05 Jan Why the Languages in Malaysia Are The Easiest Languages To Learn
Living in a new country entails learning its mother tongue. Even though it is a common notion that learning a new language could be challenging, there are much easier ones to master than others, especially if you are living in host countries (a good vantage point!). Govind, our guest blogger from Dubai who is an international student in Malaysia shares his experience in learning the languages in Malaysia without even trying!
By the end of September 2017, I will have completed my fourth year in the Island of Sarawak in Malaysia. My four years in the capital city of the state and travelling in and around Malaysia have made me realize why learning the spoken languages in Malaysia has been way too much fun for ‘serious’ language learners.
Here are the three major languages that I enjoyed learning (effortlessly!) in Malaysia:
Learning to speak Malay (or Bahasa Melayu/Malaysia) is way too easy. Malay has no conjugations, no plurals, no gender and no verb tenses. I picked up the basics of Malay in less than 6 months and I was able to communicate easily with the local public and vendors. The fact that neighboring nations of Singapore, Indonesia and Brunei speak a very similar language reduced the hassle of having to find alternative ways to communicate while travelling. Also, it gives you spare time to do more exploring.
Surely learning a language must require years and years of practice and in-depth study of grammar and syntax, but learning Malay is exceptionally easy since you are exposed to it every day with other 230 million speakers in the region.
In Malaysia, Chinese is second to Malay as a spoken language. The majority of Chinese speakers use Mandarin but there are speakers of other dialects such as Cantonese, Teo-chew, Hakka, Hainanese, Hok-chew and Hokkien. Considering one fifth of the planet speaks Chinese and nations around the globe, speaking Mandarin Chinese is a personal asset. Being the second largest economy in the world (not that far from becoming number 1), knowing Chinese is an advantage to businessmen and industrialists. Learning the language not only help you get around Malaysia, but improves your skill in communicating worldwide.
Another reason is having the power skills to bargain with vendors from China. Just the thrill of getting significant discounts when shopping, you’re going to want to learn more about the language for other practical life situations.
Tamil was introduced by traders and inmates who were dispersed in Malaysia during India’s British colonial rule. It is the third most popular language in Malaysia and the most popular among Indian languages spoken in Malaysia, plus countries like Sri Lanka, Singapore and southern parts of India. There are Tamil speakers concentrated in various parts of Australia, Americas and Europe, too.
Learning Tamil opens the gates to loads of rich culture, history and art. From songs produced by Oscar winning artists to ancient scriptures, folklore and literary languages, Tamil is an attractive language that can be easily learned by language enthusiasts and tourists in Malaysia.
Next time you plan a trip to Malaysia, I hope you too dive into one these truly remarkable languages that I had the chance to learn in my residency, without any pressure, just pure fun learning!