Manglish Spoken Here
Malaysia is a land of paradoxes. Chinese ladies in short skirts walk the streets side by side with Malay Muslims wearing the ubiquitous Islamic headscarf. To gaze on the ultra-modern Petronas Towers in downtown Kuala Lumpur, you could hardly imagine that this is the same country where sleepy fishing villages dot the coast.
When it comes to language, there are even more surprises in store.
English is widely used here. There are three Anglophone daily newspapers in the capital, English television and radio stations. Bookshops such as the nationwide chain MPH offer many more books in English than in any other language.
In the fashionable shopping districts and the upmarket cafes, where the espresso class lounge, you can hear English spoken everywhere but what kind of English is it that Malaysians speak?
That’s the interesting part. There are those that speak English better, one suspects, than half of England. Then, of course, there are some who cannot speak the language at all. However, most Malaysians are somewhere in between. They speak a corrupted form of English, often referred to as “Manglish”—Malaysian English or perhaps Mangled English?
Let me give you some examples. In Manglish, when someone has gone out of town, he is said to be “outstation.” There, a mobile phone is known as a handphone.
Malaysians call slippers what the British call sandals, and during sales, in the shops, there are plenty of signs announcing, “Buy one, free one.”
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