History of the Malay language

Rencong alphabet, native writing systems found in Malay Peninsula, central and South Sumatra. The text reads (Voorhoeve's spelling): "haku manangis ma / njaru ka'u ka'u di / saru tijada da / tang [hitu hadik sa]", which is translated by Voorhoeve as: "I am weeping, calling you; though called, you do not come" (hitu adik sa- is the rest of 4th line.

Malay is a major language of the Austronesian language family. Over a period of two millennia, from a form that probably consisted of only 157 original words,[clarification needed][1] Malay has undergone various stages of development that derived from different layers of foreign influences through international trade, religious expansion, colonisation and developments of new socio-political trends. The oldest form of Malay is descended from the Proto-Malayo-Polynesian language spoken by the earliest Austronesian settlers in Southeast Asia. This form would later evolved into Old Malay when Indian cultures and religions began penetrating the region. Old Malay contained some terms that exist today, but are unintelligible to modern speakers, while the modern language is already largely recognisable in written Classical Malay of 1303 CE.[2]

Malay evolved extensively into Classical Malay through the gradual influx of numerous Arabic and Persian vocabulary, when Islam made its way to the region. Initially, Classical Malay was a diverse group of dialects, reflecting the varied origins of the Malay kingdoms of Southeast Asia. One of these dialects that was developed in the literary tradition of Melaka in the 15th century, eventually became predominant. The strong influence of Melaka in international trade in the region resulted in Malay as a lingua franca in commerce and diplomacy, a status that it maintained throughout the age of the succeeding Malay sultanates, the European colonial era and the modern times. From 19th to 20th century, Malay evolved progressively through a significant grammatical improvements and lexical enrichment into a modern language with more than 800,000 phrases in various disciplines.

Ancient Malay

Ancient Malay, or Proto-Malay, is the language believed to have existed in prehistoric times, spoken by the early Austronesian settlers in the region. Its ancestor, the Proto-Malayo-Polynesian language that derived from Proto-Austronesian, began to break up by at least 2000 BCE as a result possibly by the southward expansion of Austronesian peoples into the Philippines, Borneo, Maluku and Sulawesi from the island of Taiwan. Proto-Malay language was spoken in Borneo at least by 1000 BCE and was, it has been argued, the ancestral language of all subsequent Malay dialects. Linguists generally agree that the homeland of the Malayic-Dayak languages is in Borneo, based on its geographic spread in the interior, its variations that are not due to contact-induced change, and its sometimes conservative character.[3] Around the beginning of the first millennium, Malayic speakers had established settlements in the coastal regions of modern-day South Central Vietnam, Tambelan, Riau Islands, Sumatra, Malay peninsula, Borneo, Luzon, Maluku Islands, Bangka-Belitung Islands and Java.[4]

Other Languages
fran├žais: Histoire du malais
Bahasa Indonesia: Bahasa Melayu Kuno
Basa Jawa: Basa Melayu Kuna
Bahasa Melayu: Bahasa Melayu Kuno