Our daily routine can never get away from the act of appreciating - we convey our gratitude by saying thank you and you're welcome every single day. If you're grasping the basics of Bahasa Melayu, then this blog is perfect for you. Keep going if you want to find out how to say you're welcome in Malay.
By now, you would already know the translation of thank you in Malay and you're here to learn how to respond to terima kasih. Before that, do you think responding to one's thank you is important? Does it even matter in the first place?
When you said thank you to someone, do you expect a reply? When in rush, we wouldn't even mind but at most times, it's just pleasant to hear you're welcome in return. As Malaysia is rich with its culture of civility and courteousness, replying to one's thank you is highly appreciated and valued. It portrays and signifies a person's good manners and etiquette.
Let's go right into it. If a person says thank you in Malay, what should we reply in return? The translation of you're welcome in Bahasa Melayu is sama-sama.
Here I include the spelling of thank you in Malay and its phonetic transcription (similar to the ones you see in a dictionary, to help you figure out how to pronounce it!)
In Bahasa Melayu, sama-sama means you're welcome. It's the words to utter once a person said thank you. The locals generally use it everywhere, anytime. It's one phrase that you use despite the formal and informal context.
Now you've learned the new word, let's find out how to pronounce it. I did include the phonetic transcription before, so if you understand phonetics and phonology, you'd probably know how to pronounce the words by now.
If not, then no worries, I'm here to explain. If you're a native English speaker, or you acquire English as either your second or third language, then it's easier to explain. The Malay word sama-sama, sounds precisely similar to the English word summer, without the /r/ sound at the end. As the word is repeated twice, you need to utter it twice as well. It's as if you're saying summer twice; summer summer (BUT omit the /r/ sound at the back!)
Yay, congrats! Now you sound just like a Malay native speaker.
Are there any other ways of saying you're welcome? Actually, there is!
A formal, alternative method of saying you're welcome is tak mengapa! This phrase directly means it's OK or doesn't mention it. However, it's not the words that Malay people typically use. You can only hear these words in action informal settings.
If tak mengapa is the formal word, what is its informal equivalent? It's takpe! This is a colloquial word and it only exists in the Malay spoken context. You won't find this word anywhere in the local dictionary - it's an abbreviated form of tak mengapa.
Why does the vocal 'a' in tak mengapa changes to 'e' in takpe? If you're wondering about this, it's not anything necessary or important. If you have Malaysian friends, you'll see that the spelling isn't always fixed - sometimes it's takpa, sometimes it's takpe. Both are more or less, the same. Most importantly, the word is pronounced with an /e/ sound at the back, as in the vocal 'e' in the. This is how the Malaysians normally use the word.
If you want to respond with no biggie or it's nothing, this is the thing you'll need. As this expression is used only by the locals, they might be surprised (in a good way) hearing it from a non-native's mouth. Using takde apalah with the locals, they may find you friendly and feel connected, as you're casually using their Malay slang words.
Benda biasa carries the exact connotations as takde apalah - they're slang words that only the native speakers of Bahasa Melayu use. As this expression is socially constructed, the Malay community will definitely find it amusing if non-Malaysians articulate these words. If a person says benda biasa in return for a thank you, he's addressing that it's nothing, not a problem or it's not a big deal.
*PRO TIP: Only use this particular expression with the ones you're close with, be it friends or family. It's quite improper to hear someone using it with authorities or their superiors.
This one is occasionally used by the Malaysians - mostly among the youth. It's not something you hear every day, and it's not an expression I'd recommend you to use especially with strangers or acquaintances. The locals will probably cringe hearing this from a non-native, so do be careful. Why? Simply because of its literal meaning. The translations of kasih and diterima are love and accepted respectively. So, figuratively, it means your love is accepted - yes, it's cringe-worthy. Don't use this around freely because the locals may identify you as a cunning, sweet-talker foreigner (if you're a male).
Having known some of the most important Malay phrases can definitely help you to closely connect with the Malay community. As you have learned how to articulate you're welcome in the Malaysian language, you can now use it generously to respond to the locals! Find out more Malay words and phrases by going to Ling App, the best interactive app with fun, engaging features that are perfect for learning. By using Ling App, in addition to your spirit and enthusiasm, you’ll get to learn Malay and other languages in no time!