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Do Malaysian Chinese speak Mandarin or Cantonese or Hokkien

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by Miss Lim Mandarin (MAMA)

Last updated:


Friday, 9 December 2022

Interesting Facts

You might be wondering do Malaysian Chinese speak Mandarin/ Cantonese / Hokkien/ Hakka?

Here's the complete guide answered by native speakers!


Mandarin is the common language for Malaysian Chinese. Most of the Malaysian Chinese able to understand and speak Mandarin but with various fluency levels. Well, there are some exceptions for "bananas". Meanwhile, Cantonese, Hokkien, Hakka, and Foochow are dialects. Those dialects are used based on different states. The best metaphor is Mandarin same as Bahasa Malaysia which BM itself is the common language while Kedah's dialect, Perak's Dialect, etc. are the same as Cantonese, Hakka, etc.

Language Nature

Chinese is the big branch which includes Mandarin, Cantonese, Hokkien, Hakka, Foochow, Teochew, Hainanese, Guangxi, etc. Within the dialects, Cantonese and Hokkien are the most common ones in Malaysia. To your surprise, Hokkien in Johor is different from Penang's Hokkien! Walao-eh.


Keep in mind that Mandarin still can be understood in all states. Hereby will list down the major & minor Chinese languages across Malaysia states.

More Contents Here

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Miss Lim has coached over 5000+ students in learning Malaysian Mandarin. She is a certified HRDCorp trainer and able to speak 5 languages which are Mandarin, Hokkien, Bahasa Malaysia, English, and Cantonese.
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