Plenty of people ask where can they learn the Malay language all the time. This is the reason why I am shocked by the sad fact that there is no Malay on Duolingo. So, let's talk about the possible reasons for that and some alternatives.
Given how close Malaysian and Indonesian are in mutual intelligibility, I was just wondering if that is the main reason why there is no Malay on Duolingo. In other words, is it possible that Duolingo has decided they don't need a Malay course if they have an Indonesian course?
I really hope this is not the case here because I recently have found myself more interested in Malay (but not necessarily in Indonesia) and would like to learn that interesting language. I think it probably would be an easy course to make after Indonesian is completed, assuming Duo uses Indonesian as a template.
However, I seriously hope Duo will add them as separate languages at some point. Until then, I will try to find some other apps that have a Malay course.
I am glad you asked. There is one very obvious recommendation that can be made here, and that is the Ling Malay app. Ling uses native Malay speakers to help you learn Malay just like it will sound in the country.
Through the gamification of learning, it also makes the whole process much more engaging. You can see yourself progress as you make your way through the different topics and tests that come along with it.
Then there is the chatbot feature that simulates conversations and makes for great practicing your Malay language skills. For an introvert like me, it helps to build up my courage to eventually feel confident enough to use it when out and about.
While these mobile apps do share a common goal of making language learning fun and accessible, what sets Ling apart is the focus on practical vocabulary, sentences, and phrases that you will use in everyday speech.
This one is actually a part of the same family as Ling. Simply Learn Malay is a phrasebook in app form, giving you all the benefits that come with that. You can listen to the words and phrases being spoken by native Malay speakers, along with the Malay and phonetic spellings of the words.
It makes for a great companion both when practicing and when you are in Malay. It makes use of flashcards and the spaced repetition learning technique that is said to really improve language learning.
It may not be the top choice if you want a deep understanding of the language but helps you start out with pronunciation and basic grammar like word order.
There are quite a few different apps and websites that work great with helping you to learn Malay. Each one goes about its own way to replace the hole made by the lack of Malay in Duolingo. Ultimately, it is a case of finding which option works best for your case.
Like we said before, it is good to make a language learning plan and mix things up if you are serious about learning Malay. If you are just looking for a more casual experience to learn a few phrases before traveling, then apps might be the best option for you.