A language of Malaysia

Alternate Names
Bahasa Malayu, Colloquial Malay, Informal Malay, Local Malay, Malayu

10,500,000 in Malaysia (2004 census). 10 million in Peninsular Malaysia, 506,000 in Sarawak, and 30,000 in Labuan. Population total all countries: 15,848,500.


Widespread in Peninsular Malaysia, parts of Sarawak. Also in Canada, Indonesia, Singapore, Sint Maarten, United Arab Emirates, United States.

Language Status

3 (Wider communication).


Akit, Belitung, coastal Jambi, Coastal Terengganu, Deli, Inland Terengganu, Jugra-Muar-Melaka-Johor, Kelantan, Lubu, Northwestern Kalimantan, Orang Hulu, Orang Kuala, Pahang, Riau islands, Riau Mainland, Sakai, Sarawak (Sarawak Malay), Southeast Island, Southwestern Coastal Kalimantan, Tamiang, Upstream Western Kalimantan. Kedah Malay [meo], Negeri Sembilan Malay [zmi], Jakun [jak], Orang Kanaq [orn], Orang Seletar [ors], Temuan [tmw], Sabah Malay [msi], and Brunei [kxd], are so closely related that they may one day be included as dialects of Malay [zlm]. Coastal Terengganu, inland Terengganu, Kelantan most aberrant but evidently mutually intelligible with Patani [ptn].

Language Use

3,000,000 L2 speakers. Also use Standard Malay [zsm], English [eng].

Latin script.
Other Comments

This entry refers to, local or vernacular, Malay varieties not well differentiated from each other, and other varieties for which further research is needed to clarify differentiation from mainstream dialects. Distinguished from court-Malay-derived Standard Indonesian [ind] or Standard Malay [zsm] by sociolinguistic status as vernaculars, and other linguistic features.

Also spoken in:

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