How to speak Malaysian slang, aka Manglish

Learn to speak the Malaysian slang

On the Internet, you will learn that most Malaysians understand Bahasa Malaysia, Mandarin and English. It may be factually correct. However, if we dive into the reality, the language that majority of Malaysians speak is ‘Manglish’.

What is ‘manglish’

Speaking using Malaysian slang words and a mixture of the 3 main languages is the meaning of ‘Manglish’. If you have ever visited Malaysia, you will find out that literally almost no one that speaks proper and full sentences. It is likely that they will mix and match different languages together. They will also add the Malaysian slangs above as a finishing touch.

common slangs, and how to use them

#1 Lah

The term ‘lah’ is often used to emphasize a statement. E.g. Faster go buy the book lah!

#2 Cincai

The term ‘cincai’ basically means, whatever. E.g. ‘What u wanna eat?’ ‘Cincai lah’

#3 Lengzai (guy)/ Lenglui (girl)

A must-know term especially if you want to court a Malaysian guy or girl. ‘Lengzai’ means handsome and ‘Lenglui’ means pretty. Say this and watch any Malaysian guy or girls heart melt instantly. E.g. ‘Hi Lengzai, so handsome today one‘.

#4 Oi

‘Oi’ basically is the term used to call someone or get someone’s attention. E.g. ‘Oi! Faster come here.’

#5 Walao

The term ‘Walao’ is used when you are in shock or disbelief. It is also used whenever you are disappointed in someone. E.g. ‘Walao, I thought you said you finish mopping the floor.’

#6 Kena

The term ‘Kena’ can be used in many situations. However, it usually means to get punished, or get extremely lucky. E.g. ‘Don’t you dare try to go out during MCO, later¬†kena 1000 ringgit by police.’

#7 Belanja

To ‘Belanja’ means to treat someone and help him or her pay for their things. E.g. ‘Belanja me this time lah, next time I belanja you after I get my salary.’

#8 Fong Fei Kei

Although the direct translation of ‘Fong Fei Kei’ means to put airplane, the actual meaning is to back out after an agreement. E.g. ‘Why this Xiao Ming always fong fei kei one, next time don’t ask him out already.’

#9 Tapau/ Dabao

When you want to pack leftover food from the restaurant, you will normally ask the waiter to ‘tapau’ the food for you. E.g. ‘Can you help me tapau this? I full already.’

#10 Kacau

When someone is bothering you a lot or being annoying, it means they ‘kacau’ you. E.g. ‘Dont kacau me already lah! I want to focus.’

#11 Ang Moh/ Guai Lou

Although translated as ‘ghost person’ from Cantonese, it is coined as the term used for foreigners, westerners in particular.

Key takeaways

Armed with these common Malaysian slang listed above, you should be ready to take on the challenge of communicating with Malaysians in Manglish. Be prepared for the shocked face from them when they know you are able to communicate using Manglish as an Ang Moh.


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