Learning Malay in addition to Tamil

Singlanguages/ March 4, 2022/ Music

I’ve decided to learn Malay on top of my Tamil.

I’m challenging myself to not take up Italki lessons for as long as possible, which is how I normally learn a language. Instead, I will only rely on materials that I can find online and offline. I can speak to people who I meet on the streets, but I cannot pay to practice talking.

Compared to Tamil, which has an abundance of material in Tamil itself but very little available for Tamil learners, Malay has a wealth of resources to work with. I also have the advantage of being used to Malay. I have heard it spoken at home, so it is not ‘strange’ to me like Tamil was when I started.

How am I learning my Malay? The Singapore newspaper, Berita Harian, has an auto-translate function so that people can get more familiar with formal Malay (I have added this resource into my Malay resources page). I also found a wonderful youtube channel called “I Wanna Learn Malay” that gives explanations on grammar points and gives good example sentences. This is how I am currently learning.

By restricting myself from using Italki, I should, in theory, be stunting my ‘productive’ language skills, such as speaking. This means that while I should be able to listen and read well with the material available to me, I should have a more difficult time speaking. Writing should not be affected because I can write whenever I want to.

I also decided to start listening to Malay songs. Curiously, I tried listening to Malay songs before I started learning Tamil, and it was, like Tamil songs, strange to me. However, after I started feeling at home with Tamil songs, Malay songs now do not feel alien at all.

One song that I like listening to is Dolla’s “Impikan”. Sierra Lisse, an inactive channel at the time of writing, has a nice explanation of the lyrics.

Let’s see how this goes!

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