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Malaysians and Their Brand of English

Manglish, a way of life.

Malaysians and Their Brand of English
How much Manglish do you use in conversations? (Image:

Over the years, Malaysians have taken some English words and given them a new meaning. If a native English speaker is visiting Malaysia for the first time, they'd be confused by how we use some of the words and would probably have some difficulty understanding us. Check out a few common ones we've 'distorted':


Original meaning: To resolve or reach an agreement about (an argument or problem) or adopt a more steady or secure style of life, especially in a permanent job and home.

A: What did you do today?
B: I've settled all my bills! 

How we use it: 

A: Let's eat at McDonald's tomorrow. 
B: At 10pm? 
A: Settle

A: Have you finished your homework?
B: Dah settle



Original meaning: Cut (something) into small pieces with repeated sharp blows using an ax or knife. Example: She uses a knife to chop the onions. 

How we use it: Malaysians use the word to reserve or claim something before anyone else can. e.g "I chop this place first!"


Original meaning: Sleep.

How we use it: To describe someone who is chill or carefree. "She's so slumber; it's perfectly fine for her to talk to the guy she likes!"


Original meaning: A branch of an organisation situated at some distance from its headquarters.

How we use it: The word means 'out of town' for Malaysians e.g "I'm going outstation to New York this weekend with my family."


Original meaning: Physically in contact with and supported by (a surface).

How we use it: Malaysians often use 'on' to confirm something. 

A: Let's go watch Captain America tonight. 
B: On

A: Are you free to go out next week? 
B: I on jer.


Original meaning: Describing something of the most excellent, effective, or desirable type or quality.

How we use it: Malaysians describe it for anything they find very good. Examples: "That movie was best!", "Best makan ice-cream ni" and even to ask questions such as "Best tak buku tu?" 


Original meaning: The word can refer to an activity or a purpose, and a formal social event or ceremony. 

How we use it: Malaysians primarily use the word to describe a wedding dinner or ceremony. When someone says, "I have a function tonight", it is almost always assumed that they would be attending a wedding.