Kelantan-Pattani Malay

Kelantan-Pattani Malay (Malay: bahasa Melayu Kelantan/Patani; Thai: ภาษายาวี; Jawi in Pattani; baso Kelate in Kelantan) is an Austronesian language of the Malayic subfamily spoken in the Malaysian state Kelantan, Besut and Setiu in Terengganu, and the southernmost neighboring province 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 Sam-Sam, a mostly Thai-speaking population of mixed Malay and Thai ancestry.

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

Patani region, Songkhla Province (Sabayoi, Chana, Nathawi, Thepha), Minburi area (Min Buri), Lat Krabang, Khlongsamwa, Nong Chok)
EthnicityPatani Malays
Bangkok Malays
Kelantanese Malays
Besut Malays
Baling Malay
Grik Malay
Reman Malays
Native speakers
3 million in Thailand (2006)[1]
2 million in Malaysia
Latin script, Thai script, Jawi script
Language codes
ISO 639-3mfa (Pattani)
  Majority spoke
  Minority spoke

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 rainforests 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 Kelantan-Pattani Malay, such as those in Thailand, who are not taught the standard variety of the 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 Terengganu Malay, but those languages are much more closely related to the Kelantanese-Pattani Malay language.


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

Kelantanese is known in Standard Malay as bahasa Kelantan, and in Kelantanese as baso Kelate. It is also known as baso Besut or Kecek Kelate-Besut in Besut and Setiu of Terengganu State.

One variant of Kelantan-Pattani Malay is the Reman variant, also known as bahasa Reman (according to the speakers of this area; the areas where this variant was spoken were under the Reman state of the Kingdom of Pattani that was abolished in 1902 in which the areas were Batu Kurau, inland Perak (Gerik, Pengkalan Hulu, Lenggong) and inland Kedah (Sik, Baling, Padang Terap)). The Reman viarants are known as various names such as bahasa Patani, bahasa Patani Kedah-Perak, basa Grik, Cakak Hulu, basa Kapong, basa Baling etc. It is also known as the Kedah Hulu dialect (in Kedah) and the Perak Hulu dialect (in Perak) but these two terms only apply to political and geographical factors rather than linguistic ones. This Reman variant has many dialects and subdialects across the areas where this variant is spoken.

Writing system

Kelantanese Malay is written both in Latin and in the Jawi alphabet, a writing system based on the Arabic script. This is in stark contrast to the rest of the general population of Malay speakers in both Malaysia and Indonesia that now mainly 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. 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 been met with much success, due to the socio-religious significance of Jawi to Muslim Malays.


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 until 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.


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

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 and Perak show some vocabulary influence from Perak Malay and Kedah Malay (e.g. 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 Narathiwat, Yala and Pattani where ethnic Malays make up the majority of the population, it is also spoken in 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.


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


Nawawit (1986)
Bilabial 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


Nawawit (1986)
Front Central Back
oral nasal oral nasal oral nasal
High i ɨ u ũ
Mid e o
Low ɛ ɛ̃ a ã ɔ ɔ̃
Adi Yasran (2010), Teoh (1994)
Front Central Back
High i u
Mid e ə o
Low a


  • The close central unrounded vowel /ɨ/ is believed to actually be a schwa /ə/ according to Teoh (1994) and Adi Yasran (2005)
  • Before a final /k/ and final /h/ coda and in open-ended words, /a/ is pronounced as:
    • Open back unrounded [ɑ] according to Adi Yasran (2006, 2010)[3][4] and Zaharani (2006)[3]
    • Open-mid back rounded [ɔ] according to Nawanit (1986)
    • Near-open central [ɐ] according to Teoh (1984)[5]
  • Many such as Adi Yasran (2010) and Teoh and Yeoh (1988) believe that the nasal vowels of Kelantan-Pattani Malay do not count as phonemes

Comparison with Standard Malay

Kelantan-Pattani Malay is different enough from Standand Malay that it is often unintelligible to speakers of the standard language. Differences include some differences in vocabulary, and different sound correspondences. The influence of Southern Thai and the Kelantan-Pattani Malay in Pattani upon each other is great, and both have large numbers of loanwords from the other. The influence of the Thai language makes comprehension between the Pattani variety of Kelatan-Pattani Malay and Standard Malay a bit more difficult than comprehension between the Kelantanese variety of Kelantan-Pattani Malay and Standard Malay.


Correspondence Rule

(SM ≙ NSM)

Standard Malay


Kelantan-Pattani Malay


English Translation
Final /a/ with nasal coda Long nasal [ɛ̃ː] ayam /ajam/ [ajɛ̃ː] 'chicken'
Initial /ia/ Open-mid front [ɛ] biasa /biasa/ [bɛsɑː] 'normal'
Final /a/ in open-ended words Long [ɑː] sana /sana/ [sanɑː] 'there'
/a/ in final /ah/ Open back unrounded [ɑ] rumah /rumah/ [ɣumɑh] 'house'
/a/ in final /ak/ masak /masak/ [masɑʔ] 'cooking'
Initial /ua/ Open-mid [ɔ] puasa /puasa/ [pɔsɑː] 'fasting'
Final /ai/ Long [aː] sungai /suŋai/ [suŋaː] 'river'
Final /au/ pisau /pisau/ [pisaː] 'knife'


Correspondence Rule

(SM ≙ NSM)

Standard Malay


Kelantan-Pattani Malay


English Translation
Final coda /f/ Glottal fricative [h] maaf /maaf/ [maah] 'sorry'
Final coda /s/ panas /panas/ [panah] 'hot'
Initial, mid and

final /r/

Velar fricative [ɣ] reban /rəban/ [ɣəbɛ̃ː] 'coop'
Coda /r/ Omitted permata /pərmata/ [pəmatɑ] 'jewellery'
Final coda /l/ tinggal /tiŋɡal/ [tiŋɡaː] 'leave'
Final coda /p/ Glottal stop [ʔ] letup /lətup/ [lətuʔ] 'to explode'
Final coda /t/ sesat /səsat/ [səsaʔ] 'lost'
Final coda /k/ masak /masak/ [masok] 'to cook'
Final coda /m/

and /n/ after

non-a vowel

Velar nasal [ŋ] mungkin /muŋkin/ [mũkiŋ] 'maybe'


Basic Words[6]
Kelantan-Pattani Malay Standard Malay English Translation
jamah pegang 'to hold'
goba risau 'worried'
ghohok susah 'difficult'
getek juga 'too'
kekoh gigit 'to bite'
kelorek kedekut 'greedy'
kesit sunyi 'quiet'
tubik keluar 'exit/out'
mmupo mandi sungai 'river bathing'
nnate binatang 'animal'
gege bising 'noisy'
petong baling 'to throw'
ggapo apa 'what'
dok bukan 'not'
betak kenyang 'full'


  • The spelling used for the Kelantan-Pattani Malay words is an eye dialect.


Gemination occurs for various purposes and in various forms in Kelatan-Pattani Malay. At the phonemic level, these geminations are transcribed as /CC/ but they are pronounced as [Cː] so /dd/ is pronounced as [dː].[7]

Initial syllable reduction

These geminations are derived by deleting the initial syllable and replacing it with a geminated form of the initial consonant of the remaining word.

  • From simple words
    • betina /bətina/ > /ttina/ [tːinɑː] 'woman'
    • buwi /buwi/ > /wwi/ [wːi] 'to give'
  • From prefixed words
    • berjalan /bərɟalan/ > /ɟɟalan/ [ɟːalɛ̃ː] 'to walk'
    • berdiri /bərdiri/ > /ddiri/ [dːiɣi] 'to stand up'

Initial morpheme reduction

These geminates are derived by deleting the initial morpheme of a reduplicated word and replacing it with a geminated form of the remaining morpheme. Unlike the geminations acquired from initial syllable reduction, these geminates are not free variants of their Standard Malay counterparts.

  • From the reduplicated form of a word
    • baik-baik /baik baik/ > /bbaik/ [bːaiʔ] 'well'
    • molek-molek /molek molek/ > /mmolek/ [mːɔlɛʔ] 'properly'
  • From words that are reduplications of a single word
    • layang-layang /lajaŋ lajaŋ/ > /llajaŋ/ [lːajɛ̃ː] 'kite'
    • kura-kura /kura kura/ > /kkura/ [kːuɣɑː] 'tortoise'

Functional word reduction

In this situation, a word with a function is deleted and the word afterwards is geminated. This sort of gemination is a free variant of its Standard Malay counterpart.

  • From a verbal linker
    • basuh buwi cuci /basuh buwi cuci/ > /basuh ccuci/ [basuh cːuci] 'to wash clean'
    • taruh buwi panjang /taruh buwi paɲɟaŋ/ > /taruh ppaɲɟaŋ/ [taɣuh pːaɲɟɛ̃ː] 'to keep something so it'll grow long'
  • From preposition reduction
    • ke darat /kə darat/ > /ddarat/ [dːaɣaʔ] 'to/at/from the shore'
    • sejak pagi /səɟak paɡi/ > /ppaɡɡi/ [pːaɡi] 'since the morning'


Many loanwords tend to have initial geminated consonants too.

  • tar /tar/ > /ttar/ [tːaː] 'tar'


Kelantan-Pattani Malay has a set of stress rules that is quite different to that of Standard Malay.[8]

Words with initial simple consonants

Generally, in Kelantan-Pattani Malay, the primary stress falls on the last syllable if the word starts with a single consonant.

  • nak /nak/ > [ˈnɑ̃ʔ] 'to want'
  • dalam /dalam/ > [ˌdaˈlɛ̃ː] 'in'
  • gelisah /ɡəlisah/ > [ɡəˌliˈsɑh] 'restless'

However, in words with more than one syllable, syllables with a schwa /ə/ are unstressed.

  • petang /pətaŋ/ > [pəˈtɛ̃ː] 'afternoon'
  • belakang /bəlakaŋ/ > [bəˌlaˈkɛ̃ː] 'back'

Syllables that do not have the schwa and are not in the word-final position take the secondary stress.

  • jalan /ɟalan/ > [ˌɟaˈlɛ̃ː] 'path'
  • makanan /makanan/ > [ˌmãˌkɛˈnɛ̃ː] 'food'

Words with geminated consonants

If a word has an initial syllable with a geminated consonant, that syllable automatically takes the primary stress.

  • berjalan /bərɟalan/ > /ɟɟalan/ [ˈɟːaˌlɛ̃ː] 'to walk'
  • ke darat /kə darat/ > /ddarat/ [ˈdːaˌɣaʔ] 'to/at/from the shore'



  1. Kelantan-Pattani Malay at Ethnologue (18th ed., 2015) (subscription required)
  2. Nawanit Yupho 1989, pp. 126–127.
  3. Adi Yasran Abdul Aziz & Zaharani Ahmad, p. 76.
  4. Adi Yasran Abdul Aziz 2010, p. 1.
  5. Adi Yasran Abdul Aziz 2010, pp. 14–15.
  6. "Kamus Kelantan: Loghat Kelate". Pencarian Bijak (in Malay). 1 November 2010. Retrieved 18 May 2021.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  7. Nawanit Yupho 1989, pp. 129–133.
  8. Nawanit Yupho 1989, pp. 133–135.


  • Adi Yasran Abdul Aziz (2010). "Inventori Vokal Dialek Melayu Kelantan: Satu Penilaian Semula". Jurnal Linguistik (in Malay). 11: 1–19.
  • Adi Yasran Abdul Aziz; Zaharani Ahmad. "Kelegapan Fonologi dalam Rima Suku Kata Tertutup Dialek Kelantan: Satu Analisis Teori Simpati". Jurnal Bahasa (in Malay). 6: 76–96.
  • Ishii, Yoneo (1998). The Junk Trade from Southeast Asia: Translations from the Tôsen Fusetsu-gaki, 1674–1723. Singapore: Institute of Southeast Asian Studies. ISBN 981-230-022-8.
  • Laver, John (1994). Principles of Phonetics. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. ISBN 0-521-45655-X.
  • Nawanit Yupho (1989). "Consonant Clusters and Stress Rules in Pattani Malay" (PDF). Mon-Khmer Studies. 15: 125–137.
  • Reungnarong, Prapon (ประพนธ์ เรืองณรงค์) (1997). บุหงาปัตตานี: คติชนไทยมุสลิมชายแดนภาคใต้ (in Thai). Bangkok: มติชน.
  • Smalley, William A. (1994). Linguistic Diversity and National Unity: Language Ecology in Thailand. Chicago: University of Chicago Press. ISBN 0-226-76288-2.
  • Thailand (11th ed.). Footscray, Victoria: Lonely Planet. 2005. ISBN 1-74059-697-8.
This article is issued from Wikipedia. The text is licensed under Creative Commons - Attribution - Sharealike. Additional terms may apply for the media files.