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Malaysian English Essay

2917 words - 12 pages

Generally, the terms ‘Malaysian English’ is always misinterpreted by most Malaysians as ‘Manglish’, let alone by the foreigners or the outsiders. People seem to be unaware of the fact that ‘Malaysian English and Manglish are actually two different forms of English. As a matter of fact, Malaysian English is normally known as Malaysian Standard English; a form of English used and spoken in Malaysia as a second language. It should not be confused with Malaysian Colloquial English which is famously known as Manglish, a portmanteau of the word Malay and English, or Street English. Basically, Manglish is a Malaysian speaking style with many similarities with the ...view middle of the document...

This contrasts with many East Anglian and East Midland varieties of British English and with most forms of American English. Fricatives 'th' (θ and ð) are pronounced [t] for [θ] and [d] for [ð]. 'L' is generally clear. Diphthongs 'ow' ([əʊ] or [oʊ]) are just [o] and 'ay' ([eɪ]) is just [e].
When it comes to Manglish, native speaker or an outsider might be unable to make out what Malaysians talk about and might be curious to know the language we are speaking in. The reality is we are indeed, speaking in English “but with a Malaysian twist”. Most Malaysians would not care speaking in Manglish even though it is proven wrong phonetically and semantically. This usage of Manglish might be influence by the multi- language used in Malaysia such as Malay, Mandarin and Tamil which produce ‘Malaysian accent’. This Malaysian accent or slang might cause direct translations, slangs additions, wrong pronunciations and many more. To this day it has been an amusement to most Malaysians themselves. Not only that, it has seems to be trending and jokes but people enjoy it. For me, it is surprisingly amazing how most Malaysians can do both Malaysian English and Manglish. It is quite hard for outsiders to understand how so many Malaysians are at ease speaking both Manglish and formal English.

Malaysian English is gradually forming its own vocabulary in various stress patterns, intonations and pronunciations. These words and utterances come from a variety of influences. Typically, for words or phrases that are based on other English words, the Malaysian English speaker may be unaware that the word or phrase is not present in British or American English.
Basically, Malay and English have different stress patterns. Thomson (1996) pointed out that English is a stress-timed language. Stress is important and has its own functions in the language. Native speakers of English more often than not, rely on the stress patterns and intonation) to infer and identify meanings of words or utterances because different stress could mean differently. Since originally stress does not play an important role in Malay., Ramish (1971) says that (as cited in Suhaila, 1994) Malay words are not distinguished by the contrast of stress. Malay speakers do not depend on stress to give emphasis, but they change the word order to do it. And this is the reason why most Malaysian utter words with no stress patterns as in /bəˈnɑːnə/ and /ækəˈdemɪk/.
However, intonation does have its own part in Malay utterances. It is used in spoken Malay mainly to express emotions and attitudes. In terms of attitudinal function of intonation, the stress could fall almost anywhere in an utterance, depending on what is emphasised. A rising, falling, falling-rising and rising-falling tones are used somehow quite differently from English. As an example given by Checketts (1993), in giving a list of items, Malay speakers of English tend to use a falling tone with each item. Due to the...

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