Field Report on Manglish

on Tuesday, March 04, 2008

"Perfessor Squirrel McNutts"
Foremost Field Anthropologist
Dear readers,
At almost no cost whatsoever, the Realm of the lone Grey Squirrel has managed to get world famous field anthropologist, "Perfessor" Squirrel McNutts, to send us his latest report from the field. "Perfessor" has just completed an extensive two day study of Malaysians. Here is his cutting edge report:-

Hello there. This is McNutts here, reporting in after a strenuous two full days in the jungles of Malaysia where I am studying that enigmatic human tribe called a Malaysian.

I have been paying particular attention to the sounds that they make. As you know squirrels all round the world speak a common language called "Chitterese", which is why world domination of the world by squirrels is just a matter of time. Humans, on the other hand seem to have developed a whole set of different "languages".

At first, the Malaysian human seemed to communicate through a series of rapid grunts and whistles but when you record it and then slow it down and play it backwards, it then sounds like some form of perverted English. Previous explorers have called it "Manglish". However, today, there is even a debate about the origin of the word "Manglish". Was it, as some believe, merely a contraction of the words "Malaysian" and "English"? Or could it be, as I believe, meant to describe how the English language had been mangled.

You decide. I have included a transcript of a recording made during this current expedition as well as my best translation into modern English.

Subject 1: "Hey you guys doing what?"
Subject 2: "Nut'in, brudder. We lepak only-lah."
Subject 1: "The new James Bond movie is on now. You wanna see or not. I hear it is damn
Subject 3: "I wanted to go yesterday but no member-lah."
Subject 1: "Jom. I'll go buy tickets for the evening show."
Subject 3: "Can call the Tan sisters or not?"
Subject 1: "Why-ah?"
Subject 2: "Aiyoo! He like Jane Tan-lah! he is like basket case around her."
Subject 1: "Sure or not? Which one is Jane Tan-ah?"
Subject 2: "She's that small chilli padi in our English class."
Subject 1: "What-lah, man! That one already got boyfriend-mah."
Subject 2: "I already said. Some more, the boyfriend very jealous one and is a Jinjang Joe."
Subject 1: "Ya-lah! Don't play-play. There are lots more fish."
Subject 3: "Ooi, you guys don't give me problem-lah. Relaks, brudders. It's one movie only
Subject 1: "Wah, like that all of us die-lah."

Subject 1: "Hello, my dear fellows. May I enquire as to what you are doing at this moment?"
Subject 2: "We are doing nothing in particular, my friend. We are just hanging out together."
Subject 1: "In that case, would you both like to go to see the new James Bond movie which is
currently showing in the cinemas. I hear that it is fantastic."
Subject 3: "I had wanted to go yesterday but could not find any one to accompany me."
Subject 1: "Come on, then. I will buy tickets for us for the evening screening."
Subject 3: "Say, can we also invite the Tan sisters to join us?"
Subject 1: "Whatever for?"
Subject 2: "He is smitten with Jane Tan, that's why. He acts like a total imbecile whenever she is
around. "
Subject 1: "Is that really true? Who is this Jane Tan anyway?"
Subject 2: "She's that small and feisty girl in our English class."
Subject 1: "Good Heavens, man! She already has a boyfriend."
Subject 2: "I have already warned him that the boyfriend is the jealous type and that he is a real
Subject 1: "Exactly! Not someone to be trifled with or taken lightly. Besides, there are many
more attractive girls out there."
Subject 3: "I would appreciate it if you both drop this matter, get off my case and just calm
down. After all, I am only talking about asking her out for just one movie."
Subject 1: "You are going to get us all in to trouble."


Tai said...


Gerbil said...

so... what you're saying is that men are hard to understand, the whole world over???

Lone Grey Squirrel said...

"LOL"? Now that's another interesting language.

It's not difficult to understand men once you realise they make no sense and that they will try anything to cover up that fact.

Open Grove Claudia said...

ahahahahahaha... I couldn't get through the whole thing because I was laughing so hard. I don't know why it hit me... you are a crack up.

Hey, I just gave you a friendship award! :)

leslie said...

When I was reading these, in my head, I was using a weird version of teenager speak for the first dialogue, and then a veddy British accent for the second.
The contrast is hilarious! Thank you Professor McNutts.
Yo-lah-mah. Funnee-mah!
Yes, I say, very amusing old chap.

Anonymous said...

You know the "why-a-duck" dialogue between Groucho and Chico?
African English and several other different types are developing fast, joy for the linguists.

Marja said...

Oh geweldige LGS I love this post, wat je schrijft is damn shiok. Ha ha

Thranslation: Oh great squirrel I love this post what you write is fantastic. ha ha

From our Dutch reporter who can speak Dutchmanglish


Molly said...

I think the mangled idea is closer to the truth-lah!

leslie said...

This is hilarious! Really enjoyed it. lol

Ruth D~ said...

You must have had as much fun writing this as I had reading it!

Dr.John said...

I always appreciate a good language lesson.

Janice Thomson said...

Oh too good Lgs - loved this post!

squirrelmama said...

I have it on good authority that Male Squirrels speak a very peculiar form of Chitterese too, particularly during football season.

Jocelyn said...

I had to do an oral interpretation of the first script here in my tv room.

I was quite good, if I say so myself.

Very fun post!

Lone Grey Squirrel said...

Thanks for the award. That is so nice of you.

Thanks for the kind words and for trying to learn Manglish. When in doubt-ah, just add-lah the terms "ah", "lah" and "mah" at strategic places-lah.

Lone Grey Squirrel said...

You have mentioned this "why a duck" thing before. I don't know it but I will definitely look into it. It sounds interesting.

There are some dutch words in the Malay language but I can't remember an example at the moment.

Lone Grey Squirrel said...

"By jove, she's got it!" You sentence had the perfect use of the word "lah".

greetings to the new koochi-rat of the family. (means small baby).

Lone Grey Squirrel said...

Well, I did have a lot of fun doing this which means, I hope, you had lots of fun reading it.

It may have been a good lesson but it was always about a poor use of the English language

Lone Grey Squirrel said...

:-) -lah.

I bow to your authority on the subject!

Well done-lah!

Becky Wolfe said...

Too funny! This is true in all cultures I'm sure!

Sarah O. said...


So you're the person from Malaysia who reads my blog! I figured the Malaysian was one of those people finding my blog by Googling "transgender weddings". Sheesh. I write about my daughter's teacher's unusual lifestyle and I attract unusual bloggers from the ends of the Earth. Forever.

Anyhoo, this is my first time visiting your blog and it won't be my last. Excellent blog!

Anonymous said...

In Hawaii there is a similar kind of pidgen English - it takes quite a while to be able to get any of it.

Lone Grey Squirrel said...

Indeed, true.

Guilty of being Malaysian but innocent on the charge of googling for trangender weddings. See you around.

Hawaii, too? Haven't been there. Hmmmmm.

Josie said...

LGS, that it too funny!

I have also heard that if you show Manglish down and play it backwards, it says "Paul is dead".

Lone Grey Squirrel said...

forgive my ignorance but Paul? Which Paul are we talking about here. Only one that comes to mind is Paul from Peter, Paul and Mary and I have no idea if he is dead or not.

A Happy Downtowner said...

Oh too funny... good thing I am reading this at home because you have to read it out loud to really appreciate it! Thank you so much for the chuckle tonight :)

Odat said...

You squirrels are a nutty bunch!
World domination...pfffttt!

Lone Grey Squirrel said...

Would love to hear you read it aloud and see how close you get to the real thing.

Do not look down on the lowly, nutty squirrel. All that cute nut gathering is just an act to get you to come closer and then one day....Ka-pow! World domination. Matter of time! :)

chipazoid said...

Wei wei wei! It's singlish, ok! Where got this claim of manglish one? ;P

Lone Grey Squirrel said...

Welcome. Let's just agree that Singlish and Manglish have the same cultural roots and similar cultural Phua Chu Kang. :)

chipazoid said...

Phua Chu Kang, best in Singapore and JB, and some say Batam. Don't pray pray ok?

Lol, that brings back memories. Anyway thanks, I haven't been home in 2 years and I was starting to miss the old Mang/Singlish.

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