Malay language

Malay is a major language of the Austronesian family. It is the official language of Malaysia (as Malaysian), Indonesia (as Indonesian), and Brunei (as Bahasa Melayu), and is the national language and one of four official languages of Singapore (as Bahasa Melayu). It is spoken natively by 40 million people across the Malacca Strait, including the coasts of the Malay Peninsula of Malaysia, the eastern coast of Sumatra, and the Riau Islands in Indonesia, and has been established as a native language of part of western coastal Sarawak and West Kalimantan in Borneo. In southern Thailand, the related language Pattani Malay is spoken.
As the Bahasa Kebangsaan or Bahasa Nasional (National Language) of several states, Standard Malay has various official names. In Singapore and Brunei it is called Bahasa Melayu (Malay language); in Malaysia, Bahasa Melayu (Malaysian language); and in Indonesia, Bahasa Indonesia (Indonesian language), and is designated the Bahasa Persatuan/Pemersatu ("unifying language/lingua franca"). Standard Malay, also called Court Malay, was the literary standard of the pre-colonial Malacca and Riau-Johor Sultunates, and so the language is sometimes called Malacca Malay or Riau-Johor Malay, to distinguish it from the various other Malayan languages. However, there are numerous Malay dialects beside Standard/Malacca Malay. According to Ethnologue 16, several of the Malayan varieties they currently list as separate languages, including the Orang Asli varieties of Peninsular Malay, are so closely related to standard Malay that they may prove to be dialects. There are also several Malay-based creole languages which are based on a lingua franca derived from Classical Malay, as well as Makassar Malay, which appears to be a mixed language.


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