Lexical Borrowings by Malaysian ESL Teachers

  •  Jantmary Thirusanku    
  •  Melor Md Yunus    


Language purists have viewed Malaysian English as divergence from native speakers’ conventions due to lack of estimation of the language. Much need to be done before Malaysian English can be accurately described and codified. Hence, this qualitative study intends to show the range of usage of Standard Malaysian English lexis, that is the acrolectal variety, in the written and spoken discourse of 203 English as Second Language (ESL) teachers in 38 National Secondary Schools in the Klang district in Selangor. The main aims are to detect and categorise the types of lexical borrowings from three main languages in Malaysia namely Malay, Chinese and Indian languages used by the ESL teachers, to what extent these lexical borrowings are used and for what reasons. This study has identified and collected 483 lexical items over a period of one year that is, from December 2011 to November 2012, whereby qualitative data is interpreted quantitatively. The findings of this study show that the ESL teachers mainly use the lexical items from the Malay language more frequently as it is the official language and has a prestigious placing. Borrowings from the local languages show that the English language is still in contact with other languages to express new ideas and concepts and mostly to retain the culture and tradition of Malaysians regardless of ethnicity. It is prone to change according to the users’ needs and to express themselves with respect to their needs to enhance and enrich the language and culture.

This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.