Thursday, July 21, 2011

Book Review: Speak Malay!

Speak Malay!: Course in Simple Malay for English-speaking MalaysiansSpeak Malay!: Course in Simple Malay for English-speaking Malaysians by Edward S. King

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

I did some research before I bought this book, but maybe not enough research. I chose it mainly because it had a sequel and I thought that would be a good choice to further my Malay.

The book grew out of a series of radio programs meant for English speakers to learn Malay, so it was a bit odd that the book doesn't have accompanying audio. This, however, isn't important to me, as there are plenty of online audio resources.

The lessons are spread out over a period of 12 weeks, with each week containing 5 lessons + a revision lesson. The lessons are divided into 3 sections. The first has sentences to teach certain patterns. Sometimes these sentences form a dialogue in later lessons. The second section has the vocabulary from the previous section (usually limited to vocabulary mentioned in sentences). The third section contains grammar explanation.

The grammar section often refers to the first section of the lesson for examples rather than give more examples. In some cases, the explanation is shortened and the reader is asked to reread the examples in the first section to get the hang of it. I found this a bit disappointing.

The revision lessons include exercises which are mostly translate to/from Malay, make sentences. The few times there is a reading exercise, it's followed by translate into English rather than comprehension questions.

The book has key answers to the exercises, as well as Malay-English & English-Malay vocabulary lists. Words that show up in the grammar section have the grammar point number next to them, but given the format of the book, I found it a bit difficult to actually find them.

My opinion is mostly based on my experience with Minna no Nihongo books, but overall I would say it's a decent book to start learning Malay with.


  1. owh wow!!!
    sorry we didn't spend dat much time with you...
    it;s very impressive... the effort u took to learn our language...:D

  2. Don't worry, I'm guilty too. ^_^;
    Tapi saya ingat Lynne dan kawan-kawan lebih rajin daripada saya belajar bahasa Arab.
    Some day I'll catch up with you isA :-p
    In the meantime, keep it up!! Ganbatte!!