Word-of-the-Week Wednesday–Hello!

Happy Hump Day! Or should I say, selamat pagi! (Or selamat petang, selamat malam, selamat tidur, depending on the time of day!) The words you just read are in Bahasa Malaysia, the official language of Malaysia. And I don’t mean to disappoint you, but they don’t actually mean, “Happy Hump Day,” but rather Good morning! Or afternoon, evening, or night, respectively.

Fun fact: Bahasa Malaysia (closely related to Bahasa Indonesia, which is spoken in…you guessed it, Indonesia) is not only the official language of Malaysia, but also a very successful example of language planning, in which the government basically sat down* in 1957 and decided, “This will be our official language! And we’re going to make sure everyone speaks it!” Pretty cool, huh?

(*Disclaimer: I have obviously oversimplified the language planning process. If only life were so simple!)

Batu Caves outside of Kuala Lumpur: Selamat petang indeed!

(Is there a word in a foreign language that you just love? That you can’t get enough of, could say over and over, or you just like its meaning? Share it with us in a comment or email!)

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