Malay fifth largest spoken language in the world, says Najib

30 May 2014 / 20:32 H.

BEIJING: Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Abdul Razak said Friday Malay is the fifth largest spoken language in the world, with over 300 million speakers.
"From as early as the 15th century, when the Ming Dynasty in China set up a foreign language department that also encompassed the Malay language, it has spread far and wide, to the extent that it is being studied by foreigners.
"This has fuelled the teaching of the language at the international level," he said when opening the four-day International Conference on Malay Studies 2014: Malaysia-China Relations' at the Beijing Foreign Studies University (BFSU).
Najib said even Prof Wu Zungyu, a leading linguist from BFSU, also acknowledged Malay as one of the major languages in the world in terms of the extent of its use.
"Therefore, it is not surprising that Malay Studies has developed into an attractive discipline around the world," he said, adding that interest in Malay Studies was not confined to the Malay world.
Najib launched three books published by Dewan Bahasa dan Pustaka and United Publishing House Sdn Bhd at the event, namely the Chinese-Malay dictionary 'Kamus China-Melayu Dewan'; a comparative study of Malay poems and Chinese folk songs called 'Kajian Bandingan Pantun Melayu dengan Nyanyian Rakyat Tiongkok' and an exploration of Malay-Chinese studies called 'Eksplorasi Pengajian Melayu-China'. – Bernama

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