Differences between Malaysian and Indonesian

Differences between Malaysian and Indonesian

The differences between Malaysian (Bahasa Malaysia) or Malay (Bahasa Melayu) and Indonesian (Bahasa Indonesia) are significantly greater than those between British English and American English. They are roughly mutually intelligible, but with differences in spelling, pronunciation and vocabulary.

To non-native speakers of the two languages, Malaysian (Malay) and Indonesian, may seem identical, but to native speakers, the differences are very noticeable through diction and accent. These differences often lead to incomprehension when used in formal conversation or written communication. These differences also affect broadcasting business in relation to foreign language subtitling, for example DVD movies or TV cable subscriptions. In order to reach out to a wider audience, sometimes both Indonesian and Malaysian subtitles are displayed in a movie side by side with other language subtitles.



Besides differing in linguistics matter, the Malay language in Malaysia and Indonesia also differs in recognition and general perception by the people and government of both countries. This matter is almost unknown to foreigners and nescience may result in misconceptions.

The term "Malay language" (Bahasa Melayu) in Indonesia and Malaysia invites different perceptions. To Malaysians, the Malay language is generally the national language of Malaysia. "Malaysian language" (Bahasa Malaysia) is the Malaysian standardized form of Malay, besides serving a function to make the Malay language sounds more national (more Malaysia). Therefore, there is virtually no clear distinction between the Malay (Bahasa Melayu) and Malaysian (Bahasa Malaysia).

In Indonesia, however, there is a clean cut between the "Malay language" (Bahasa Melayu) and the "Indonesian language" (Bahasa Indonesia). Indonesian language is the national language which serves as the unifying language in Indonesia. It is derived from Malay, but it is not necessarily the Malay language. The term "Malay language" is exclusively reserved for the language indigenous to and spoken by Malay people. Thus, Malay is "legally" a regional language in Indonesia, enjoying the same status with Javanese, Bataknese, Sundanese, Buginese, Balinese and many others. Moreover, to Indonesians, the term "Malay language" often sounds more associated to Malaysia and/or, in this case, the Malaysian language.

Misconceptions often emerges in foreigners. The term "Indonesian Malay" and "Malaysian Malay" is sometimes treated parallel. There is no issues regarding the term "Malaysian Malay", but the term "Indonesian Malay" frequently invites a fallacy. "Indonesian Malay" should never be understood as "the Indonesian variant of Malay". It actually means "the Malay spoken by Malay people in Indonesia" or "Malay as a regional language in Indonesia". It is quite rare though to use the term "Indonesian Malay". "Bahasa Indonesia" is almost always only referred to as "Indonesian" in English and other languages, whereas "Bahasa Malaysia" or "Malaysian" term is quite newer than the terms "Bahasa Melayu" or "Malay".


Before the 20th century, Malay was written in a modified form of the Arabic alphabet known as Jawi. After the 20th century, Malay written with Roman letters, known as Rumi, has almost completely replaced Jawi in everyday life. The romanisations originally used in Malaya (now part of Malaysia) and the Dutch East Indies (now Indonesia) reflected their positions as British and Dutch possessions respectively.

In Indonesia, the vowel in the English word 'moon' was formerly represented in Indonesian as oe, as in Dutch, and the official spelling of this sound was changed to u in 1947.

Similarly, until 1972, the initial consonant of the English 'chin' was represented in Malaysia as ch, whereas in Indonesia, it continued to follow Dutch and used tj. Hence the word for 'grandchild' used to be written as chuchu in Malaysia and tjoetjoe in Indonesia, until a unified spelling system was introduced in 1972 (known in Indonesia as Ejaan Yang Disempurnakan or the 'Perfected Spelling') which removed most differences between the two varieties: Malaysian ch and Indonesian tj became c: hence cucu.

Indonesia abandoned the spelling dj (for the consonant at the beginning of the word 'Jakarta') to conform to the j already in use in Malaysia, while the old Indonesian j for the semivowel at the beginning of the English 'young', was replaced with y as in Malaysia. Likewise, the velar fricative which occurs in many Arabic loanwords, which used to be written 'ch' in Indonesian, became kh in both languages.

However, oe was retained in some proper names, such as the name of the first President, Sukarno (written as Soekarno), and his successor Suharto, (written as Soeharto). The ch and dj letter combinations are still encountered in names such as Achmad and Djojo (pronounced as Akhmad and Joyo respectively), although the post-1972 spelling is now favoured.

Although the representations of speech sounds are now largely identical in the Indonesian and Malaysian varieties, a number of minor spelling differences remain, usually for historical reasons. For instance, the word for 'money' is written as wang in Malaysia, but uang in Indonesia, the word for 'try' is written as cuba in Malaysia, but coba in Indonesia, the word for 'because' is written as kerana in Malaysia, but karena in Indonesia, while the word for 'cake' is written as kuih in Malaysia, but kue in Indonesia.


Pronunciation also tends to be very different, with East Malaysia, Brunei and Indonesia speaking a dialect called Bahasa Baku,[citation needed] where the words are pronounced as spelt and enunciation tends to be clipped, staccato and faster than the Malay spoken in the Malay Peninsula, which is spoken at a more languorous pace. Many vowels are pronounced (and were formerly spelt) differently in Peninsular Malaysia: tujuh is pronounced (and was spelt) tujoh, pilih as pileh, etc., and many final a's tend to be pronounced as schwas.

Speakers of Malaysian Standard Malay in Peninsular Malaysia tend to speak at a more flowing pace, while words that end with the letter "a" often come out as a schwa (/ə/). Indonesian speakers speak in clipped staccato tones, their "r"s are more markedly trilled (rolled r), and all words are pronounced exactly as they are spelled.


Vocabulary differences

Indonesian differs from Malaysian (Malay) in having words of Javanese and Dutch origin, although Indonesian is based on Malay in Riau (islands) (Bahasa Melayu Riau). For example, the word for 'post office' in Malaysia is "pejabat pos" (in Indonesia this means 'post officer'), whereas in Indonesia it is "kantor pos", from the Dutch word for office, kantoor. There are also some Portuguese influences: in Indonesia, Christmas is known as "Natal", whereas Malaysia uses "Krismas", derived from English (or in some rare cases also "Natal", due to Indonesian influence). The loanwords pronunciation Malaysian version follows English, while Indonesian follows Dutch, for example Malaysian "televisyen" (from English: television) and Indonesian "televisi" (from Dutch: televisie), the "-syen" and "-si" also prevail in other words, such as "eksyen" and "aksi" for 'action'. There are also instances where the Malaysian version derives from English pronunciation while the Indonesian version takes its cue from Latin. The Latin preference of the (older) Indonesian intellectuals in these instances may be ascribed to the influence of their classical-oriented education when Gymnasium schools were established during the Dutch colonial period : compare Malaysian kualiti, kuantiti, majoriti, minoriti and universiti with Indonesian kualitas, kuantitas, mayoritas, minoritas and universitas.

Some words which are spelt the same in both languages may even carry entirely different meanings in the other language, potentially leading to humorous or embarrassing situations: while baja means "steel" in Indonesian, in Malay it means "manure". Also, whereas the Indonesian word butuh means "requirement" or "need", in Malaysia it is a vulgar slang term equivalent to "cunt/cock". Conversely, where the word "banci" seems innocuous enough in Malaysia ("census"), in Indonesia it is a derogatory term for "transvestite".

The relatively large share of Islamic (Arabic or Persian) loan words shared by Malay and Indonesian often poses no difficulty in comprehension and usage, although some forms may have developed a (slightly) different meaning or have become obsolete either in Malaysian or in Indonesian, e.g. khidmat, wakil (see below).

English Malaysian Indonesian
abroad luar negara luar negeri
account (bank, bills) akaun rekening (from Dutch)
accountant akauntan akuntan
advertisement iklan (also used in Indonesian) reklame (from Dutch)
after selepas lepas, setelah (also used in Malay to indicate consecutive actions)
afternoon tengah hari sore (can also refer to the evening); petang (less frequent)
agent ejen, agen (in science term) agen
airport lapangan terbang
(lit. field/expanse + to fly)
bandara (from bandar udara, lit. port+air), lapangan terbang
apartment pangsapuri, rumah pangsa, rumah kondo (only for 'condominium') apartemen, rumah susun
archive arkib arsip (from Dutch archief)
assets aset aktiva (from Dutch activa), aset
auction lelong lelang
August Ogos Agustus (from Dutch augustus)
auntie makcik (also used in bahasa Melayu Riau, Indonesia) tante (from Dutch), bibi
autobiography autobiografi (also used in Indonesian) otobiografi (derived from the Dutch pronunciation of autobiografie, with au pronounced as French [o])
automatic automatik (formerly otomatik) otomatis (derived from the Dutch pronunciation of automatisch)
autonomy autonomi otonomi
awkward kekok kikuk
balcony serambi, beranda,from Bengali, Portuguese or English verandah; (also used in Indonesia but less common) serambi, balkon from Portuguese balcão or Dutch balkon
bag beg Tas (from Dutch tas lit. bag)
basin besen wastafel (from Dutch), baskom (from Dutch waskom)
because kerana, sebab karena, sebab
bed katil ranjang, kasur, tempat tidur
Belgium Belgium Belgia (from Dutch België)
bicycle basikal sepeda (from French velocipede)
billion bilion miliar, milyar (from Dutch miljard)
bishop biskop, bisyop uskup
bonnet, hood (of car) bonet, bumbung, hud kap (from Dutch)
boot, trunk (of car) but koper, kopor (from Dutch koffer)
breast buah dada, payudara, tetek (slang) payudara, buah dada, susu (slang), tetek (vulgar slang), toket (popular slang now)
Britain Britain Inggris (from Japanese igirisu), Britania
bucket; pail baldi ember (from Dutch emmer)
bus bas bus, bis (Dutch pronunciation of bus, bis)
bus station stesen bas terminal bis
bus stop perhentian bas halte bus, halte bis (from Dutch bushalte)
Cairo Kaherah (from Arabic) Kairo
campaign kempen kampanye (similar to the pronunciation of the Dutch word campagne)
can (to be able) boleh (used in Indonesia in the sense of "may be allow"ed to), dapat bisa, dapat
cancer kanser, barah kanker (from Dutch)
car kereta
(means carriage in Indonesian, commonly used as a short hand for kereta api which means train. Malaysia followed english derivation of car which was a contraction of horseless carriage)
mobil, oto - from Dutch auto
card kad kartu (from Dutch kaart)
carrot lobak merah wortel (from Dutch)
case kes kasus, hal
cash wang tunai uang tunai, kas
cashier juruwang kasir (from Dutch kassier), pemegang kas
census banci (means "transsexual" or "effeminate male" in Indonesian) sensus
centipede lipan (also infrequently used in Indonesian) kelabang
chilli cili, lada, cabai (used in the northern states of Malaysia) cabai, cabe
China China (More widely used now), Negara Cina China (More widely used now), Republik Rakyat Cina/China, Tiongkok rarely used/old spelling (country)
Christmas Krismas, Natal Natal
cinema panggung wayang bergambar (or more popularly when contracted, pawagam), panggung wayang sinema, bioskop (from Dutch bioscoop)
civic sivik, bersifat kewarganegaraan bersifat kewarganegaraan
civil sivil sipil
city bandar (means "port" in Indonesian), bandaraya (city as opposed to a town), kota kota
club (association) kelab perkumpulan, majelis, klub, klab, yayasan (Arabic: used for charitable clubs)
coat kot jas (from Dutch jas)
cockroach lipas kecoak (from the Chinese Hokkien dialect ka chuah)
college kolej, maktab perguruan tinggi, kampus, kolese, perkuliahan
Commonwealth of Nations Negara-Negara Komanwel Negara-Negara Persemakmuran
company syarikat perusahaan, firma, maskapai (from Dutch maatschappij)
constitution of country perlembagaan undang-undang dasar, konstitusi (from Dutch constitutie)
counter kaunter loket (from Dutch loket), konter
country, nation negara negara, negeri (in Malay, negeri solely refers into a state within a country)
court mahkamah (in Indonesia mahkamah may refer to Mahkamah Agung (Supreme Court) or Mahkamah Konstitusi (Constitution Court)) pengadilan
cracker keropok krupuk
Croatia Croatia Kroasia
cupboard almari (from Portuguese armário) lemari (also from Portuguese)
current (topical) semasa (also used in Indonesian) aktual (from Dutch actueel)
current affairs peristiwa semasa (also used in Indonesian) aktualitas (from Dutch actualiteit)
curtain langsir, tirai tirai, korden (from Dutch gordijn), hordeng
customs (department) kastam bea cukai, pabean, duane (from Dutch douane but this word is never used in contemporary Indonesian)
cute comel imut
Cyprus Cyprus Siprus (similar to the Dutch pronunciation)
Czech Republic Republik Czech Ceko, Republik Ceko, Ceska, Republik Ceska
dandruff kelemumur ketombe
degree (temperature) darjah derajat
delicious, tasty lazat lezat
democratic demokratik demokratis (similar to the Dutch pronunciation of democratisch)
department jabatan departemen
difference perbezaan perbedaan
diocese kawasan uskup, keuskupan keuskupan
director pengarah direktur (from Dutch directeur), sutradara (Sanskrit-Javanese, film director)
directory buku panduan, direktori buku petunjuk
discount diskaun, potongan (harga), rebat korting (from Dutch), diskon (less frequently used), rabat, potongan (harga)
driver pemandu supir (from French, through Dutch: chauffeur), sopir (slang), pengemudi (formal)
driving licence lesen memandu ribewis (from Dutch rijbewijs) (slang), surat ijin mengemudi (SIM) now more widely used
December Disember Desember (pronounced: désember, as in Dutch)
duty (tariff) duti, cukai (also used in Indonesian) bea
Easter Easter Paskah (from Portuguese Pascoa)
editor penyunting rarely used in Indonesian editor, redaktur (from French-Dutch redacteur)
effectiveness keberkesanan efektivitas, (from Dutch effectiviteit) , kemanjuran
Eid ul-Fitr Hari Raya Aidilfitri Idul Fitri, Lebaran (from Javanese)
eight lapan (also the Indonesian slang word) delapan (used in Malaysia before the spelling reform)
electricity tenaga elektrik (literally "electric energy") listrik
emergency kecemasan darurat (from Arabic, also used in Malaysia to mean a state of emergency)
emperor maharaja kaisar (from Dutch keizer), maharaja (Sanskrit-Javanese, Majestic King)
empire empayar kekaisaran, kemaharajaan
engine enjin mesin (from Dutch machine, also used to refer to what translates into machine in English)
eraser getah pemadam karet penghapus
extinct pupus padam (of flames or lights), punah (of animate objects- i.e. species)
export eksport ekspor
factory kilang
(Indonesian word for mill or factory for processing or refining natural products, e.g. kilang minyak ('oil refinery')
(from Dutch fabriek)
faction (political) puak (tribe) fraksi (from Dutch fractie)
February Februari Februari, Pebruari (slang)
federal persekutuan federal
federation persekutuan federasi (from Dutch federatie)
fermented rice tapai tape, tapai (Sumatera variation)
financial kewangan keuangan, finansial
Finland Finland Finlandia
firefighter squad bomba (means pump in Indonesian) pemadam kebakaran (lit. means fire extinguisher), branwir/blanwir (informal, from Dutch brandweer)
floor (as in "the 2nd floor") tingkat (also used in Indonesian- though it means floor as in a store or office e.g. "Fourth floor" ) lantai (means "floor"- ground surface in Malay)
France Perancis Prancis, Perancis
football bola, bola sepak sepak bola
free of charge percuma (in Indonesia means "worthless") gratis (from Dutch 'free of charge')), cuma-cuma
furniture perabot rumah, perkakas rumah (also used in Indonesian) mebel (from Dutch meubel)
garrison garison garnisun (from Dutch garnizoen)
gangster samseng preman (from the Dutch vrijman or free man), gengster (from English)
general (military) jeneral jenderal
ginger halia jahe
golf club (stick) kayu golf pemukul golf, tongkat golf
government kerajaan (derived from raja or "king") - Indonesian word for "kingdom" pemerintahan (used in Singapore to refer to government. In Malaysia and Brunei understood but less frequently used)
governor gabenor, yang di-pertua negeri/negara (in Malaysian state) gubernur (from Dutch gouverneur)
graduate siswazah, sarjana lulusan, sarjana
grandfather datuk kakek, opa (from Dutch)
Greece Greece Yunani (from Arabic Yūnān يونان)
head office ibu pejabat (in Indonesia means "female officer" or "mother of an officer") kantor pusat (from Dutch)
headscarf tudung kerudung, jilbab
healthy sihat sehat
herb herba jamu (in Malay and another definition in Indonesian, means "to treat, to entertain guests")
hospital hospital rumah sakit (literally means "sick house", from Dutch ziekenhuis. The word is still used in Brunei to refer to hospital but in Malaysia, the term 'hospital' is more prevalent since the mid-sixties))
maternity hospital hospital bersalin rumah sakit bersalin
I saya, aku saya, aku, gue (slang, informal)
Hungary Hungary Hongaria (influenced by Dutch Hongarije)
ice ais es
ice cream ais krim es krim
Iceland Iceland Islandia
illegal drugs dadah narkoba -an acronym for NARKotika dan OBat-obatan terlArang (narcotics and illegal drugs), napza -an acronym for NArkotika, Psikotropika dan Zat-zat Adiktif (narcotics, psychotropics, and addictive chemical substances)
image citra (also used in Indonesian), imej, gambar citra (as in Borrman image or corporate image), gambar (pictorial image), foto (photographic image)
immigration imigresen imigrasi (from Dutch immigratie)
import import impor
impotence mati pucuk, impotensi, lemah syahwat impotensi (from Dutch impotentie), lemah syahwat
ink dakwat (from Arabic) tinta (from Dutch tinte)
installment (payment) ansuran angsuran, cicilan
insurance insurans asuransi (from Dutch assurantie)
international antarabangsa internasional, antarbangsa
internet cafe kafe internet, kafe cyber warnet (short for "warung internet", "warung" is from Dutch "waroeng")
Ireland Ireland Irlandia
Italy Itali Italia
Japan Jepun Jepang
Jordan Jordan Yordania (from Dutch Jordanië)
journalist wartawan wartawan, jurnalis
June Jun Juni (from Dutch juni)
July Julai Juli (from Dutch juli)
late; a title refers to a respected person who had passed away allahyarham (male); allahyarhamah (female) almarhum (male); almarhumah (female) (used in Malaysia for royalty), mendiang (both sexes, usually used for non-Muslim), anumerta (from Sanskrit; usually reserved for hero, high-ranked military officer and royalty)
lane (roads/highway) lorong jalur lalu lintas (traffic) -modified version of jalur (track), (lajur is understood but not frequently used in Malaysia while jalur is used in Malaysia to mean stripe or band. e.g. broadband = jalur-lebar)
lawyer peguam pengacara (used in Malay to mean 'master of ceremony'), advokat (from Dutch advocaat)
Lebanon Lubnan Lebanon
lemon lemon, limau jeruk limun ('jeruk' used in Malay to mean 'pickle')
liabilities liabiliti pasiva (from Latino-Dutch passiva), kewajiban
licence lesen izin, lisensi (from Dutch licentie)
lift, elevator lif lift
lime (fruit) limau jeruk limau (not to be confused with jeruk nipis- the tiny lime for sambal)
Lisbon Lisbon Lisabon (as in Dutch Lissabon), Lisboa (as in Portuguese), Lisbon
Lithuania Lithuania Lituania
local tempatan setempat, lokal
magistrate majistret hakim (from Arabic حكم, used in Malay to mean judge)
male lelaki, laki-laki, jantan (for animals, sometimes used as a derogatory term on men) pria, lelaki, laki-laki, cowok (colloquial), jantan (plants-animals only)
malfunction rosak, mati, tak berfungsi malfungsi, kegagalan pemakaian (failed inner workings), rusak, mati, tak berfungsi
March Mac Maret (from Dutch maart)
mattress tilam kasur, matras
mathematics matematik, ilmu hisab matematika
mean verb bererti berarti
medication ubat obat
minibus bas mini mikrolet, angkot (short for angkutan kota), minibis (Dutch pronunciation)
minute minit menit
Mrs (married woman) puan Ibu, nyonya (from Dutch), puan (less frequent now)
mobile phone, cellphone telefon bimbit, telefon tangan telepon selular (ponsel), telepon genggam, hand-phone (HP) (colloquial, pronounced Ha-pey)
Monday Isnin Senin
money wang, duit uang, dana (used in Malay to mean 'funding'. In Indonesian, the actual meaning of 'dana' is 'fund' but it may also refer to 'money'), duit (slang, from Dutch duit)
mortgage gadai janji hipotik (from Dutch hypotheek)
motorcycle motosikal motor, sepeda motor (literally "motor bicycle", as in Dutch motorfiets)
music muzik musik
naked bogel (means "short" in some local Indonesian dialect- it is a common Javanese word), telanjang telanjang, bugil (slang, from Javanese)
national kebangsaan (used in Indonesian to mean "nationality"), nasional nasional, kebangsaan(e.g.,'lagu kebangsaan' means 'national anthem')
natural semulajadi alami
newspaper surat khabar (coined from two Arabic words, ṣūrat - صورة / صورت 'form, appearance' and khabar خبر 'news') koran, surat kabar (more formal)
New Zealand New Zealand Selandia Baru
noisy bising, kecoh, memekak berisik, ramai, bising (also means "buzzing"), ribut
Norway Norway Norwegia (influenced by Dutch Noorwegen)
not tidak, tak (informal), endak (sabah language) tidak, tak (rarely used - usually for the same usage as non-), nggak (slang), gak (slang - chat word)
number nombor nomor, nomer (from Dutch nummer)
nurse jururawat perawat, suster (from Dutch)
office pejabat kantor (from Dutch kantoor)
officer kaki tangan (hands and leg in Indonesian) pejabat
official (adj.) rasmi resmi (from Arabo-Persian rasmi رسمي)
orange (fruit) oren, limau jeruk, limau
orange (colour) jingga, oren jingga, oranye (from Dutch oranje)
order order, perintah order (from Dutch), perintah
Palestine Palestin Palestina
papaya (buah) betik (buah) pepaya
parliament parlimen parlemen (from Franco-Dutch parlement)
party (political) parti partai (from Dutch partij)
passport pasport paspor
pavement, sidewalk jalan pinggir, jalur jalan untuk pejalan kaki, laluan jalan kaki, kaki lima trotoar (from Franco-Dutch trottoir)
penis zakar (from Arabic ذكر "male"- this word is extremely vulgar in Indonesian), batang lelaki, konek (slang) alat kelamin laki-laki, kemaluan lelaki, burung (vulgar), titit (children's slang like "pee-pee"), kontol (slang, vulgar)
percent peratus persen, per seratus
pharmacy farmasi apotek (from Dutch apotheek), farmasi (usually for medicine manufacturers)
photograph gambar, foto foto, potret (from Dutch, means "portrait" in English)
pickpocketnoun penyeluk saku copet (contraction of colong dompet- wallet thief), pencopet
pirate (maritime) lanun bajak laut, perompak (means "robber" in Malay)
pipe paip pipa
platform (train) platform peron (from Franco-Dutch perron)
Poland Poland Polandia
police polis polisi (from Dutch politie)
post code poskod kode pos
prayer (Islam) solat, sembahyang salat, shalat, sholat (from Arabic, 'sh' is usually pronounced as 's'), sembahyang
prayer room (Islam) surau surau, musala, mushollah (from Arabic, 'sh' is usually pronounced as 's')
pregnant mengandung, hamil (formal, from Arabic حامل), berbadan dua mengandung, hamil, berbadan dua, bunting (informal)
press media massa, surat khabar (see above) pers (from Dutch), media massa
Private Limited Company Sendirian Berhad
abbreviated as Sdn Bhd (suffix)
Perseroan Terbatas
abbreviated as PT(prefix)
prostitute pelacur pelacur, Wanita Tuna Susila (WTS) (Sanskrit, pronounced 'way-tay-es', i.e. "moral-less women"), Pekerja Seks Komersial (PSK) (formal, pronounced 'pay-es-ka' (commercial sex workers)), perek (slang)
province wilayah (used in Indonesian to mean 'region'), daerah propinsi, provinsi (from Dutch provincie)
push, to (door) tolak (used less primarily in Indonesian to mean 'subtract', it also means 'to refuse/reject', also common meaning in Malay when used in arithmetics) dorong (means "to push" in Malay, but often used to mean "to support")
rabbit arnab (from Arabic) kelinci
rape rogol perkosa
raspberry rasberi frambus, frambosen (from Dutch framboos)
receipt resit, penerimaan kuitansi, kwitansi (from Dutch kwitantie), struk
refrigerator peti sejuk (rarely used in Indonesian) lemari es, lemari pendingin, kulkas (from Dutch koelkast)
religion ugama agama
restaurant kedai makan, restoran restoran, rumah makan, kedai makan (rarely used now)
rob rompak (Indonesian for "to commit piracy") rampok, rampas
room bilik (usually used to mean "compartment" in Indonesian), kamar(formal), also used in Indonesian kamar (from Dutch "kamer"), ruang (Javanese, for storage areas etc.)
roundabout (traffic) bulatan
e.g. Bulatan DBP in Kuala Lumpur

pusing keliling (in Brunei)
e.g. Bundaran HI in Jakarta
rubber getah karet
sauce sos saos, saus (ultimately from French sauce), bumbu
salty masin asin
school (Islamic) pondok pesantren, pondok pesantren
science sains sains, ilmu (from Arabic 'ilm), iptek (an acronym for "Ilmu Pengetahuan dan Teknologi", which literally means "science and technology")
Scotland Scotland Skotlandia
secret rahsia rahasia
secretary setiausaha sekretaris
session sesyen sesi
sewer saluran najis, saluran kumbahan selokan, parit (means 'ditch' in Malay), got, saluran air/pembuangan
shampoo syampu (from Anglo-Indian / Hindustani chāmpo, the imperative form of (Hindi) चाँपना chāmpnā 'to smear, knead the muscles, massage') sampo (via Dutch)
shirt baju (also in Indonesian but more generally refers to clothes) hem, kaos, kemeja (from Portuguese camisa)
shoe kasut sepatu (understood but less frequently used in Malaysia, from Portuguese sapato)
shop kedai (less common in Indonesia) toko
Slovakia Slovakia Slowakia
snow salji salju (from Arabic 'thalj')
sodomy liwath (from Arabic) sodomi
sour masam asam, masam (obsolete, usually used in connotative expression: bermuka masam: sour faced (unsatisfied/unhappy expression))
soya beans kacang soya kacang kedelai
speak/talk berbicara, bercakap (means 'to chat' in Indonesian), bersembang, berborak berbicara, ngomong (Javanese ngoko, colloquial)
Spain Sepanyol Spanyol
spoon sudu sendok
sport sukan olahraga (means "athletics" in Sanskrit and Malay)
stadium stadium stadion (from Dutch "stadion")
station stesen stasiun (formerly spelled "setasiun")
state within country negeri negara bagian
stop (verb) berhenti stop, berhenti
strawberry strawberi stroberi, arbei (from Dutch aardbei)
stupid bodoh, bengap, tolol, bongok (slang) bodoh, dungu, tolol, goblok (slang), geblek (slang), bego (slang)
Sunday ahad (rarely used in Indonesia) hari minggu (from Portuguese Domingo (Lord's Day)
(minggu is used for week i.e. 7 days)
Sweden Sweden Swedia
Switzerland Switzerland Swiss
tapioca ubi kayu tapioka, tepung singkong
tap water air paip air keran, air ledeng (from Dutch leiding, "ledeng" also means "plumbing")
taxi teksi taksi
teacher cikgu, guru guru (from Sanskrit)
teacher (religious, Islam) ustaz, ustad (ultimately from Persian استاد) ustad
telephone telefon (formerly talipon) telepon, telpon, telfon
terrorist pengganas teroris (from Franco-Dutch terrorist)
testicles buah zakar, testis, buah keranjut biji kemaluan, buah zakar (slang, vulgar), kanjut (slang, vulgar)
traffic jam kesesakan lalulintas, jam (slang) macet
turn pusing (means to spin in Indonesian, commonly used to mean dizzy as a short form of kepala pusing), belok belok, putar
television televisyen, TV televisi (from Dutch televisie) , TV
tofu tauhu tahu
toilet bilik air, tandas kamar kecil, toilet, WC (pronounced 'we-se') for watercloset)
towel tuala (from Portuguese toalha) handuk (from Dutch handdoek)
Thailand Negara Thai, Siam, Thailand Thailand, Siam, Muangthai used in old scripts
ticket tiket tiket, karcis (from Dutch kaartje)
tyre tayar ban (from Dutch "[auto]band")
train keretapi, tren kereta, kereta api, kereta rel listrik (KRL) (commuter train)
transsexual pondan, bapok, transseksual transseksual, waria (polite), bencong, banci
tree pokok, pohon pohon
try cuba coba
turkey (bird) ayam belanda ayam kalkun, kalkun from Dutch kalkoen
ugly hodoh, buruk jelek, buruk
Ukraine Ukraine Ukraina
uncle pakcik paman, oom or om (derived from Dutch, pronounced and sometimes spelt as oom)
university universiti universitas
until sehingga, sampai hingga, sampai
United States of America (USA) also the United States (US) Amerika Syarikat Amerika Serikat (AS), Amrik (acronymic slang)
vagina faraj (from Arabic, in Indonesian means vulva), pepek/pepet (slang) alat kelamin wanita, liang pernakan, vagina, farji, memek (slang, vulgar), pepek (slang, vulgar)
very sangat, amat, sekali sangat, amat, sekali, banget (from Javanese ngoko)
vice president naib presiden wakil presiden ('wapres')
victim mangsa korban
virgin (anak) dara, (anak) gadis perawan (formal), gadis, (anak) dara
voucher baucer vocer
want mahu mau
warden warden, penjaga penjara sipir penjara (from Dutch cipier)
website laman web situs web
weekend hujung minggu akhir pekan, akhir minggu
well (water hole) perigi sumur, perigi (rarely used)
when bila, apabila, ketika kapan, bilamana, bila, ketika
window tingkap (also used in Indonesian but less common), jendela jendela (from Portuguese janela)
wire dawai, wayar kawat (e.g. copper wire), kabel (e.g. electrical wire, cable)
you anda (very formal), awak, kamu, kau Anda (everyday formal), kamu (for very familiar people only), engkau ('kau) (prose), elu/loe (very vulgar Betawi slang)
zoo zoo, taman haiwan (kebun binatang was also frequently used in Malaysia before the mid-sixties) kebun binatang (derived from Dutch dierentuin (animal garden), taman margasatwa (more formal form for zoological park)

False friends

Besides vocabulary differences, there are also a number of false friends in both languages. As these words are in quite common use in either or both of the languages, misunderstandings can arise.

Word Malaysian meaning Indonesian meaning
ahli a member (of a group)
(when the word is used by itself) (from Arabo-Persian "ahli" اهلی 'belonging to a group, people, indigenous or sim.'),
expert in a field (from Arabo-Persian "'aqli" عقلی 'belonging to the intellect or mind, intellectual')
expert in a field
akta (from Latino-Dutch acta) act (= law) act (= written legal document)
awak you (casual) shipper
baja fertilizer steel
Malaysian: besi waja
banci census effeminate, transvestite homosexual
bandar city port
bapa father (male parent) specific to 'Father' (God) in religious context (Christianity)
our Father which art in Heaven = Bapa kami yang di surga
Father in Indonesian is bapak (with an additional 'k' letter')
belanja to treat, giving something for free to shop (note: also carries this meaning in Malay, though in a context more akin to "spend".)
berbual to chat to tell a lie
bercinta in (the essence of) love make love, have sexual intercourse
beredar From the root word "edar" which can means; to oscillate (planets only), to leave, or to distribute distributed
biji seed seed, testicles ("balls", offensive)
bila when if, when (older version, almost obsolete)
bisa venom can/able (same as "boleh" in Malay), venom
bontot/buntut buttock tail ('ekor' as commonly used in Malay)
budak kid slave
butoh/butuh male genitals, an offensive reference need
cadangan suggestion, opinion, proposal (example: peti cadangan = suggestion box) reserve, spare (example: ban cadangan = spare tire)
comel cute, pretty (to call) someone who can not keep a secret (example: mulutnya comel= her mouth can't keep a secret)
daripada A preposition that carries 5 meanings; 1. from (to explain the origin of something) 2.than (to do comparison) 3.from (to protect from, to avoid from ) 4. from (to state the sender of something) 5. from (to state the differences) than (comparison)(example: Kamus ini lebih baik daripada yang itu= This dictionary is better than that one)
doktor doctor (paramedic); doctorate (educational title) doctorate (educational title)
In Indonesian, the equivalent for paramedic doctor is dokter
duduk to sit, a place to live on (only used informally) to sit
email electronic mail (recently changed to "emel") enamel
gampang bastard
from 'anak gampang' lit. easy child
easy (non negative meaning)
getah rubber, plant sap plant sap
hemat moral excellence frugal, pennywise, save money or something e.g. electricity, gas or water usage
jabatan department position
jawatan position department
jemput invite, pick up pick up
jeruk pickles/preserved fruits or vegetables oranges
jimat frugal, pennywise, save money or something e.g. electricity amulet (the Malaysian equivalent is azimat)
kacak handsome ber-kacak pinggang (stands with hands on your hips)
The Malaysian equivalent is bercekak-pinggang, a phrase to mean that a person is being bossy
kakak elder sister elder sibling (either elder brother or sister)
kakitangan employee subordinate (with negative meaning)
kapan or kafan: Muslim burial shroud (kain kafan/kapan) when (kapan mau pulang?= when do you want to go home?)
karya work of art (karyawan=artists) work (karyawan= workers)
kerajaan government
(historical association, most Malay states were governed by monarchs, from Raja = King, now refers to any kind of government)
keranjang 'bola keranjang' = basketball (no other use than for basketball) basket
kereta car train
khidmat service fully concentrate
koneksi 'konek' = dick (slang/vulgar) connection
konfeksi A soft solid made by incorporating a medicinal substance or substances with sugar, sirup, or honey clothing industry, any fancy or luxurious women's clothes
(Dutch: confectie. A non-standard spelling sometimes used is: "konveksi")
lucu funny funny, cute (slang)
mangsa victim prey for animal
operasi mathematic operational symbol, tactical operation mathematic operational symbol, police operation, operation/surgery (as in Dutch)
pajak to mortgage, pawn tax
paket packet packet, package (normally used for promotion purposes, as in Dutch)
pantas speedily appropriate, 'no wonder'
pantat buttock (Sabahan Malay meaning), vagina/pussy (slang/vulgar) buttock
pelan plan
(associated with architectural work, site map etc. only)
slow (perlahan in Malay)
pejabat office high-rank officer/officials
(those who hold office, Malay (pegawai))
pemerintah ruler government
pengajian studies mass recitation of Qur'an
percuma free of charge
percuma can also mean free of charge in Indonesian, but its usage has become obsolete, replaced by cuma-cuma
useless, not needed
peti sejuk refrigerator cold Coffin
piawai standard; correct
bahasa piawai = standard language
expert; skillful (on something)
pijat bugs
(software bugs i.e. Year 2000 bug and also commonly referring to the bed bugs)
Javanese pijet
pohon tree, to plea or to beg (from basic word: "mohon") tree
pokok tree essential, basic, main kebutuhan pokok = essential necessities
polis police (insurance) policy (as in Dutch)
polisi policy police (as in Dutch)
punggung buttock back
pupuk to nurture fertilizer (also means 'to nurture' in the metaphorical sense of the word)
pusing to go around a place, circular in motion, to spin/rotate dizzy, confused, headache
putera prince son
rambut hair (for head only) hair
tambang fare mine, rope, passenger, fare
tandas toilet to explain, to finish
senang easy happy, relax
seronok good, enjoyable impolite, pornography-related gambar seronok = porn picture
sulit confidential, difficult difficult
wakil representative vice (for example, 'vice chancellor' and 'vice president'), representative

The Influence of English

One of the most important aspect in differences between Indonesian and Malaysian language is the degree of influence from English. Apart from being heavily influenced by the Dutch language, Indonesian language also adopted a significant number of English loan words in its vocabulary. There have been many changes in Indonesian language as a result of its historical development. Words have been freely borrowed from English and only partly assimilated, in many cases, to the Indonesian patterns of structure.[1] By the late 1970s, English words pouring into the language, leading one commentator, writing in 1977, to refer to the "trend towards Indo-Saxonisation".[2] A great many borrowings from English sometimes fulfill no communicative need, expressing concepts adequately covered by existing words. Among the examples are: akurat, beside tepat (accurate), aliansi, beside sekutu (alliance), eksis, beside ada (exist), kandidat, beside calon (candidate), konklusi, beside kesimpulan (conclusion) kontaminasi, beside pencemaran (contamination), opini, beside pendapat (opinion) and opsi, beside pilihan (option). On the other hand, in absorbing the numerous xenisms or loan words from English, Malaysian Malay has shown a remarkable resilience, despite being the former colony of British empire.[3]

Some in Indonesia view this trend of excessive borrowings as "language dynamism", while some Malay linguists called it mass "language pollution",[4] and lack of creativity in creating new terms.


The original text in Indonesian:

[5] Apabila peraturan pakta stabilitas Eropa dihormati sampai ke detailnya, rasio utang publik dibanding produk domestik bruto pada hari krisis akan berada di posisi 10 persentase poin kurang dalam zona euro, katanya.

The same text rendered in Malaysian:

Apabila peraturan pakatan kestabilan Eropah dihormati sehingga ke perinciannya, nisbah hutang awam berbanding keluaran dalam negara kasar pada hari krisis akan berada di kedudukan 10 titik peratusan kurang dalam kawasan euro, katanya.

English translation:

If the European stability pact rules been respected to the details, the ratio of public debt to gross domestic product on the days of crisis would have been at the position 10 percentage points less in the eurozone, he said.

Table of comparison

English Indonesian Malaysian
Abortion  Aborsi, also used: Pengguguran kandungan Pengguguran
Accurate Akurat, more commonly used:Tepat Tepat
Alliance Aliansi, more commonly used:Sekutu Sekutu
Alloy Aloi Pancalogam
Administration Administrasi Pentadbiran
Apartment Apartemen Pangsapuri
Application software Aplikasi Perisian penggunaan
Architecture Arsitektur Seni bina
Association Asosiasi Persatuan
Assumption Asumsi Andaian
Astronaut  Astronot, also used Antariksawan Angkasawan
Athletics (sport)  Atletik Olahraga
Baseband Baseband Jalur asas
Basketball  Basket Bola keranjang
Board of directors Dewan Direktur Lembaga Pengarah
Binary numeral system Biner Perduaan
Business Bisnis Perniagaan
Capacitor Kapasitor Pemuat
Censor Sensor Tapisan
Career Karier Kerjaya
Chaos theory (math) Teori Chaos Teori kekacauan
Cavalry Kavaleri Pasukan berkuda
Census Sensus Banci
Central bank Bank sentral Bank pusat
Civil Sipil Awam
Circuit switching Circuit switching Pensuisan litar
Circuit Sirkuit Litar
Claim Klaim Tuntutan
Clarification Klarifikasi Penjernihan
Committee Komite Jawatankuasa
Commission Komisi Suruhanjaya
Commissioner Komisaris Pesuruhjaya
Complaint Komplain Aduan
Compiler Kompilator Penyusun
Confirmation Konfirmasi Pengesahan
Constitution Konstitusi, more commonly used: Undang-Undang Dasar Perlembagaan
Consumption Konsumsi Perbelanjaan
Corporation Korporasi Perbadanan
Corruption Korupsi Rasuah
Conclusion Konklusi, more commonly used:Kesimpulan Kesimpulan
Condensation Kondensasi Pemeluwapan
Conference Konferensi Persidangan
Conservation Konservasi Pemuliharaan
Construction Konstruksi Pembinaan
Contamination Kontaminasi, more commonly used:Pencemaran Pencemaran
Continuous function Fungsi kontinu Fungsi selanjar
Conversion Konversi Penukaran
Criminal Kriminal, more commonly used: Penjahat Jenayah
Crucial Krusial Genting
Decimal Desimal Perpuluhan
Department Departemen, also used: Jurusan (for department in University) Jabatan
Depression (psychological) Depresi Kemurungan
Detail Detil, also used:Rinci terperinci
Detection Deteksi Pengesanan
Deputy Deputi, more commonly used: Wakil Timbalan
Design Desain, also used:Rancangan Reka bentuk
Discussion Diskusi perbincangan
Disinfectant Disinfektan, also used:Sucihama Penyahjangkit
Efficiency Efisiensi, also used: Kemangkusan Kecekapan
Elasticity (economy) Elastisitas Keanjalan
Embargo (political science) Embargo Sekatan
Energy Energi, also used: Tenaga Tenaga
Erosion Erosi,more commonly used: Pengikisan Hakisan
Estimation Estimasi, more commonly used: Perkiraan and Dugaan Jangkaan
Evaluation Evaluasi, more commonly used:Penilaian Penilaian
Evacuation Evakuasi, more commonly used: Pengungsian Pemindahan
Excess Ekses, more commonly used:Berlebihan Lebihan
Expose Ekspos, more commonly used:Paparan Pendedahan
Execution Eksekusi Hukuman mati
Exploration Eksplorasi, also used: Penjelajahan Penjelajahan
Facility Fasilitas Kemudahan
Federation Federasi Persekutuan
Fermentation Fermentasi, also used:Peragian Penapaian
Financial Ratio Rasio finansial Nisbah kewangan
Fungus Fungi Kulat
Fusion Fusi Pelakuran
Global Positioning System Sistem Pemosisi Global Sistem Kedudukan Sejagat
Governor (state) Gubernur Yang Dipertua Negeri
Gradation Gradasi Pemeringkatan
Gross domestic product Produk domestik bruto Keluaran dalam negara kasar
Group (mathematics) Grup Kumpulan
Hexadecimal Heksadesimal Perenambelasan
Hybrid (biology) Hibrida Kacukan
Impotent Impotensi, also used: Kemandulan Kemandulan
Inductor Induktor Peraruh
Injection Injeksi, more commonly used:Suntikan Suntikan
Instant Instan Segera
Introspection Introspeksi Kaji diri
Intelligent Intelijen Risikan
International Internasional Antarabangsa
Intervention Intervensi, more commonly used: Campur tangan Campur tangan
Invasion Invasi, more commonly used: Serangan Penaklukan
Investment Investasi, also used:Penanaman modal Pelaburan
Irrigation Irigasi Pengairan
Goal Keeper Kiper, also used: Penjaga gawang Penjaga gol/penjaga gawang
Guarantee Garansi, more commonly used:Jaminan Jaminan
Incineration Insinerasi Penunuan
Legislative Legislatif Perundangan
Liquidity (economy) Likuiditas Kecairan
Local area network (LAN) Local area network Rangkaian kawasan setempat
Military Militer Ketenteraan
Mass Massa, also used: Kelembaman Jisim
Matter Materi Jirim
Manufacturing Manufaktur Pengilangan
Mediation Mediasi, more commonly used:Penengah Pengantaraan
Mental arithmetic Aritmetika cepat, also used: Mencongak Congak
Memory card Kartu memori Kad ingatan
Malpractice Malpraktik Penyelewengan
Management Manajemen Pengurusan
Manager Manajer Pengurus
Military Militer Ketenteraan
Navigation Navigasi Pandu Arah
Negotiation Negosiasi, more commonly used:Perundingan Perundingan
Octal Oktal Perlapanan
Option Opsi, more commonly used:Pilihan Pilihan
Opposition Oposisi Pembangkang
Organization Organisasi Pertubuhan
Oscillation Osilasi, also used: Ayunan Ayunan
Oven Oven Ketuhar
Parallel port Port paralel Port selari
Patient Pasien Pesakit
Patrol Patroli (for police and military), Ronda (for civilian) Ronda
Percent Persen Peratus
Periodic table Tabel periodik, also used: Tabel Berkala Jadual berkala
Pollution Polusi, more commonly used:Pencemaran Pencemaran
Portion Porsi Sebahagian
Publication Publikasi, more commonly used:Terbitan Penerbitan
Precipitation (meteorology) Presipitasi (meteorologi) Kerpasan
Prediction Prediksi, more commonly used:Ramalan Ramalan
Premature Prematur, also used: Dini Pramatang
Preposition Preposisi, also used: Kata Depan Kata sendi nama
Privatization Privatisasi Penswastaan
Producer Produsen Pengeluar
Programming Pemrograman Pengaturcaraan
Property Properti Harta
Propulsion Propulsi Perejangan
Prostitution Prostitusi, also used: Pelacuran Pelacuran
Pulse Pulsa Denyut
Random-access memory (RAM) Random access memory Ingatan capaian rawak
Ratio Rasio, also used: Nisbah Nisbah
Real estate Realestat Hartanah
Recession (economy) Resesi Kemelesetan
Read-only memory (ROM) Read only memory, also used in some textbooks: Memori Hanya Baca Ingatan baca sahaja
Reclamation Reklamasi Tebus guna
Refraction Refraksi, more commonly used: Pembiasan Pembiasan
Renovation Renovasi, also used:Perbarui Pengubahsuaian
Research Riset, more commonly used:Penelitian Kajian
Retailing Ritel, also used: eceran Peruncitan
Resistor Resistor Perintang
Ring (mathematics) Ring, 'Gelanggang' is also used in some Mathematics textbook Gelanggang
Rumour Rumor, also used: Desas-desus, Kabar angin, Kabar burung Khabar angin
Routing Routing Penghalaan
Router Router Penghala
Secretary Sekretaris Setiausaha
Sensor Sensor Penderia
Sexagesimal Seksagesimal Perenampuluhan
Site Situs, also used: Laman Laman
Sublimation (phase transition) Sublimasi Pemejalwapan
Survey Survei Tinjauan
Supervision Supervisi, more commonly used: Pengawasan Penyeliaan
Supermarket Supermarket Pasar raya
Solution Solusi, also used:Pemecahan Penyelesaian
Specialist doctor Dokter spesialis Pakar perubatan
Standard Standar Piawai
Tank Tank Kereta kebal
Terrorism Terorisme Pengganasan
Transportation Transportasi Pengangkutan
National Team Tim Nasional (Timnas) Pasukan Kebangsaan
Team Tim Pasukan
Tornado Tornado Puting beliung
USB flash drive USB flash drive Pemacu kilat USB
Verb Verba, more commonly used:Kata Kerja Kata kerja
Verification Verifikasi Pengesahan
Visit Wisata Pelancongan
Viscosity Viskositas Kelikatan
Violet (color) Violet, also used: Ungu, Lembayung Lembayung
Volume (math) Volume Isi padu
Volleyball Bola Voli Bola tampar
Wide area network (WAN) Wide area network Rangkaian kawasan luas

Dynamic-adaptivism vs Resilience-conservatism

The Indonesian language is highly adaptive to foreign influences, in contrast to the resilience and conservatism demonstrated by the Malay language.[citation needed] This is due to historical formation of each of these languages; the Indonesian language, although based upon the Sumatran Riau Malay language, is actually a newly generated generic, inclusive and open language. It is constantly enriched by both Indonesian regional languages and dialects (such as Javanese, Sundanese, Batak, Minangkabau, to Betawi) and by foreign languages (such as Sanskrit, Chinese, Persian, Latin, Dutch, French and English). As a result it is common to have multiple synonyms of a word that already has its own initial Malay word. It is also possible that new specific meanings or connotations were generated for newly adopted words. For example the words pustaka (from Sanskrit), kitab (from Arabic), and buku (from Dutch) all originally mean "book", however more specific use of these synonyms developed: pustaka is more eloquent, have poetic quality and associated to culture and literature, kitab is associated with law and religious scripture, while buku is more common and neutral word for book. The same case also evident in the word gita (from Sanskrit), tembang (from Javanese), and lagu (original Malay word), all words mean "song" but each has developed specific usage. This highly adaptive nature has caused Indonesian language to evolve much more faster and vibrant than Malay language. For example the current Malay vocabulary is actually very similar to Indonesian language in mid 20th century to several decades ago.[citation needed]

Indonesian language is a dynamic language evolving continuously and vigorously. The spearhead of its evolution today is the Indonesian youth through Indonesian slang, influenced heavily by Betawi language; the regional language of capital city Jakarta, and English. Never considered as a standard and formal Indonesian — Indonesian slang — the language of Indonesian youth, are widespread within Indonesian popular culture; music, cinema and TV drama. Indonesian youth is at its most creative and dynamic when dealing with subjects such as social life, relationships, love and sex. The way young Indonesians communicate with each other is vibrant, creative, dynamic and, above all, fun. Young people in Indonesia practise and propagate the youth style of Indonesian as an expression of their identity and as a means to build solidarity with their peers.[6] Indonesian slang had gave another complexity and depth to understand popular language and culture of Indonesia, thus add another differences and rift with Malay language. Nevertheless the standard Indonesian are always expected to be used in formal occasions, by government, academic communities and medias.

Convergence of vocabulary

The rift of evolution on both languages is actually based upon political nouance and the history of its formation than cultural reason, as the result there is different views on regarding each other languages among Malaysians and Indonesians. In Malaysia, the national language is Malay; in Indonesia, it is Indonesian. The Malaysians tend to assert that Malay and Indonesian are merely different varieties of the same language, while the Indonesians tend to treat them as separate — albeit related — languages. The result of this attitude is that the Indonesians feel little need to synchronise their language with Malaysia and Brunei, whereas the Malaysians are keener to coordinate the evolution of the language with the Indonesians.[7] However both parties had realize the communication benefits of mutually comprehensive and intelligible shared languages among them, which motivated the efforts to synchronize the languages developments. The effort to synchronize both languages evolution to be more intelligible has been embarked by imposing standard rules of language, by Pusat Bahasa in Indonesian side and Dewan Bahasa dan Pustaka in Malaysian counterpart.

The Malay language in Malaysia is not pervasively used in all spheres of life compared to Indonesia. Competition from the English language, the emotional attachment of Malaysian Malays to the language and the desire by non-Malays to preserve the use of their native languages are probably the reasons for this state of affairs. As a result, the Malay language in Malaysia is not as dynamic as Indonesian in Indonesia (note that the Malay language in Indonesia is considered as a regional language) in the introduction of new words through adaptation from other languages especially English. Many Malays are adverse to adopting English words. They rather prefer to find obscure Malay words or words from the Malay archipelago that are equivalent to the English term.[citation needed]


Indonesian text sample
[8] Ensiklopedia, atau kadangkala dieja sebagai ensiklopedi, adalah sejumlah buku yang berisi penjelasan mengenai setiap cabang ilmu pengetahuan yang tersusun menurut abjad atau menurut kategori secara singkat dan padat.
Kata 'ensiklopedia' diambil dari bahasa Yunani; enkyklios paideia (ἐγκύκλιος παιδεία) yang berarti kumpulan instruksi atau pengajaran yang lengkap. Maksudnya, ensiklopedia adalah sebuah sarana pendidikan lengkap yang mencakup semua bidang ilmu pengetahuan. Seringkali ensiklopedia disalahartikan sebagai kamus. Hal ini disebabkan karena ensiklopedia-ensiklopedia awal memang berkembang dari kamus-kamus.
Malaysian text sample
[9] Ensiklopedia, atau kadangkala dieja sebagai ensaiklopedia, merupakan koleksi maklumat atau himpunan fakta mengenai setiap cabang ilmu pengetahuan yang tersusun menurut abjad atau menurut kategori secara singkat dan padat.
Kata 'ensiklopedia' diambil daripada bahasa Yunani εγκύκλιος παιδεία, egkyklios paideia (a circle of instruction) yang bererti sebuah lingkaran atau pengajaran yang lengkap. Ini bermaksud ensiklopedia itu merupakan sebuah pendidikan sempurna yang merangkumi semua aspek ilmu pengetahuan. Seringkali ensiklopedia disalahertikan sebagai kamus. Mungkin ini kerana ensiklopedia-ensiklopedia awal memang berkembang daripada kamus.
Approximate English equivalent
Encyclopedia, or occasionally spelled encyclopaedia, is a collection of books containing explanations and facts about all branches of science that are compiled briefly and compactly according to the alphabet or according to the category.
The word 'encyclopedia' is derived from Greek, ἐγκύκλιος παιδεία (enkyklios paideia), which literally means a circle of instructions or a complete teaching. It means the encyclopedia is a complete educational material which includes the whole aspects of science. Encyclopedias are often confused with dictionaries. This is probably due to the fact that early encyclopedias were actually developed from dictionaries.


During the May 1998 Reform in Indonesia, when calls for political reform (Indonesian: reformasi) culminated in the resignation of President Suharto (and thus the fall of the New Order (Orde Baru)), Malaysian satirists Instant Cafe Theatre Company lampooned a government broadcast in which "Malaysians are reminded that reformasi is an Indonesian word, which has no equivalent in Malaysian language." This "soft propaganda" is no doubt a deliberate attempt by the Malaysian government to suppress the oppositions in Malaysia and to prevent any reformasi-inspired movements from happening in Malaysia.


  1. ^ Roderick Ross Macdonald (1976). Indonesian reference grammar. Georgetown, USA: Georgetown University Press. p. 2. ISBN 9780878401635. 
  2. ^ James Sneddon (2003). The Indonesian Language: Its History and Role in Modern Society. University of New South Wales Press. p. 174. ISBN 978-0868405988. 
  3. ^ Seong Chee Tham (1991). A Study of the Evolution of the Malay Language: Social Change and Cognitive Development. Singapore: Singapore University Press. p. 14. ISBN 978-9971691363. 
  4. ^ "Bahasa Melayu dan Bahasa Indonesia". Berita Harian. 2008-03-19. http://www.dbp.gov.my/klikdbp/klikdbp3mac8.pdf. Retrieved 2011-02-09. 
  5. ^ Antara News - Draghi: Krisis Zona Euro Berisiko "Sistemik"
  6. ^ Inside Indonesia, Indonesian Youth
  7. ^ Who is Malay?, July 2005
  8. ^ From the article about Encyclopaedia on the Indonesian Wikipedia, version 15:14, 21 Agustus 2006
  9. ^ From the article about Encyclopaedia on the Malaysian Wikipedia, version 21:41, 5 Oktober 2005

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