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Guide to Malay pronounciation .
  Most of the time, new beginners would have little problem in pronouncing Malay words because basically, what you see is what you say! Anyway, here are some guidelines :-  
  Vowel English equivalent Malay example  
  a car saya (I, me)  
  a (2) error saya (I, me)  
  e error enam (six)  
  e (2) ray mereka (them)  
  i key tiga (three)  
  o low kosong (zero)  
  u spoon satu (one)  
  The second form of "a" is only used if "a" is at the end of a word. This is always the case in spoken Malay. You have a choice of either using this form, OR stick to first version of "a" as this is the "textbook" pronounciation; both are equally correct. In the given example of the word "saya", the second syllable "ya" can be pronounced in either way. You may encounter both versions in the audio clips provided.

The second form of "e" is less common; but unlike "a (2)", there is no rule of thumb to know when this form is used; the only way is to familiarise with the irregular words that use "e (2) ". In most cases, the first version of "e" is used.

Almost all consonants in Malay have the same pronounciation as English, but some are emphasised below :

  Consonant English equivalent Malay example  
  c chair cawan (cup)  
  g gum gula (sugar)  
  j jam jagung (corn)  
  k key awak (you)  
  y yellow saya (I)  
  The consonants "ng" appear frequently in Malay and sound similar to that of English. Be extra careful if "ng" is in the middle of a word -- do not split the letters into two, e.g. tengahari (afternoon) is pronounced as [te-ngah-hari], NOT [ten-gah-hari]

The consonants "kh", as in "khabar baik" (I'm fine) has an Arabic origin and should be pronounced like the Scottish word "Loch Ness". For regular conversations, the sound of either k or h are normally used, both are equally correct.

The letter k at the end of a word [e.g. awak (you)] should not be pronounced like the word "block", it should just be a thin "k" sound instead.