Characteristics of the Malay language in AX Semantics


In Malay, you need to know the number of a noun to form the corresponding pronouns. Malay has neither grammatical case nor gender. There are two numbers: singular and plural.

grammatical namevaluesexamples
numbersingularrumah lama
(old house)
pluralrumah-rumah lama
(old houses)
adjectives (noun)after nounepal merah
(red apple)
verb tensespresentdia makan
(he eats)

The standard order of a noun phrase in Malay is the following:

preposition + numeral + noun + adjective + determiner

See for example:

kira-kira tiga   penyanyi  popular  ini
(about    three  singers   popular  these)
PREP      NUM    NOUN      ADJ      DET                                                         
"about these three popular singers"



Malay nouns inflect for number. Nouns should be added to the lexicon if they do not inflect regularly.

Lexicon entries for nouns may also be necessary for inflecting pronouns correctly. They are omitted, if a lexicon entry is required, but missing.


The basic lexicon entry for rumah (house) contains:

  • inflection table for number:


In Malay, the default position for an adjective is "after noun". Malay adjectives do not inflect, so there is no need to add lexical entries for them.


Malay verbs do not inflect (neither for number, person nor tense) and rather use time adverbs (e.g., semalam (yesterday) ). Take makan (to eat) for example:

dia makan (he eats)
dia makan semalam (he ate yesterday)

saya makan (I eat)
saya makan semalam (I ate yesterday)

Container settings


The AX NLG platform supports the following determiners for Malay: demonstratives (distal + proximal) and possessives.


The AX NLG platform supports the following pronouns for Malay: personal, demonstratives (distal + proximal), and 3rd person possessive.

However, Malay pronouns are frequently omitted, because it is more common to use a person's name or title to refer to them instead of using a pronoun. For example, instead of saying "Adakah dia mahu pergi? (Does she want to go?)", one might say "Mahukah Puan pergi? (Would Madam like to go?)" without personal pronoun.


Four types of numerals are possible on the AX NLG platform: cardinal, cardinal as digit, ordinal, and ordinal as digit. Take hari (day) for example:

textsembilan hari
(nine days)
hari kesembilan
(the ninth day)
digit9 hari
(9 days)
hari ke–9
(the 9th day)

As the above table shows, nouns after cardinals will not be pluralized. Therefore, hari (day) stays in singular because of the numeral sembilan (nine). Besides, the order of a noun phrase changes when the numeral is an ordinal. Ordinal numerals usually stand after the noun.

For Malay, cardinal and ordinal numerals are written out until 12 on the platform, otherwise (above 12) the output is in digit form. Take cardinal numerals for example:

dua belas rumah
(twelve houses)
13 rumah
(13 houses)

Language Variants

The AX NLG platform offers 2 variants of the Malay language:

  • Malaysia

  • Brunei Darussalam

The main differences between these dialects are pronunciation and vocabulary.