Kelantan-Pattani Malay

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Kelantan-Pattani Malay
Baso Pattani
Baso Kelaté
بهاس ملايو ڤطاني / كلنتن
Bahasa Melayu Patani / Kelantan
Native toMalaysia, Thailand
Merapoh, Pahang
Besut and Setiu, Terengganu
Baling, Sik and Padang Terap, Kedah
Hulu Perak (Pengkalan Hulu and Grik), Perak

Songkhla (Hat Yai, Sadao)
EthnicityPatani Malays
Bangkok Malays
Kelantanese Malays
Baling Malay
Grik Malay
Reman Malays
Native speakers
3 million in Thailand (2006)[1]
2 million in Malaysia[citation needed]
Latin script, Thai script, Jawi script
Language codes
ISO 639-3mfa (Pattani)
This article contains IPA phonetic symbols. Without proper rendering support, you may see question marks, boxes, or other symbols instead of Unicode characters. For an introductory guide on IPA symbols, see Help:IPA.

Kelantan-Pattani Malay, often referred to in Thailand as Yawi (in Thai) or Jawi (in Patani Malay) and in Kelantan as Baso Kelaté, is an Austronesian language of the Malayic subfamily spoken in the Malaysian state of Kelantan and the neighbouring southernmost provinces of Thailand. It is the primary spoken language of Thai Malays, but is also used as a lingua franca by ethnic Southern Thais in rural areas, Muslim and non-Muslim and the samsam, a mostly Thai-speaking population of mixed Malay and Thai ancestry.

Kelantan-Pattani Malay is highly divergent from other Malay varieties because of its geographical isolation from the rest of the Malay world by high mountains, deep rainforest and the Gulf of Thailand. In Thailand, it is also influenced by Thai.

Kelantanese-Pattani Malay is distinct enough that radio broadcasts in Standard Malay cannot be understood easily by native speakers of Kelantanese-Pattani Malay, such as those in Thailand, who are not taught the standard language. Unlike Malaysia where Standard Malay is compulsory in the school curriculum, no one is required to learn Standard Malay in Thailand and so there is potentially less language influence from standard Malay but potentially more from Thai. It is also distinct from Kedah Malay, Pahang Malay and Terengganuan Malay, but those languages still have a close relationship with the Kelantanese-Pattani Malay language.

Writing system[edit]

Kelantanese Malay is written both in Latin and in the Jawi alphabet, based on the Arabic script, which is where the name "Yawi/Jawi" for the language comes from. This is in stark contrast to the rest of the general population of Malay speakers in both Malaysia and Indonesia that now use the Latin script, known in Malay as rumi (رومي), for daily communication. Today, Pattani Malay itself is generally not a written language, though it is sometimes written in informal settings or eye dialect. When writing is needed, an old-fashioned form of standard Malay is used rather than the local dialect. A phonetic rendering of Pattani Malay in the Thai alphabet has been introduced, but it has not met with much success, due to the socio-religious significance of Jawi to Muslim Malays.[citation needed]


The language is often referred to in Thai as Phasa Yawi (Thai: ภาษายาวี [pʰāːsǎː jāːwīː]), which is a corruption of the Malay name for the modified Arabic alphabet for writing Malay, Jawi (Yawi: جاوي, Rumi: Jawi, IPA: [dʑaˈwi]). It is also referred to in Thai as Phasa Malayu Pattani (Thai: ภาษามลายูปัตตานี [pʰāːsǎː mālāːjūː pàttāːnīː]) and similarly locally in Malay as Bahasa Malayu Patani (Jawi: بهاس ملايو ڤطاني, Rumi: Bahasa Melayu Patani, local pronunciation: [baˈsɔ ˈnːaju ˈtːaniŋ]). The language is often simply just called Bahasa Patani.

Kelantanese is known in Standard Malay as Bahasa Kelantan, and in Kelantanese as Baso Kelaté. It is also known as Baso Besut or Kecek Kelaté-Besut in Besut and Setiu of Terengganu State.

Other variant of Kelantan-Patani Language is Reman variant and also known as Bahasa Reman (according to area of these speakers and spoken areas were under Reman state of Pattani Kingdom that abolished in 1909 in which areas of Batu Kurau, inland Perak (Gerik, Pengkalan Hulu, Lenggong) and inland Kedah (Sik, Baling, Padang Terap). The Reman viarants are known in various names such as Bahasa Patani, Bahasa Patani Kedah-Perak, Basa Grik, Cakak Hulu, Basa Kapong, Basa Baling etc. It is also known as ""Dialect of Kedah Hulu" (for those in Kedah) and "Dialect of Perak Hulu" (for those in Perak) but these two terms are only apply for political and geographical rather than linguistically. This Reman variant has many dialects and subdialects across the areas this variant spoken.[citation needed]


There are 21 consonants and 12 vowels in Pattani Malay.[2] The phonemes /r/ and /z/ only appear in some loanwords or proper names.[3]

Pattani Malay consonants
Bilabial Alveolar Palato-alveolar Palatal Velar Glottal
Nasal m n ɲ ŋ
Plosive voiceless p t c k ʔ
voiced b d ɟ ɡ
Fricative voiceless s h
voiced z ɣ
Semivowel w j
Lateral l
Trill r
Pattani Malay vowels
Front Central Back
oral nasal oral nasal oral nasal
High i ɨ u ũ
Mid e o
Low ɛ ɛ̃ a ã ɔ ɔ̃


Kelantan-Pattani Malay can be divided into 3 major variants and several dialects (and a few subdialects) thusly:

Kelantan: Coastal (Narathiwat, Besut dialects), Central / River, Dabong / Inland

Pattani: Yala, Saiburi, Bana Taning, Chenok / Chana, Nonthaburi / Bangkok

Reman: Grik, Sik, Baling, Padang Terap, Batu Kugho / Selama, Southern Yala

  • The Reman variants of Kedah & Perak show some vocabulary influence from Perak Malay and Kedah Malay (eg. mika (you), ang / hang (you), ciwi (brag / show off), etc.).

Creole/Pidgin: Samsam Malay (a mixed language of Thai and Pattani Malay spoken by those of mixed Thai-Malay ancestry)


Kelantanese is spoken in the Malaysian state of Kelantan, as well as in Besut and Setiu districts of Terengganu and the Perhentian Islands. It is also spoken in the Merapoh township, in the Lipis district of Pahang since this town borders the state of Kelantan.

Many people in the districts of Baling, Sik and Padang Terap in Kedah as well as the Hulu Perak district of Perak speak Kelantan-Patani language of Reman dialects, since most of the Malay people there are the descendants of Kelantanese migrants and Pattani refugees (in which whereby these regions were once parts of the Reman Kingdom of Pattani).

Pattani Malay is the main language of the Thai provinces of Narathiwat, Yala and Pattani where ethnic Malays make up the majority of the population, it is also spoken in some parts of Songkhla and Bangkok. It is less spoken in the province of Satun, where despite making up the majority, ethnic Malays generally speak Southern Thai and their Malay dialect is similar to Kedah Malay. It is also spoken in scattered villages as far north as Hat Yai. In the past, Malay was the main language as far north as the Isthmus of Kra, the traditional division between Central Thailand and Southern Thailand, based on the preponderance of etymologically Malay place names.[citation needed]

Differences between Yawi and Standard Malay[edit]

Kelantanese is different enough from Standand Malay that it is often unintelligible to speakers of the standard language. Differences include different vocabulary, but also involve regular sound changes. The influence of Southern Thai and Pattani Malay upon each other is great, and both have large numbers of loanwords from the other. The influence of the Thai language is one factor that makes comprehension between Pattani Malay and Standard Malay difficult.[citation needed]


  • /a/ followed by a nasal consonant changes to /ɛː/
    ayam ايم‎ ('chicken') becomes ayē; makan ماکن‎ (to eat) becomes makē
  • /a/ at the end of syllables changes to /ɔʔ/
    minta مينتا‎ ('to ask') becomes mito’
  • /ah/ changes /ɔh/
    rumah رومه‎ ('house') becomes rumoh (pronounced /'ʀuːmɔh/)
  • /a/ changes to /ɔ/
    bewa بيوا‎ becomes bewo
  • /i/ nasalized and changes to /iŋ/
    sini سيني‎ ('here' or 'seat') becomes sining
  • /ua/ changes to /ɔ/
    buaso بواسو‎ ('to become ordained') becomes bosō
  • /aj/ becomes /aː/
    sungai سوڠاي‎ ('river' or 'canal') becomes sungā
  • /aw/ becomes /a/
    pisau ڤيساو‎ ('knife') changes to pisā
  • /ia/ before a nasal consonant changes to = /ijɛ/
    siam سيام‎ ('Siam') becomes siyē
  • /ia/ changes to /ɛ/
    biasa بياسا‎ ('normal' or 'make use of') becomes besō
  • /s/ and /f/ at the end of syllables changes to /h/
    malas مالس‎ ('lazy') changes to malah
  • /m/ and /n/ at the end of syllables changes to /ŋ/
    hakim حاکيم‎ (judge) changes to hakéng (/hʌkeɪŋ/)
  • /r/ changes to /ʀ/
    orang اورڠ‎ ('person') becomes oghē
  • final consonants are often only pronounced as a glottal stop.
    bukit بوکيت‎ ('hill') becomes buké’ (bukeɪʔ)
  • words are distinguished between lengthened initial consonant
    bule ('moon') vs. bːulɛ ('many months' or 'for months'); katok ('to strike', 'to hit') vs. kːatok ('frog'); siku ('elbow') vs. sːiku ('hand tool', from word 'sesiku')


Bahasa Kelantan-Pattani (BKP) vs Bahasa Melayu (BM)

(Be)Gapo / Apo /(Ge/Pe)Namo vs Apa (What)

Sapo vs Siapa (Who)

Bilo vs Bila (When)

Mano vs Mana (Where)

Bakpo vs Kenapa/Mengapa (Why)

Lagumano vs Bagaimana (How)

Joong vs Mendung (Cloudy)

Tebolah vs Cuai (Careless)

KATok vs Katak (Frog)

Katok vs Pukul / Ketuk (Beat)

Selalu / lALu vs Sekarang (Right Away, Now)

Sokmo vs Selalu (Always)

  • Bold word indicates stressed pitch that also does not exist in Standard Malay or any Malayan languages and Malay dialects except Terengganuan and Pahangnese Malay.[citation needed]


Southern Thailand has continued to be a region affected by two cultural spheres: the mainly Buddhist, Thai-speaking Siamese kingdoms and the mainly Muslim, Malay-speaking sultanates. The region was a warehouse of trade where merchants from Europe, India, Arabia, China, Siam, and other parts of the Malay world met. At first dominated by Hindu-Buddhist Indian influences, the great kingdom of Srivijaya would later fall in chaos. Islam was introduced by Arab and Indian traders in the 11th century and has been the dominant religion ever since, replacing the Buddhism and Hinduism that had held sway before. By the 14th century, the area became vassals to Ayutthaya, but the region was autonomous and never fully incorporated into the modern Thai nation-state till 1902. This political autonomy and isolation from the rest of the Malay world allowed for preservation of the Malay language and culture but also led to the divergence of the dialect.[citation needed]



  1. ^ Kelantan-Pattani Malay at Ethnologue (18th ed., 2015)
  2. ^ Nawanit 1986, pp. 126–127.
  3. ^ Nawanit 1986, pp. 136.


  • Nawanit, Yupho (1986). "Consonant Clusters and Stress Rules in Pattani Malay" (PDF). The Mon-Khmer Studies Journal. 15: 125–138.
  • ประพนธ์ เรืองณรงค์. บุหงาปัตตานี: คติชนไทยมุสลิมชายแดนภาคใต้. กทม. มติชน. 2540
  • Ishii, Yoneo. (1998). The Junk Trade from Southeast Asia: Translations from the Tôsen Fusesu-gaki 1674–1723. Institute of Southeast Asian Studies. ISBN 981-230-022-8.
  • Cummings, Joe et al. (2005). Thailand Lonely Planet. ISBN 1-74059-697-8.
  • Laver, John. (1994). Principles of Phonetics. Cambridge University Press. ISBN 0-521-45655-X.
  • Smalley, William A. (1994). Linguistic Diversity and National Unity: Language Ecology in Thailand. Chicago: University of Chicago Press. ISBN 978-0226762890.