You’ve never heard of Manglish?

Sure ah? Where got? Eh hello! How can? What lah you? Like dat cannot lah!

Manglish is half the fun of traveling in Malaysia. An English Creole spoken across much of Malaysia, Manglish is a blend of English, Malay, Hokkien, Mandarin, Cantonese, and Tamil which come together to create a quirky mix which will challenge even the most savvy linguist.

Spoken at the pace of machine gun fire, Malaysians themselves definitely see the humor in their own uniquely jumbled patois. Quite often, I suspect they are kicking their Manglish up a notch in an attempt to see how far they can push it before our comprehension gives. But it’s all in good fun and provides for a lot of laughs on both sides. And yes, they definitely get the humor behind the mangle in Manglish.

The most famous word in Manglish is lah. Lah is to Manglish what like is to Californian English. Nobody can say for sure exactly what it means, but everyone agrees it’s an essential ingredient.

“To lah or not to lah,” that is definitely the question in Malaysia, and the answer seems to be a resounding yes lah.

3 responses to “Manglish”

  1. avatar Freda says:

    Lah, is just the beginning of the Manglish challenge.

    After about of month of Travel in Malaysia and listening to the Manglish each day and night, you can become quite exhausted by it all.

    For Ken and I, as of 20 years today, “our anniversary when we first met,” I have now become accustomed to the Manglish, and quite often on a daily basis, I use a bit of it myself.

    Love you,

  2. avatar julian says:

    I’m not quite sure what you mean by ‘Malays’, but all Malaysians use ‘lah’, not just the Malays who are the predominant ethnic group in this multicultural country.

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