Manado Malay

Manado Malay
Bahasa Manado
Native to Indonesia
Region North Sulawesi
Native speakers
850,000 (2001)[1]
Malay Creole
  • East Indonesian

    • Manado Malay
Language codes
ISO 639-3 xmm
Glottolog mala1481[2]

Manado Language is a language spoken in Manado and the surrounding area. The local name of the language is Bahasa Manado, and the name Minahasa Malay is also used, after the main ethnic group speaking the language. Since Manado Malay is used only for spoken communication, there is no standard orthography.

Manado Malay is actually a creole of the Malay language. It differs from Malay in having a large number of Portuguese and Dutch loan words and in traits like for example its use of "kita" as a first person singular pronoun, while "kita" is a first person inclusive plural pronoun in Malay.

Word stress

Most words have stress on the pre-final syllable:

kadéra 'chair'
sténga 'half'
dói 'money'

But there are also many words with final stress:

butúl 'right, correct, true'
tolór 'egg; testicle'
sabóng 'soap'



 Standard IndonesianManado Malay
First singular sayakita
First pluralkami / kitatorang
Second singularandangana
Second pluralkalianngoni
Third singulardiadia
Third pluralmerekadorang


Possessives are built by adding "pe" to the personal pronoun or name or noun, then followed by the 'possessed' noun. Thus "pe" has the function similar to English "'s" as in "the doctor's uniform".

EnglishManado Malay
My friendkita pe tamang / ta pe tamang
Your (sing.) friendngana pe tamang / nga pe tamang
His/her bookdia pe buku / de pe buku
This book is yours (pl.)ini ngana pe buku

The W-Words

why = kyápa?

where = di mána?

who = sápa?

which one(s) = tu mána?

Grammatical aspect

Ada ('to be') can be used in Manadonese Malay to indicate the perfective aspect e.g. :

Nasal finals

The final nasals /m/ and /n/ in Indonesian are replaced by the "-ng" group in Manado Malay, similar with Terengganu dialect of Malaysia, e.g. :


"ba-" prefix

The ber- prefix in Indonesian, which serves a function similar to the English -ing, is modified into ba- in Manado Malay. E.g.: bajalang (berjalan, walking), batobo (berenang, swimming), batolor (bertelur, laying eggs)

"ma(°)-" prefix

° = ng, n, or m depending on phonological context.

The me(°)- prefix in standard Indonesian, which also serves a function to make a verb active, is modified into ma(°)- in Manado Malay. E.g.: mangael (mengail, hooking fish), manari (menari, dancing), mancari (mencari, searching), mamasa (memasak, cooking), manangis (menangis, crying).

Other words

Several words in standard Indonesian are shortened in Manado Malay. For example:
pi (standard Indonesian: pergi, to go)

mo pi mana ngoni? (where are you people going?)

co (standard Indonesian: coba, to try)

co lia ini oto (try have a look at this car)

so (standard Indonesian: sudah, have/has done)

so klar? (have you finished?), "so maleleh?" (has it molten?), so kanyang?" (are your stomachs full yet?)

ta (standard Indonesian: awalan ter, passive prefix)

tasono? (fallen asleep) , tajatung? (fallen), tagoso (being rubbed)

Indonesian loanwards from Manado Malay

Several words in Manado Malay are loaned to the standard Indonesian:

Manado Malay loanwords from other languages

Due to the past colonisation by the Dutch and the Portuguese in Sulawesi, several words of Manado Malay originate from their languages.

Standard IndonesianManado Malay loanwordLanguage of OriginEnglish meaning
topicapéoPortuguese (chapéu)cap, hat
bosanfastíuPortuguese (fastio)bored
untukforDutch (voor)for
garpuforkDutch (vork)fork
tenggorokangargántangPortuguese (garganta)throat
kursikadéraPortuguese (cadeira)chair
benderabandéraPortuguese (bandeira)flag
saputanganlénsoPortuguese (lenço)handkerchief
tapimarDutch (maar)but
jagungmíluPortuguese (milho)corn, maize
pamanomDutch (oom)uncle
nenekomaDutch (oma)grandmother
kakekopaDutch (opa)grandfather
berteduhsómbarPortuguese (sombra)shadow
keringatsuárPortuguese (suar)sweat
bibitánteDutch (tante)aunt
dahitéstaPortuguese (testa)forehead, temple
penyututurúgaPortuguese (tartaruga)turtle
sepatuchapátuPortuguese (sapato)shoe(s)
kebunkintálPortuguese (quintal) (agricultural) field or garden


  1. Manado Malay at Ethnologue (18th ed., 2015)
  2. Hammarström, Harald; Forkel, Robert; Haspelmath, Martin; Bank, Sebastian, eds. (2016). "Manado Malay". Glottolog 2.7. Jena: Max Planck Institute for the Science of Human History.
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