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Cocos Malay

Cocos Islands Malay
Basa Pulu Cocos
Native toAustralia, Malaysia
RegionCocos (Keeling) Islands, Sabah
Ethnicity4,000 in Malaysia (2000)[1]
Native speakers
(1,100 in Australia cited 1987)[1]
Language codes
ISO 639-3coa

Cocos Malay is a post-creolized variety of Malay, spoken by the Cocos Malays of Home Island, Christmas Island, and those originally from the Cocos Islands currently living in Sabah.[1]

Cocos Malay derives from the Malay trade languages of the 19th century, specifically the Betawi language,[3] with a strong additional Javanese influence. Malay is offered as a second language in schools, and Malaysian has prestige status; both are influencing the language, bringing it more in line with standard Malay.[4] There is also a growing influence of English, considering the Islands having been an Australian territory and globalization drifting modern terms into the daily parlance.

It has the following characteristics:

  • Javanese influence: cucut "shark", kates "papaya", walikat "shoulderblade" etc.
  • First-person and second-person singular "gua" "lu", from Hokkien.
  • Causative verb "kasi".
  • "Ada" not only means "there is ...", but also is the progressive particle.
  • Possessive marker "punya".
  • Third person indefinite "ong", from orang "person"[5]


  1. ^ a b c Cocos Islands Malay at Ethnologue (18th ed., 2015)
  2. ^ Hammarström, Harald; Forkel, Robert; Haspelmath, Martin, eds. (2017). "Cocos Islands Malay". Glottolog 3.0. Jena, Germany: Max Planck Institute for the Science of Human History.
  3. ^ Wurm, Mühlhäusler, & Tryon, Atlas of languages of intercultural communication in the Pacific, Asia and the Americas, 1996:686
  4. ^ Ansaldo, 2006. "Cocos (Keeling) Islands: Language Situation". In Keith Brown, ed. (2005). Encyclopedia of Language and Linguistics (2 ed.). Elsevier. ISBN 0-08-044299-4.
  5. ^ Alexander Adelaar, 1996. "Malay in the Cocos (Keeling) Islands 1996".