Help:IPA for Malay

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The charts below show the way in which the International Phonetic Alphabet (IPA) represents Malay (Malaysian and Indonesian) pronunciations in Wikipedia articles. See Malay phonology for a more thorough look at the sounds of Malay.

English approximations are in some cases very loose, and only intended to give a general idea of the pronunciation.

IPA Examples nearest English equivalent
b bola[1] beau
d dari[1] do
jari job
f fikir, visa[2] festival
ɡ galah[3] gain
h habis, tokoh hat
j yakin, kaya yes
k kalah[1][3] sky
l lama clean
m makan moon
n nakal note
ŋ ngarai feeling
ɲ nyaman canyon
p pola[1] spy
r raja, dari, pasar trilled 'r'[4]
s saya six
ʃ syak[2] shoe
t tari[1] sty
cari check
v visa[2] vision
w waktu, Jawa we
x khas[2] Scottish Loch
z zaman[2] zero
ʔ bapak [1][3]
IPA Examples nearest English equivalent
a ajar, buka[6][7] father
e serong, kare, pilih, yakin, kirim[8] clay[9]
ɛ pek, teh, bebek[10] festival
i bila, ini see
ɪ kirim[10] bin
o roda, toko, tujuh, rumput[8] sole[11]
ɔ pohon[10] sort
u upah, baru moon
ʊ rumput[10] foot
ə gelak, buka[6] about

IPA Examples nearest English equivalent
au kalau[8] how
ai capai[8] bye
oi, ui sepoi boy (uncommon)

Other symbols
IPA Explanation
ˈ Primary stress
Placed before the stressed syllable[12]


  1. ^ a b c d e f /p/, /t/, /k/ are unaspirated, as in the Romance languages, or as in English spy, sty, sky. In final position, they are unreleased [p̚, t̪̚, ʔ̚], with final k being a glottal stop. /b, d/ are also unreleased, and therefore devoiced, [p̚, t̚]. There is no liaison: they remain unreleased even when followed by a vowel, as in kulit ubi "potato skins", though they are pronounced as a normal medial consonant when followed by a suffix.
  2. ^ a b c d e The fricatives [f, z, ʃ, x] are found in loanwords only. Some speakers pronounce orthographic ‹v› in loanwords as [v]; otherwise it is [f]. The fricative [z] can also be an allophone of /s/ before voiced consonants.
  3. ^ a b c The glottal stop [ʔ] is an allophone of /k/ and /ɡ/ in the coda: baik, bapak. It is also used between identical vowels in hiatus. Only a few words have this sound in the middle, e.g. bakso (meatballs). It may be represented by an apostrophe in Arabic derived words such as Al Qur'an.
  4. ^ In traditional Malay areas, the rhotic consonant /r/ is realized as a velar or uvular fricative, [ɣ] or [ʁ], and elided word-finally. Elsewhere, including in Standard Indonesian, it is an alveolar tap [ɾ] or trill [r]. Its position relative to schwa is ambiguous: kertas "paper" may be pronounced [krəˈtas] or [kərəˈtas].
  5. ^ The nasal consonants /m, n, ŋ, ɲ/ nasalize following vowels, and may nasalize a subsequent vowel if the intervening consonant is /h, j, w, ʔ/.
  6. ^ a b In Malaysian, word-final /a/ is often reduced to [ə].
  7. ^ [ɑ] is an occasional allophone of /a/ after or before more carefully pronounced consonant from Arabic loanwords, example: qari [qɑri].
  8. ^ a b c d [e, o] are allophones of /i, u/ in native words, but have become established as distinct phonemes in English and Javanese loan words. The diphthongs /ai, au/, which only occur in open syllables, are often merged into [e, o], respectively, especially in Java.
  9. ^ The Malay/Indonesian /e/ doesn't quite line up with any English vowel, though the nearest equivalents are the vowel of clay (for most English dialects) and the vowel of get. The Malay/Indonesian vowel is usually articulated at a point between the two.
  10. ^ a b c d /e, i, o, u/ in Indonesian language have lax allophones [ɛ, ɪ, ɔ, ʊ] in closed final syallbles, except that tense [i, u] occur in stressed syllables with a coda nasal, and lax [ɛ, ɔ] also occur in open syllables if the following syllable contains the same lax vowel.
  11. ^ The Malay /o/ doesn't quite line up with any English vowel, though the nearest equivalents are the vowel of sole (for most English dialects) and the vowel of raw. The Malay/Indonesian vowel is usually articulated at a point between the two.
  12. ^ Stress generally falls on the penultimate syllable. If that syllable contains a schwa [ə], stress shifts to the antepenult if there is one, and to the final syllable if there is not. Some suffixes are ignored for stress placement.