Malaysia is a multilingual country. Bahasa Malaysia is the national language, although English, Chinese dialects and Indian languages are widely spoken. The Chinese dialects include Cantonese, Hokkien, Teochew and Hainanese, and the Indian languages include Tamil, Hindi, Malayalam, Punjabi and Telegu. Many people speak English as a second or third language.
 Did you know?
Some Malaysians use "la" to end a sentence the way some Canadians use "eh."

In speaking to parents, teachers and strangers, Malaysians are very polite and soft-spoken. Courtesy is a very important social value. Muslim Malaysians greet each other with the traditional salaam: the right hand is extended to shake the hand of the other person, then brought back to touch the heart with the words "Salaam alaykum." Hindus greet with a Namaste or Vanakam. Both palms are brought together as in prayer at mid-chest level. The Chinese usually shake hands with each other.

Malays always use their right hand to greet each other and to eat, never the left hand. Using the left hand is taboo in Malaysia in many situations. It is also considered polite and respectful to take off one's shoes when entering a Malaysian house. People always remove their shoes when they enter a mosque.

   English    Malaysian
Yes Ya
No Tidak
Please Sila
Thank you Terimah kasih
You're welcome Sama sama
Good morning Selamat Pagi
Good evening Selamat petang
Goodbye Selamat tinggal
What is your name? Siapa Nama anda?
My name is... Nama saya...
How are you? Apa khabar?