Can you learn Bahasa Malaysia in a day?

I am a firm believer in trying to learn the language of the country I live in (Bahasa here in KL). But, I have to confess that I have become lazy – or alternatively the part of my brain capable of learning new things has been permanently softened. I have sat through two Bahasa Malaysia courses that left me with a handful of cute phrases but nothing that would get me out of trouble. It may have something to do with never revising or the very traditional way of teaching aka a class full of mute adult learners taking notes until their hand is numb.

After admitting defeat and assuming a role an arrogant expat not making enough effort, I saw an ad of a one-day course by Crash Languages. The promise of learning a language in one day was too good not to be checked out!

I have heard about people being able to memorise a crazy amount of information by using special techniques but have never taken it too seriously. Long term expat in Indonesia and Malaysia, Caroline has put a lot of effort into researching such techniques and applying them into learning a language. The result is a one-day crash course in Bahasa Malaysia, that gives you enough vocabulary to get by in everyday situations.

While nobody can’t magically inject a new language into your brain (how come nobody’s invented that?)  this comes pretty close.

The first picture is just an example of the word play that she uses, and it seemed to work. Repetition and simple exercises really make the words stick. After lunch, the class was already playing Monopoly in Bahasa Malaysia! Time was spent efficiently and we whizzed through new topics, following a routine that makes you remember what you’ve just learned.

One day: how much Bahasa?

Obviously you can’t learn a language in a day, really. But I learned more in that one day than the two courses I’d taken before – maybe it was thanks to the small group and highly interactive methods that made me actually use my brain rather than scribble words in my notebook. This course is particularly suitable for English speakers since the memory rules are based on English.

While a more traditional classroom setting and a native teacher leaves more room for discussion on culture and customs (which obviously is not in the sphere of a whirlwind crash course), this is a fantastic introduction to anyone getting started on Bahasa Malaysia because it gets you conversing straight away – a great inspiration for further studies!

There are no set course dates yet, but Caroline and her team can be contacted through the website for information on upcoming courses. There are also plans for new languages in the future.

Bahasa Malaysia is the national language of Malaysia

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6 Responses

  1. Sounds interesting.. I took up level 1 Bahasa course at ymca.. It helped me understand bahasa quite well. Still can’t speak fluently.. Need to join level 2 which I have been dodging for a while now…

  2. I have heard good things about the YMCA courses! Am also trying to find the inspiration to go back to the classes.. A shame that there is no Crash Bahasa level 2 yet – I’d join in a heartbeat.

  3. Hi guys, we are Italian and have a chance to go with my family to kuala lumpur for work, but I really know nothing about living costs.

    I have read several of your chats and from what I see the
    costs of international schools
    Kids are expensive.
    as international school work because in Malaysia are Islamic much of the population and what are the rules to follow in public and in society, such as disks bars supermarkets and public places.
    any requirement ethically costume.
    how much a holiday?
    that area is good to live with family and a pet dog?
    how much is spent on services;
    electricity, water, gas etc? which is the average could spend on food per month in international supermarkets ie buying products export … .the truth does not know anything.
    Anyone could recommend me information sites or give us a help with this? I would appreciate it greatly.
    have a nice day

    1. Hi and welcome to KL if you decide to make the move! KL is a great city to live in, there is a lot to do with kids and great holidays to have around the region thanks to the low cost airlines. KL is a modern city and you can live as would do in any capital in the world – there are restaurants, bars, parks etc. Non-Muslims can wear what they want, but of course in certain situations it is polite to dress modestly. With dogs you may have to look around for a suitable area to live, many condos don’t allow pets and there are not many places to walk them. You can look for accommodation and prices here:

      The international schools are very expensive – that will be your biggest cost. I hope you find these links useful in regard of living cost:
      Pros & cons of moving to KL by International Nabers
      Cost of living in Kuala Lumpur
      ExpatGo Malaysia
      Expat Blog Forum

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