Manglish is a Malaysian speaking style with many similarities with the Singaporean Singlish. It is a distorted usage of English that is mainly spoken between the locals. Locals rarely speak to a foreigners or traveler using Manglish. It may seem a little embarrassing and inappropriate for a local to speak to a foreigner in Manglish as it is not proper usage of the English language. Furthermore, a foreigner may not understand and frown upon Manglish usage. Try to listen and identify Manglish is it is spoken between the locals. It is noted that some expatriates working and living in Malaysia has picked up on Manglish and seem to want to blend in by using Manglish.




Commonly used form of Manglish


Word Meaning Example
lah Used to affirm a statement (similar to "of course"). Frequently used at the end of sentences and usually ends with an exclamation mark (!). Don't be an idiot lah!
nia/mia Used to affirm a sentence (similar to "only"). It is similar to "mah" and "lah" but used in a casual context. i got RM5 'nia' , he is very stupid 'mia'
mah Used to affirm a sentence but not as strongly as "lah". Used at the end of sentences. She's like that mah..
nah Derived from the Malay expression of "Nah!". This is not the usual 'Nah' which means 'No'. Used when giving something to another person. Nah, take this! (Here, take this!)
meh Used when asking questions, especially when a person is skeptical of something.

Really meh?

Cannot meh?


liao Means "already" No more stock liao.
ah Derived from the Chinese expression "a". Used at the end of sentences, unlike meh the question is rhetorical. Also used when asking a genuine question. Besides that, some people use it when referring to a subject before making a (usually negative) comment.

Why is he like that ah?

Is that true ah?

My brother ah, always disturb me!


lor Used when explaining something. Like that lor!
got Used as a literal translation from the Malay word 'ada'. The arrangement of words is often also literally translated. This particular particle is widely abused in Manglish, mainly because of the difficulty for the Manglish speaker of comprehending the various correct uses of the English verb 'to have'. Therefore, 'got' is substituted for every tense of the verb.

You got anything to do? (Kamu ada apa-apa untuk buat?)

I got already/got/will get my car from the garage. Got or not? (Really?) Where got? (To deny something, as in Malay "Mana ada?")


what Unlike British/American English, the word 'what' is often used as an exclamation mark, not just to ask a question.

What! How could you do that?

I didn't take it, what.


d/dy Derived from the word "already". Often used in online chatroom by the youth in Malaysia. I eat 'd' 'loh'
leh Used to soften an order, thus making it less harsh Give me that leh.
one Used as an emphasis at the end of a sentence. Why is he so naughty one (ah)?


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