Languages of Malaysia

The indigenous languages of Malaysia belong to the Mon-Khmer and Malayo-Polynesian families. The national, or official, language is Malay which is the mother tongue of the majority Malay ethnic group. The main ethnic groups within Malaysia comprise the Malays, Chinese and Indians, with many other ethnic groups represented in smaller numbers. The largest native languages spoken in East Malaysia are the Iban language and the Kadazan language. English is widely understood in service industries and is a compulsory subject in primary and secondary school. It is also the main language spoken in most private colleges and universities. English may take precedence over Malay in certain official contexts as provided for by the National Language Act, especially in the states of Sabah and Sarawak, where it may be the official working language.

Malaysia contains speakers of 137 living languages, 41 of which are found in Peninsula Malaysia. The government provides schooling in each of the three major languages, Malay, Chinese, and Tamil. Within these three there are a number of dialectal differences.

Read more about Languages Of Malaysia:  Malay, Other Indigenous Languages, English, Chinese Languages, Indian Languages, Creoles, List of Languages

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