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Though Malay is Malaysia's official language, it's sometimes referred to as Malaysian or Bahasa Malaysia by government officials. Most of the country's population of nearly 33 million speak the language, a standard form of the Malay dialect called Johore-Riau. They start learning it from a young age since it's part of primary and secondary education.

Many other languages, such as Hindi, Dutch, Portuguese, and Persian, have influenced Malaysian. The language continues to evolve today, with additions to the modern vocabulary that older Malaysians may not be familiar with. A type of pidgin Malaysian called Bahasa Rojak has also arisen, formed from alternating between English and Malaysian.