There is a number of ‘popular’ languages that a vast majority of foreign language learners gravitate to when selecting a language to learn. However, other languages have their advantages, too, and are well worth learning.
In this article, we will take a look at some good reasons to learn Malay.
It is one of the world’s most widespread languages
Malay is spoken in Brunei, Indonesia, Malaysia and Singapore, the Philippines, as well as parts of Thailand. It is spoken by around 90 million people as their first language and there are around 250 million speakers of Malay as a second language, which brings the total number of speakers to around 340 million.
Learning Malay is practically a must if you want to travel or, especially, work or study in South-East Asia.
It is easy to learn
Malay grammar is fairly simple. It has no conjugations, no plurals, no gender and no verb tenses. It has a simple SVO (subject-verb-object) sentence structure. Prepositions in Malay are very straightforward. The pronunciation is fairly phonetic.
You can pick up the basics of Malay in less than 6 months and start communicating with the locals. They love to hear people speaking their native language and will be glad to help.
It is a beautiful language
Despite being rather simple in some respects, Malay is a beautiful language. If you listen to native Malay speakers talking to each other, you can hear a sort of rhythm or music to their speech. You too can make this music by learning Malay.
Two languages for the price of one
By learning Malay you are also learning to speak Indonesian (Bahasa Indonesia). The two languages are basically dialects of one language. There are noticeable differences in spelling, grammar, pronunciation and vocabulary. However, the difference between Malay and Indonesian is more similar to the difference between American and British English than anything else. Thus, by learning Malay, you are also, to a large degree, learning Indonesian.
It offers great travel opportunities
South-East Asia is a region of great natural beauty, rich history and culture. And while you will be able to get around and visit all the tourist landmarks without any knowledge of the local languages, learning Malay will add greatly to your experience.
You will be able to communicate with the locals, visit places that are less touristy, experience the culture first-hand, without ‘translation’.
It is good for your brain
Learning a foreign language works for your brain the same way exercising works for your body: it keeps your brain ‘fit’ and healthy, improves your cognitive abilities. It is true about learning any languages, but why not Malay with all the other advantages it offers!