January 16, 2009

Malaysianspeak- Lah


A Manglish particle used primarily at the end of sentences to affirm a point or statement. Also to add weight to a sentence not unlike an exclamation mark.

Malaysian Usage:

i) Ya lah
ii) No lah
iii) Economy bad lah
iv) Petrol price down lah
v) Go mamak lah
vi) Virtually with anything


a) He's getting married lah. No more crazy nights out already. It's parenthood and Pampers for him now lah!

b) Yeah lah, she's like that one. You can't save a damsel who likes her distress lah.

c) Your fault lah! Who asked you to come late?


Lah is ubiquitously used in the Malaysian lexicon. Much like other Malaysian phrases or colloquialisms, its usage can be varied to signify diverse emotions, connotations or expressions. If you are unfamiliar with the use of Lah, observe how real Malaysians incorporate it into daily conversations before attempting it. Otherwise you run the risk of sounding obnoxious. Or French. Same thing really.


Grace said...

However "uncouth" people perceive Manglish particles to be, we should actually be proud of them. The usage of "lah", for one, isn't easy to master. "Lah" used in different tones could bring different meanings to the statement. LOL, some foreigners try to "lah" and it doesn't work since they place the lah's at the wrong parts of the sentence. :) I'm proud of our particles.
Don't be like that lah! Just use them lah!

kaioucat said...

I've heard Indians from India using "lah" in their conversation. It's weird because they speak such grammatically correct English and then suddenly it ends with a "lah".

Same goes for some ang mohs.

"Lah" really only works with Manglish or Singlish, me thinks.

B.H. said...

Grace and Kaioucat,

Thank you for the anecdotes. Lah.


Jeff said...

I'm slowing learning it. My best phrase so far is:

"Can!, lah"

I think that means "yes, you can do that"

Anonymous said...

ain't it like obvious thing which i don't think u need to state it down. get some freakin common sense grace!

i disagree with kaioucat. dude, wanna get ur ears cleaned? they use it here because they got use to our longhat of 'lah'. trust me, in india people will end differently.
p/s: im not indian but i can realise that. wtf!!

dear jeff, can lah means maybe there is a possibility to do it. can lah does not show an entire green light. it really depends on your way of gesture. trust me, this can-lah by saying it long, means maybe can be done. can-lah in a short timeline means its possible.

are you guys really malaysian or some rich kids whom rather lepak in old town coffee than a typical road side mamak?

anyways B.H. u can say all you want bout me but dude, u know deep down that those comments are the same as not having one.


B.H. said...


Bolehlah. Keep working on it, you'll get there.


I believe everyone's entitled to an opinion, even one as acerbic.

And for that matter, why would rich kids hang out at Old Town?

I suggest you adjust your cultural zeitgeist, compadre.


Mr.Clive said...

we should be proud of this.
it's part of our identity anyway. :)

Anonymous said...

Dear annoyingmous,
You certainly have proven to us all that you've mastered the "lah" but work on the manners and English please (I'd say work more on the manners)

Don't go telling people off on how to use the "lah", word ain't yours "lah".
P.S: Your Manglish is oh-so-perfect, thumbs up on that.

Anyway, props on this post. Very informative on the "lah". My Canadian guy friend would love this. He uses the "lah" in all the wrong places too. Pretty adorable I must say. o^___^o

Deirdre said...

An 11 year old student of mine recently asked me if lah was English or Malaysian. Very endearing :)

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Amri AlSabri said...

likes this

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Oh this is great, I guess I can learn thai very easy, I learn japanese in 1 year, and this will not be the exception, thanks.

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