Origin of the Malay language
The Malay language or the "bahasa Melayu" belongs to the Austronesian family of languages. The Austronesian language is generally spoken by the inhabitants of the Pacific island and by the people of the South-east Asia. The term "Austronesian" is coined from two different words, one Greek and the other Latin. 'Austro' in Latin signifies the 'south-wind' and the Greek word 'Nesos' stands for the island. This ancient language is rated at par with the Uralic and the Indo-European family of languages.
The 'Malay' language is popularly known by the locals in Malaysia as the 'Bahasa Malaysia' or the 'Bahasa Melayu', meaning the language of Malaysia or the "Malay" language. This language is employed by the Malay population residing on the Borneo coast, Riau islands, Sumatra, Singapore, Philippines, Thailand and Malaysia. Malay is uniquely similar to the 'Indonesian' language. Malay has been awarded the status of an official language in Singapore, Brunei and Malaysia. It is believed that Malay originated in the 'Riau islands' and so the Malay language that is spoken in the Riau Islands has been accepted as the standard form of Malay in Brunei, Malaysia and Indonesia.
Popularity of the Malay Language
The Malay language is spoken by over 30 million people worldwide and has been ranked 54th among the most widely-spoken language in the world. Malay is the "native tongue" of majority of the people residing in Australia, Philippines, Thailand, Singapore, Brunei, Indonesia and Malaysia.
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