Anonymous asked in Society & CultureLanguages · 8 years ago

What South East Asian language should I learn if I plan on traveling throughout SE Asia?

I plan on traveling for an extended amount of time throughout most of South East Asia and before I go I would like to learn at least one of its main languages (besides english) but idk which one I should learn, Thai, Malay, Indonesian? I apprecitate your suggestions/opinions :)

Thank You :)

8 Answers

  • 8 years ago
    Favorite Answer

    probably 'malay' or 'indonesia' bcoz they are the largest & most widely spoken language in the SE asia. Indonesian language is actually a form of malay language. the difference between indonesian & malay language is just as the difference btwn American English & Britain English. It is widely spoken in Indonesia, Malaysia, Brunei, Timor Leste and Southern (malay)province of Thailand. Thai language are very difference from malay/indonesian language as the difference btwn German & French.

    Source(s): I'm currently living in SE asia.
  • 8 years ago

    Depends on where you're traveling Southeast Asia is very linguistically diverse. Main languages I'd suggest are Thai, Indonesian ( it's the same as Malay ). And if you plan on going up further the Indochinese peninsula, Vietnamese. Cambodian also if you plan to visit there, you won't need to learn Laos, since it is the same as the Thai language, just named differently for political reasons. But learning all of these will be difficult as all the languages I've mentioned are all parts of different language families.

    And many languages on the Indochina peninsula are very tonal, meaning they make the same sound, but can use pitch to differentiate words.

    Singapore speaks english but with a chinese grammar twist to it when spoken casually. Singapore is a good place to stop to brush up on language skills.

    However take heed traveling to remote areas, there are hundreds of languages that I have not mentioned. Most of these languages are isolated to minorities living in remote villages. Stick to big cities and you'll be good.

    and some further information, the main language families of SouthEast Asia are


    Austro Asiatic


    Hmong-Mien ( actually Hmong Mien is pretty isolated )

    Source(s): Extensive Geographical Study
  • Anonymous
    6 years ago

    These days you can learn how to speak French over the internet. Check out this online course, it's voted as the best French online course of all time: The course is very easy to follow, I was able to learn French in just 3 months.

    I live in New York City, I wanted to go to a French language teacher but that would have cost me over $800 per month. Good thing with this internet, $800 it's a lot of money for me.

  • 8 years ago

    They speak different languages from each others. Maybe you'll have to learn all languages. If you know Thai, you can use it in Laos because many people in Laos can speak Thai. If you know Malay, you can use it in Indonesia because these 2 languages are very similar.

  • How do you think about the answers? You can sign in to vote the answer.
  • 8 years ago

    We do communicate in English in Thailand, Malaysia, and Indonesia. However, if you learn Malay, you will be able to communicate with both Malaysians and Indonesians.

  • Anonymous
    7 years ago

    But if you wanna travel to Malay, don't speak Indonesian unless you wanna make others laugh at you.

  • Anonymous
    5 years ago

    depends on the person. im japanese and love to learn another cultures. i know language is part of culture coz i majored in japanese literature and studied chinese literature too. we know how difficult to learn another language. this is why they said why you're just learning language. i think not only asian. i know lots of people in the us. some dont learn even spanish. you know those people too right? spanish signs are everywhere and there are lots of spanish native people in the us. i know lots of spanish already and love to learn !! what you want to do is very good thing. keep goin'!!

  • Kitty
    Lv 4
    8 years ago

    i would suggest thai because thailand is better than the rest

Still have questions? Get your answers by asking now.