Malay or Malaysian?

by Michael S. Kaplan, published on 2010/06/07 07:01 -04:00, original URI:

After I wrote Vietnam or Viet Nam or Việt Nam or ??? a few days ago, I got a few people contacting me with their own examples.

I'll try and squeeze in the interesting ones that I know the answer to as future blogs.

One of those future blogs is the one you are reading right now!

This question was about whether the language spoken in Malaysia was Malay or Malaysian.

Now mostly this question is even easier; the language is not generally referred to as Malaysian. (that word would be used to refer to someone from Malaysia).

So the answer here is Malay. And the native name is (at least in Windows) Bahasa Melayu.

These two things are true for the Windows data in both Malaysia (ms-MY) and Brunei Darussalam (ms-BN). And of course in Indonesia (id-ID), as I mentioned in "Donesian"…just east of "Variant" and just north of "Cognito", right?, it is called Indonesian and Bahasa Indonesia (and this language is more or less a specific dialect of Malay).

Though I have heard tell of an official move in Malaysia to try to change the English name to Bahasa Malaysia, though I have not found much confirmation on this, and it certainly has not yet reached the level of a change yet in Windows. And it frankly does seem a little odd to me for a language's preferred English name to interject the native word for "Language", which is what Bahasa means....

Now the full information beyond this gets into a whole bunch of specific names for the various dialects of Malay spoken in different countries, which you can look to Wikipedia for.

That article had one interesting bit that caught my eye:

In Malaysia, the standard language is called Bahasa Malaysia "Malaysian language". In Singapore, Brunei, and southern Thailand it is called Bahasa Melayu "Malay language", and in Indonesia it is generally called Bahasa Indonesia, "Indonesian language".

If true, that would mean that the native name (LOCALE_SNATIVELANGNAME) in ms-MY (Malaysia) is incorrect.

Though no one (so far as I know) has complained yet..

Though the decade is young.... :-)

John Cowan on 16 Jun 2010 6:02 PM:

"Bahasa Melayu" has a wider connotation even in Malaysia: it means the entire Malay language, not just the standardized variety Bahasa Malaysia.

referenced by

2010/07/29 4 out the door, in both 32 & 64 (aka What Irish, Malay, Maltese & Bengali have in common)

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