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I'd like to learn Malay, but after doing some searching, there aren't many online resources for doing so. Most major language learning apps and websites only offer Indonesian, which is similar, but isn't what I'm looking for. What free online resources, more specifically apps, are there for learning Malay?

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I have found one highly useful free on-line app for language learning -- especially for learning the Malay, Indonesian joint language -- is Microsoft's "Translator" app. This app is embedded in Google; it can be directly accessed on the Internet at translator.google.com.

The app is especially useful when used with any standard bahasa Malay grammar (e.g. Dodds' "Teach Yourself Malay" (1977, paperback). For example, in Lesson Two,#13, of Dodds on simple sentences the first Malay sentence used as an example is

Google Malay input: "Perempuan tulis surat"

Google English output: "Women wrote letters"

I made a typo by adding an "a" (Paerempuan) in my Malay test sentence:

Malay: "Paerempuan tulis surat."

English: "The woman wrote a letter."

Again using Google I entered two test sentences, one with the "a" in Perempuan, but the other with "Pa" as a prefix, as below:

Paerempuan...: The woman wrote a letter.

Pa erempuan...: Women write letters.

It's easy to see the differences in number and tense that the Google translation app is able to show in a very 'simple' English subject-verb-object (SVO) sentence. And users of the app can quickly create more complex grammatical sentences as the Malay language (vocabulary, the Malay grammar is the same as the Indonesian grammar) is being learned.

Having been in both Indonesia and (very briefly) in Malaysia, and after spending several years studying Indonesian, I found using and experimenting with Google's translation app to be "... more fun than a barrel of monkey!" as the saying goes. It is so very easy to quickly switch between the three languages and get virtually instant translations and re-translations, including entering either an Indonesian or Malaysian translation and getting Malaysian or Indonesian reverse translations.

Another exceptionally useful feature of the Google translator is the pronunciation feature. Both English and Indonesian inputs and translated outputs have a pronunciation icon (a speaker). Although this feature isn't supported for the Malay language, if one enters Malay text to be spoken as though it were Indonesian the Malay text will be spoken correctly -- but will not translated correctly because of the vocabulary differences in the two languages. Since the idea is to hear the pronunciation of Malay words, phrases, and sentences, the 'incorrect' translation of supposedly Indonesian words, etc, doesn't matter.

Just one more thing ... in pronunciations Google tried, but didn't get the (computer) speaker's sentence intonations exactly right! But not to worry, eh? Everything else is almost perfect!

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