Plural Malay Words: 3 Golden Rules For All!

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Have you ever struggled to make the plural form of some words? Maybe while chatting with someone or even in an important discussion? This can happen especially if there are irregular plural forms of letters in some words. English language and many other languages have that – but what about some plural Malay words? Read on to find out!

Bahasa Melayu or the Malay language actually – *drumroll please* – does not have a plural form! Yes. I said it. In Malay grammar, there is no actual plural form per se. So, is it a language that functions only with singular word forms? Nope. Usually, the way the sentence or a phrase is going will lead you to the plural form. It uses a repetition or duplicated form that helps to know that a singular word really is plural.

It surely needs practice and a keen listening ear. With some tips and examples, you will pull the lesson through seamlessly.


Making A Singular Word Into Plural Form

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For those who are new to making singular words plural, you may need to know a bit more about nouns first. Nouns are names of people, places, animals, or things. Nouns can be in the singular form if you only refer to one thing at a time. For more than one, you use the plural form. A noun cannot be a pronoun because pronouns replace nouns in a sentence.

Personal pronouns such as you, they, we, and us – in Malay anka, mereka, kami, and kami are the plural form of a singular word. These are also called plural first-person pronouns. We use a pronoun instead of a noun for both the singular and plural forms. You (awak), your (awak), and yourselves (anda sendiri) are second-person pronouns used in the plural form.

With that out of the way, let’s look at some Malay nouns and how they change from singular words to plural word forms.


Rules To Make Plurals In Malay

  • The first type of singular form usually has one word and to make it plural, you repeat the word twice! One word for the singular and two words for the plural form. Here is an example:
Singular English Words
Plural English Words
Singular Malay Words
Plural Malay Words
  • The next rule to follow is when the singular form has two words, repeat the first of the two words to make it plural. The plural form will end up being three words. You will notice in the examples that the first word only needs to be repeated. Singular form Plural form
Singular English Words
Plural English Words
Singular Malay Words
Plural Malay Words
Beg tangan
Beg-beg tangan
Baju renang
Baju-baju renang
Jam tangan
Jam-jam tangan
  • In the Malay language, there are some singular words that are two words with a hyphen in between. So, what do we do now? Here is where we look out for quantifiers. They can be a word or a phrase that goes before a noun to tell you the number of people or amount of that object, person, place, and so on. Let’s look at some in Malay!
EnglishPlural Malay Words
Some/Few/Several/A fewBeberapa
A lotBanyak
All Semua
Any Mana-mana
Enough Cukup
Little Sedikit
Much/Plenty of Banyak
A couple of Sepasang
A handful ofSegelintir
A large number ofSejumlah besar
A great deal of Sebilangan besar
Plenty of/A lot ofBanyak
A small amount ofSebilangan kecil

In Malay, these words look the same as singular form and plural forms, if not for the quantifier that helps to identify exactly how many are we talking about!

EnglishSingular and Plural Malay Word


Wrapping Up Plural Malay Words

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Wrapping up, let’s look at some words that are repeated or double even in the singular form. They may seem confusing, but again, practice using them to familiarize yourself.

You have learned new words and vocabulary with their meaning, you have the context, and you have seen examples – now it is your turn to try! Making references to the rules above, can you form some phrases or one-word sentences in the singular or plural form? Try to use the words as examples.

While you check out the table below, you may also what to get a hold on Malay adjectives that help modify a noun. It will add that extra “umphto your plurals.


Learn The Malay Language With The Ling App

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We have looked at singular and plural in great detail today. To accompany these, check out this list of prepositions that are helping words to a verb or noun. In the case of verbs, follow us for more especially on active voice and passive voice!

I am sure that you have a genuine desire to get to know more about this country and speak this fascinating language. Malaysian. Did you know that in Malaysia, polite words are important? Here are some expressions. Another fun fact about this language: Malay is the mother tongue of Malaysians and yet can be well understood by an Indonesian. Yes, the Indonesian language shares many similarities in grammar rules and word pronunciation.

If you are looking to learn languages, the best and easiest way does exist. Ling App focuses on learning languages using games. There is voice recognition, so pronunciation and speech are taken care of. It also helps you speak with the correct accent. Your written tasks will be done through games, and each lesson is designed to your interest.

Make sure the next lesson you take in the Malay language is through the Ling app. Click on the link for the Apple Store or Google Play Store to start learning Malay today!

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