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
RegionMalaysia :


Merapoh, Pahang

Besut and Setiu, Terengganu

Baling, Sik and Padang Terap, Kedah

Hulu Perak, Pengkalan Hulu and Grik, Perak

Thailand :




Southern of Songkhla

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, Arabic Script (Jawi)
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 a guide to 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 and a Malayic / Malayan language 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 a highly divergent language of Malay because of the geographical isolation of the dialect from the rest of the Malay world by high mountains, deep rainforest and the Gulf of Thailand. In Thailand, it is 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 who are not taught the standard language, for example, those in Thailand. 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 different also from Kedah Malay, Pahang Malay and Terengganuan Malay, but those languages have close similarities with the Kelantanese-Pattani Malay language especially Terengganuan just differ in pronunciation and some words.

Writing system[edit]

Kelantanese Malay has an older and a richer literary history than standard Malay.[citation needed] It is written 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 variety 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, as well as because of numerous inconsistencies and inaccuracies.[citation needed]

Dua as a spoken language and not regional official language status of both areas. We can say that Kelantan-Pattani language is using Thai alphabets in Southern Thai and in Kelantan using mostly Rumi (Roman alphabets).


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.

Variants and Dialects[edit]

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 district of Pahang.

Many people in the districts of Baling, Sik and Padang Terap in Kedah as well as Grik and Hulu Perak districts 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 also former areas of Reman Kingdom of Patani.

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.

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.


  • /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.


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 the other 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.


  1. ^ Kelantan-Pattani Malay at Ethnologue (18th ed., 2015)
  2. ^ Hammarström, Harald; Forkel, Robert; Haspelmath, Martin, eds. (2017). "Kelantan-Pattani Malay". Glottolog 3.0. Jena, Germany: Max Planck Institute for the Science of Human History.
  • 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.