Authors : Isma Rosila Ismail and Che Hasniza Che Noh
Abstract: Malaysia is a multiracial country consisting of three ethnic groups, namely, Malay; Chinese and Indian. Being proficient in more than one language is an advantage, particularly in a multiracial and multicultural society as Malaysia. Especially at the workplace as this could help to avoid any misunderstandings particularly when dealing with colleagues of different ethnicities. This study outlines a research conducted in Terengganu, in the East Coast of Malaysia which investigated language and dialect use among personnel in a higher educational institution. This is important to integrate the three ethnic groups at the workplace so that communication is always mutual among them. The research employed a qualitative method whereby a semistructured interview was conducted using purposive sampling. The interviews were conducted with twenty one respondents coming from three managerial levels: lower, middle and upper levels. The data was analyzed using the thematic analysis. The preliminary findings indicated that only a small number of Malay respondents are trying to learn the minorities languages. They do this to the extent of knowing only a limited range of Tamil and Chinese words and meanings. Meanwhile, their Chinese and Indian colleagues have made the extra effort to understand their surroundings in order to facilitate them in learning the local dialects. This research study concluded that the Malay personnel at this institution apparently show an initiative to learn well the majorities local dialects but not at the minority dialects such as Mandarin or Tamil.
Isma Rosila Ismail and Che Hasniza Che Noh, 2016. Language and Dialect Use of Majorities and Minorities: A Study in Terengganu, East Coast of Malaysia. The Social Sciences, 11: 7330-7335.