Languages of Malaysia

Languages of Malaysia

Most indigenous languages of Malaysia derive from the Malayo-Polynesian languages subgroup. Malaysia is a multicultural nation. The national, or official language, is Malay which is the mother tongue of the majority Malay ethnic group. The main ethnic groups within Malaysia comprise the Malays, Malaysian Chinese and Malaysian Indians, with many other ethnic groups represented in smaller numbers. The largest native languages spoken in East Malaysia are the Iban language and the Kadazan language. English is widely understood in service industries and is a compulsory subject in primary and secondary school. It is also the main language spoken in most private colleges and universities.

Reflecting this multicultural environment, the languages spoken can be grouped as follows

*Malay languages::Malay:Indonesian:Kelantanese:Kedahan:Sarawakian:Bajau:Bruneian

*Malaysian Chinese languages::Mandarin:Cantonese:Hokkienese:Hakka:Foochowese

*Malaysian Indian languages::Tamil - also by ethnic Tamils of Sri Lankan origin:Malayalam:Telugu:Punjabi:Gujarati:Urdu

*East Malaysian languages::Iban:Kadazan:Bajau:Kelabit:Bidayuh:Kayan

*Other languages and groups::English:Burmese:Thai:Sinhalese

ee also

* Demographics of Malaysia

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