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Old 07-17-2012, 12:04 PM
 
Location: .N6 A4
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I don't have anything to add the explanations others have provided, but will chime in that Malaysian food is quite good. I used to eat it regularly in Philadelphia, since we had two Malaysian restaurants in the Chinatown there. I've never been to Malaysia, however (or Indonesia). I was less impressed with the Indonesian restaurant that opened in Philly, but I am sure Indonesian cuisine can be quite good.

Indonesian gamelan music had a surprisingly widespread influence on American modern/postmodern classical music. The number of composers from the U.S. who drew inspiration from or attempted to emulate gamelan music is quite impressive. Edit: And checking the Wikipedia article on gamelan reminds me the influence goes beyond American composers and extends to better known European composers: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gamelan
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Old 07-17-2012, 01:00 PM
 
5,096 posts, read 8,078,177 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Trimac20 View Post
Yeah she's not TOO bad, but definitely not on the level of the average Malaysian. You may know a lot of Thai people who can speak English well, but they probably represent a few percent of the population. The vast majority of Thais I came into contact with knew very basic English.

I would say yes, that's typical for Malaysia. It depends on things like where they live, education level, ethnicity. Malays and older Chinese, especially poorer ones, often speak fairly basic English, but if you're talking Middle Class - which is pretty big in Malaysia, much moreso than Thailand (although Malaysia is not quite developed) most of them can speak at at least as fluently as the average Dutch person, if you can get used to the accent.
I thought she spoke quite well. I didn't hear much difference between her ability and that of the Malaysians. It's mostly hearing the accent to the ears of an English language listener. The Malaysians have an accent as well.

Yes, you're absolutely right. It is indeed a minority of those in Thailand who speak exceptionally well. That said, in my opinion, a good number of middle class folks (not all) can speak English. Not sll sre perfect, of course, but well enough to be understand what they're talking about. However, I can see your point which is basically that the more clearly a person can speak English, the easier it is to understand them. Still, it's not really so much about how fluent a person is that's important. It's more about being able to communicate in a way that can be understood. Listening carefully is part of the solution. For me, it isn't hard to do. For others though, it may be more difficult. I also agree that it's also helpful to understand the accent. Comfort level in communication can vary from person to person.

You mentioned difficulty of some people in hotels and restaurants. I know what you mean, but I also know that there are an awful lot of people from around the world who travel there and seem to be okay with communication without knowing the first thing about the Thai language. There are some exceptions at hotels and restaurants to be sure. Then again, I've also run into a few business-type foreigners (not many) who seem to demand that perfect English must be spoken by Thais at all times. If not, then such staff is treated as low life. My thinking is maybe they'd best stay home. I don't care if someone is a maid, or founder of a large corporation. They all deserve equal respect and friendliness as important human beings.

I have to admit though, I get a chuckle from the way some Thais say things. Thais often have a hard time with r and l letters. It has to do with the placement of certain Thai letters, whether it's located at the beginning of a word, inside, or at the end of a word, it can change the sound of the letter. It can also be sort of a lazy form of speaking in very informal speech. I remember years ago a food vendor in BKK who had a sign announcing their specialty, which was Lemon Grass Soup, but they wrote it as "Lemon Glass Soup".
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Old 07-17-2012, 01:04 PM
 
5,096 posts, read 8,078,177 times
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Originally Posted by pinai View Post
^Singaporean have the same accent as them. they keep on using "la" at the end of the sentence.

I just came across this vid. Yeah, communication differences can also have its humorous side.



MALAYSIAN-SINGAPORE ENGLISH ACCENT - YouTube
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Old 07-17-2012, 02:34 PM
 
Location: Filipinas
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^lol I saw that video too a while ago. Anyways, it's not our first language so it's understandable.
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Old 07-17-2012, 05:06 PM
 
Location: Macao
15,951 posts, read 36,206,900 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by NightBazaar View Post
I thought she spoke quite well. I didn't hear much difference between her ability and that of the Malaysians. It's mostly hearing the accent to the ears of an English language listener. The Malaysians have an accent as well.

Yes, you're absolutely right. It is indeed a minority of those in Thailand who speak exceptionally well. That said, in my opinion, a good number of middle class folks (not all) can speak English. Not sll sre perfect, of course, but well enough to be understand what they're talking about. However, I can see your point which is basically that the more clearly a person can speak English, the easier it is to understand them. Still, it's not really so much about how fluent a person is that's important. It's more about being able to communicate in a way that can be understood. Listening carefully is part of the solution. For me, it isn't hard to do. For others though, it may be more difficult. I also agree that it's also helpful to understand the accent. Comfort level in communication can vary from person to person.

You mentioned difficulty of some people in hotels and restaurants. I know what you mean, but I also know that there are an awful lot of people from around the world who travel there and seem to be okay with communication without knowing the first thing about the Thai language. There are some exceptions at hotels and restaurants to be sure. Then again, I've also run into a few business-type foreigners (not many) who seem to demand that perfect English must be spoken by Thais at all times. If not, then such staff is treated as low life. My thinking is maybe they'd best stay home. I don't care if someone is a maid, or founder of a large corporation. They all deserve equal respect and friendliness as important human beings.

I have to admit though, I get a chuckle from the way some Thais say things. Thais often have a hard time with r and l letters. It has to do with the placement of certain Thai letters, whether it's located at the beginning of a word, inside, or at the end of a word, it can change the sound of the letter. It can also be sort of a lazy form of speaking in very informal speech. I remember years ago a food vendor in BKK who had a sign announcing their specialty, which was Lemon Grass Soup, but they wrote it as "Lemon Glass Soup".
I think it's not really an issue that you can't find people to communicate with in Thailand as a tourist. You can find them everywhere.

But, if you're in Malaysia, you can pretty much go to any nook and cranny of the country, or of any corner of the city, and still feel like you'll easily find english-speakers in many places where there are absolutely no tourists whatsoever.
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Old 07-17-2012, 07:21 PM
 
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Originally Posted by Tiger Beer View Post
I think it's not really an issue that you can't find people to communicate with in Thailand as a tourist. You can find them everywhere.

But, if you're in Malaysia, you can pretty much go to any nook and cranny of the country, or of any corner of the city, and still feel like you'll easily find english-speakers in many places where there are absolutely no tourists whatsoever.
You're quite right. Even tourists can find someone to communicate with. The tourism industry in Thailand is remarkable, very active and a significant source of income. With international business, the Medical tourist sector, and so on, English is available all over.

Once again, I'll pull out my ignorance about Malaysia. What about areas in the north toward the border with Thailand? Is English as common in those areas? I don't think I'd want to be around that area though on either side of the border.
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Old 07-17-2012, 09:14 PM
 
Location: Macao
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Originally Posted by NightBazaar View Post
You're quite right. Even tourists can find someone to communicate with. The tourism industry in Thailand is remarkable, very active and a significant source of income. With international business, the Medical tourist sector, and so on, English is available all over.

Once again, I'll pull out my ignorance about Malaysia. What about areas in the north toward the border with Thailand? Is English as common in those areas? I don't think I'd want to be around that area though on either side of the border.
I was somewhat recently in both Hat Yai and Ko Lipe (right on the Malaysia/Thailand border). They seemed fine to me. Both have tourists, significantly moreso in Ko Lipe, and both were absolutely fine for getting around in English as a tourist.

But everything is still in the Thai script, nothing is phonetic, and everything is tonal. So, I can certainly use English in those place, but it takes a huge effort for me to start passively picking up Thai words.

In Malaysia, as soon as you cross the border, you'll quickly make sense of signs, and passively picking up Malay everywhere.
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Old 07-17-2012, 09:53 PM
 
2,870 posts, read 3,943,605 times
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Several of you are using the noun "Malaysian" as if the residents of this country act as one race. This is FAR from the truth. In fact, those Malaysian English videos are really Chinglish - English spoken by Malaysian Chinese and, thus, more similar to Singlish than the English spoken by Malays or Indians (Tamil).

When people are not fluent within English, they substitute some of their own grammar structures and words in order to complete their sentences. Thus, the use of 'lah' by Chinese Malaysian speakers of English reflects an aspect of the Chinese dialects with which they were brought up. I work with many Malay speakers of English and most never use 'lah'. This is just one example.

I wouldn't say that Malaysia and Indonesia are overlooked without using the qualifying "...by Americans." The Dutch had a colony in the Indonesian archipelago and the Brits in what was Malaya (including Singapore). Thus the Dutch and Brits certainly do not overlook Indonesia and Malaysia, respectively. Most of the white people that I run into in Malaysia are from the former crown colonies, including the UK and Australia. I have met very few Americans.
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Old 07-17-2012, 10:55 PM
 
Location: The western periphery of Terra Australis
24,683 posts, read 45,455,894 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Tiger Beer View Post
I was somewhat recently in both Hat Yai and Ko Lipe (right on the Malaysia/Thailand border). They seemed fine to me. Both have tourists, significantly moreso in Ko Lipe, and both were absolutely fine for getting around in English as a tourist.

But everything is still in the Thai script, nothing is phonetic, and everything is tonal. So, I can certainly use English in those place, but it takes a huge effort for me to start passively picking up Thai words.

In Malaysia, as soon as you cross the border, you'll quickly make sense of signs, and passively picking up Malay everywhere.
Malay is an easy language to pick up, even if you're only there for two weeks you're bound to pick up at least a dozen words.
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Old 07-17-2012, 10:57 PM
 
Location: The western periphery of Terra Australis
24,683 posts, read 45,455,894 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Teak View Post
Several of you are using the noun "Malaysian" as if the residents of this country act as one race. This is FAR from the truth. In fact, those Malaysian English videos are really Chinglish - English spoken by Malaysian Chinese and, thus, more similar to Singlish than the English spoken by Malays or Indians (Tamil).

When people are not fluent within English, they substitute some of their own grammar structures and words in order to complete their sentences. Thus, the use of 'lah' by Chinese Malaysian speakers of English reflects an aspect of the Chinese dialects with which they were brought up. I work with many Malay speakers of English and most never use 'lah'. This is just one example.

I wouldn't say that Malaysia and Indonesia are overlooked without using the qualifying "...by Americans." The Dutch had a colony in the Indonesian archipelago and the Brits in what was Malaya (including Singapore). Thus the Dutch and Brits certainly do not overlook Indonesia and Malaysia, respectively. Most of the white people that I run into in Malaysia are from the former crown colonies, including the UK and Australia. I have met very few Americans.
I disagree vehemently, and my father is Malaysian. Malaysian English or the Malaysian accent is totally different to Chinese English. Have you heard the way people from China speak English?

There might be slightly variations but overall all races seem to a recogniseable Malaysian accent. I've certainly heard Malay people use 'lah', although it's probably more common in Singapore.
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