According to 800zipcodes, the Malaysian is the most important language of austronesica family by number of speakers and to be the official language of four countries: Malaysia, Brunei, Singapore (together with other languages), Indonesia (with Indonesian language name, Bahasa Indonesia). Agglutinative language with a limited number of prefixes and suffixes; makes extensive use of duplication, favors the verbal aspect over time; has a vast lexicon that has taken on Sanskrit, Tamil, Arab, Chinese, Portuguese, Dutch, English and Javanese loanwords for the Indonesian variety during a centuries-old history of contacts with different cultures. The maleoportoghese is a creole language based on Portuguese and Malay. There are two varieties: the dialect of the island of Java, now in danger of extinction, and the varieties of Malacca (Portuguese from 1511 to the mid-seventeenth century) and Singapore. The male Spanish, Spanish and Malay based, it is spoken in the Philippines (for many centuries a possession of Spain).
Malay literature has been, until modern times, a common heritage of the populations of Malay tradition and language which are currently divided into the 4 states mentioned (with the appendix of the Malay minority in the Thailand southern). Popular literature, handed down orally and only from the 19th century. collected and analyzed by English and Dutch scholars, it is expressed in prose (farcical tales and stories of animals) and above all in poetry through the pantun, quatrain with alternating rhymes that can express loving feelings, wise advice, etc. The scholarly literature, initially from the court, has come down to us in a few thousand manuscripts in Jawi characters, that is Arab-Malay, therefore after the advent of Islam in the Malay world. The most ancient (late 16th century-early 17th century) contain versions from Sanskrit literature, such as the beautiful Hikayat Sri Rama (“The story of the divine Rama”), which summarizes, albeit with some Islamic-inspired additions, the Rāmāyana, and the Hikayat Si Miskin (“The Poor Man’s Tale”), a real novel. More numerous stories, slightly less ancient, which are linked to the Arab-Persian narrative and welcome pleasant ideas, sometimes with moralizing intentions (as in the Hikayat Bayan Budiman “History of the wise parrot”), but also traditions on the prophet Mohammed, on the prophet Jesus and other themes dear to Arab fiction. The singularity of the texts of classical Malay literature is that of being anonymous (with the exception of the writings of Islamic scholars of the 17th century from the Sultanate of Aceh, in the northern part of the island of Sumatra) and not exactly datable. The most important work, Hikayat Hang Tuah (“Story of the lucky leader”), is also anonymous, which in a fantastic context contains various historical references over a centuries-old period (mid-14th century-mid-17th century) and represents the unique example of Malaysian national pride manifestation against the Javanese empire of Majapahit which had succeeded in subjugating the whole of Southeast Asia. Classical Malay literature is mainly expressed in prose. The most important poetic form is the syair, of Arab-Persian origin, a narrative poem in stanzas of 4 lines of equal rhyme, which flourished mainly in the 17th and 18th centuries; the first example is found on a tombstone from the end of the 14th century. in Pasai (in northern Sumatra). In the transition period between classical and modern literature, the figure of A. bin AK Munsyi (18th-19th century) stands out alone. Writer, chronicler, translator in the service of Dutch and English officials and missionaries (especially of Sir TS Raffles), keen observer and admirer of European civilization, he has left valuable documentation with the autobiographical Hikayat Abdullah (“History of A.”, 1849) and with Kisah Pelayaran Abdullah dari Singapura sampai ke Kelantan(“Account of A.’s voyage from Singapore to Kelantan”, 1849). In the 20th century. modern Indonesian literature (➔ Indonesia) and modern Malay literature evolve and differentiate. The latter is struggling to reach its full maturity. Apart from some imitations of Egyptian works (note the Islamic imprint, almost absent in the more secular and western inspiration of Indonesian authors), a genuinely Malay novel is Kawan Benar (“A true friend”, 1927) by A. bin Malaysia Rashid Talu (1889). With the generation of the 1950s (Angkatan 50), under the influence of Indonesian literature we are witnessing a literary flowering, especially with short stories and lyrics. The masterpiece of Malaysian fiction is Salina(1961, named after the protagonist), a large novel set in Singapore in a slum of the marginalized. Its author is A.Samad Said, narrator but also valuable poet. Among the other narrators: A. Hussain, who in Interlok (1971) deals with the theme of national integration; Kris Mas (pseudonym of Malaysia Dahlan), who excels in short stories; S. Ahmad; H. Ali, who made his mark very young with the novel Musafir (“The traveler”, 1959); A. Wahab Ali, author of short stories.