Learning Malay - Week 1

September 25, 2020


Apa khabar!

Recently I received a letter telling me I had an extra $500 for my Skillsfuture courses. That got me thinking about what I wanted to learn. I decided that I will use my credits to pursue one course for work and one art course for fun!

The letter also gave me a nudge to pursue a free online course to learn Malay. Malay has been one of the languages I was keen to pick up especially since you can use it in Singapore! I learnt a little bit of it in secondary school but we didn't get to do much. I remember learning names of things like doors, windows etc.

Previously I have been learning many other languages, achieving varying proficiencies (mostly low, haha). However, my brain kind of gave up in the midst of it all. For example, when I'm trying to think of a word in French, the Japanese word for it would pop up. Got my wires all crossed and my tongue tied.

Nevertheless, I think it's time to stimulate my brain, especially in this otherwise boring and stagnant year. It is always fun to learn a new language! 

I found a free course from FutureLearn, offered by the University of Malaya. Sounds good huh?


The first conversation video was killer though. It featured two speakers having a conversation in Malay, with English subtitles. I couldn't catch much and the comments below the video indicated that most didn't either. I'm guessing some people would be put off by this and leave the course. Everyone just seemed shocked in the comments.

Week 1 Phrases. No hand holding you guys... Susah!!!! (Difficult)

See, I wasn't exaggerating. This can be overwhelming for a beginner.


However, upon more exploring of the course pages, you'll find useful resource sheets, transcripts and games to help you boost your memory of new words and vocabulary. I feel that the course can be more better designed to ease in beginners.

The course uses Quizlet, which offers flashcards, audio, as well as matching games and more. It's really useful! A life saver, really, to keep up with the course, which has turned out to be more challenging than I expected. 

An example of a game would be this asteroid one where you have to type out answers quickly before the asteroid hits the Earth. 

You can set the difficulty and mode. I started off with answering in English, and then when I felt ready I set the mode to giving my answers in Malay. Good way to remember meanings, although I don't know what level the game ends. I played till Level 11 but there seemed to be no end in sight..

So that's where I finally learnt the meaning of istimewa, which I often see in food menus. It means special! I'm also glad to learn that manis means sweet, because I've been seeing it in a shop name. Lapar (hungry) and Lambat (late) confuses me a lil because they both start with L. Well, they are both things that make me angry. Haha.

The start is a bit of a struggle and you definitely encounter a steep learning curve. Unlike Duolingo where you are fed simple phrases gradually, this course unapologetically throws you into the deep end. I would recommend this course to independent learners who are not fussed about having to look up words on their own accord. 

I have been enjoying myself! Learning something new gives me purpose and it really adds a nice optimistic sheen to life. It's nice to have some zest in life.

Kita jumpa lagi! (See you again)

Skye

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