portals in English (e.g. Malaysiakini and Free Malaysia Today). Unlike some countries, television programmes and movies in English are not dubbed in Malay. 

Excerpt taken from OED blog post ‘Introduction to Malaysian English’ by Prof Stefanie Pillai

Malaysian English words recently recorded in the OED 

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Use the submissions form below to suggest a Malaysian English word for inclusion in the OED:

World Englishes

  • E.g. Philippine English, Hong Kong English, Ugandan English
  • e.g. bammy, skinship, bunny hug
  • e.g. an informal social gathering, a street vendor
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Malaysian English editors and consultants

The OED works in partnership with external experts from or in Malaysia to ensure that our entries for Malaysian English words draw from local knowledge and expertise and reflect the everyday reality and distinctive identity of the Malaysian English-speaking community.


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