Diary Lifestyle

Language Lab: Similar Words In Bahasa Malaysia & Tagalog

Hello good people!

It’s been a busy weekend. I don’t have a lot to update because the coronavirus thing means I haven’t been out and about much. I wasn’t actually that concerned until the number of cases skyrocketed to over 100 in Malaysia recently. To be frank, I’m not as worried about myself as I am about my parents, who are elderly – I certainly don’t want to bring anything home. So my daily routine has just been home – office – home for the last couple of weeks.

I was listening to some podcasts while driving home and stumbled on one discussing the similarities between Bahasa Indonesia, which is the official Indonesian language, and Filipino. Bahasa Indonesia and Bahasa Malaysia, the official language of Malaysia, is very similar = I think 80% of the time, we’re able to understand each other. And even though the Philippines is a little further away from the Nusantara belt, there are plenty of words in the language that are virtually identical in spelling and meaning – which makes learning them for speakers of these languages much easier as compared to picking up, say, Chinese or Korean. As a native Malay speaker, this has been immensely helpful in learning some Tagalog words.

I made a video on some of these similarities, where I also explain the meanings of each in English. it’s been awhile since my last language post  – I used to have another channel where I posted ‘learn Bahasa Malaysia’ vids – so forgive the rustiness.

Lazy to watch vids? I’ve listed down some of the words here.



  1. Permit me to add a few more, as I still have some momentum from an earlier comment in my other post:
    * Frying pan/wok: kuali – kawali
    * Ladle: senduk – sandok
    * New: baru – bago
    * Shirt: baju – baro
    * Black (color): hitam – itim
    * White (color): putih – puti
    * Cat: kucing – kuting (although “pusa” is more commonly used; “kuting” commonly pertains to kittens)

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Earlier I found some shocking similarities between Filipinos and Malay words while swapping comments on Monch Weller’s blogpost. Now I think I can “bili kambing or carabao” in a market in the Philippines. 😀

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Hey! Thanks for reading! I was also surprised when I initially found out that there were a lot of similar words, but it makes it easier to pick up words 🙂


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