One of my guilty pleasures of living in Penang is Manglish. What is Manglish? It’s Malaysian English. It’s the not-quite-standa rd you hear around Malaysia that you don’t really hear anywhere else. It’s similair to Singlish (Singapore English) but has it’s own nuance, and devotees.
Why do I like Manglish? First, I really like that it looks like the root of the word is mangle. That just makes me smile. I also like that it gives me insight into the other languages around here. Sometimes the mangled English can find its roots in Malay, Mandarin, Hokkien or some combination of those.
I’ve heard it said Standard English is how English is spoken. Manglish is how English is broken. I disagree. I don’t think Manglish is broken. It’s common
Periodically, I will be posting some of my favorite Manglish phrases. Today’s installment is “Ne’mine”.
It is used as a response to all kinds of situations. I’ll list a few
Manglish case 1: Response to apology
Me: I’m sorry, I just went to the ATM and all I have are 50s to pay for my teh tarik
Waitress: Ne’mine, Ne’mine, I break for you.
Manglish case 2: Response to thank you
Me: Thanks for giving me a lift home, I know it was out of your way.
Friend: Ne’mine, ne’mine. I go this way home sometime too.
Manglish case 3: I’m too lazy to explain, I’ll just show you
Me: Can you show me how to get to Jalan Burma?
Stranger: Ne’mine, ne’mine. Follow me.
As you can see, I love this word. Now that I’ve pointed it out, you’ll probably hear it much more often around Penang.
Standard English: nevermind
OK really, it’s just the word nevermind spoken quickly and garbled. It is usually accompanied with some hand waving. As you can see, the scope of ne’mine is so much more wide than nevermind.
Please add more usages in the comments below. I hope I made you smile today.