8. The encroachment of English in Malaysian cultural expression

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Malay is the national language of Malaysia. As such, there have been various policies and rules implemented to ensure that it is a dominant and widely used language in the country. However, its position and integrity have been pressured by the former colonial language, English. This chapter gives some examples of how English has permeated Malay cultural expression in literature, film and in the language of songs, and the various reactions to this, both positive and negative. Although the integrity of the language might be affected by excessive use of English words or phrases, some borrowings from English might be useful, especially if there are no equivalent words in Malay. While the dividing lines between practicality and linguistic integrity, and between aesthetic independence and the dilution of culture, may not always be clear, there are some examples, as discussed in this chapter, which could have resulted in a more moderate response.


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