Interested to learn about moods and emotions in Malay? Expressing both positive and negative feelings is something people often do and it is a fun and very personal way to learn languages. The same goes for the Malay language, where feelings (perasaan) are an important part of everyday expressions. It helps the other person to understand us even more, especially in a collectivistic society such as Malaysian, which consists of many ethnic groups.
Malay culture places a strong emphasis on politeness and gentleness. It is important to know how to choose the words, which tone of voice to employ, what body language to use, or even which facial expression to have while communicating with others. It is not necessarily expected from foreigners to abide by these rules, but Malays will be very surprised and glad if you master this technique!
Malaysia is a predominantly Muslim country, and some expressions may be influenced by Islam, particularly among very religious people. Some "body language" may not be encouraged, such as touching someone’s head (reserved for couples and those who are in love) or having a handshake with the opposite sex (particularly among very conservative Muslims, where physical touch between sexes is discouraged if one is not related).
When Malays want to express their moods or feelings, they use “Saya rasa” (I feel…) and add the state of mood or emotion they experience at the given time. Rasa is the root word of Perasaan, just like feel is the root word for feelings!
It is also very easy to ask others what their mood or their feelings is. Be aware that Malay culture is not straightforward, and a dose of etiquette is necessary between people who are not in family relations or are not close friends. Nevertheless, you can always ask these questions:
|How do you feel?||Apa perasaan awak?|
|How are you?||Apa khabar?|
|Are you okay?||Awak okay tak?|
|Are you sad?||Adakah awak sedih?|
While never expressing their moods in total, Malays like to differentiate between the formal and colloquial ways of saying how they feel. This is particularly relevant with happiness:
I feel happy – Saya rasa gembira
But this is a very formal way to express your happiness. In colloquial Malay, people usually say “Suka” instead of “Gembira”. In fact, “suka” means “like” (Saya suka makan – I like to eat), but informal meaning of Suka in colloquial Malay is “Happy”, so you can say: Saya rasa suka – I feel happy or Saya rasa suka sangat-sangat – I feel so very very happy. Like in many other languages, repeating a word is used to accentuate the experience. So, be sangat-sangat always!
Some other words for a good mood are:
For bad mood, Malays would say Saya rasa…
Love in Malay is Cinta. It is a feeling we all want to have and to share. These are Malay expressions connected to love:
You might still be in love, but also angry. Interestingly, the Malay language has grades of being angry and these are the following:
In the Malay language, for I and You it is formal to use Saya and Awak, but between close friends and when one is angry at somebody, the Saya-Awak duo is replaced with Aku-Kau. Using Saya-Awak is more polite and sounds less angry.
Again, we can use “Saya rasa” and add the physical feeling we experience:
Or you can just say: Saya OK – I am okay!
As we reach this part of the post, we hope that you were able to learn more about the Malay language and that you'll be able to use each of the words we presented here in real-life interactions. After all, connecting with people will instantly become easier if you know how to truly express yourself in a language truly close to their hearts. If you enjoyed this post and figured that you would love to learn more about it, then we highly recommend that you check out our previous posts in Malay like the common religion in Malaysia and how to say congratulations.
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