Kelantan-Pattani Malay
Baso/Kecek Taning
Baso/Kecek Klate
Baso/Kecek Nayu (only in Thailand)
بهاس ملايو ڤطاني / كلنتن
Bahasa Melayu Kelantan/Pattani
Native toMalaysia, Thailand
Merapoh, Pahang
Besut and Setiu, Terengganu
Baling, Sik and Padang Terap, Kedah
Hulu Perak (Pengkalan Hulu and Grik), Perak

Patani region, Songkhla Province (Sabayoi, Chana, Nathawi, Thepha), Minburi area (Min Buri), Lat Krabang, Khlongsamwa, Nong Chok)
EthnicityPatani Malays
Bangkok Malays
Kelantanese Malays
Baling Malay
Grik Malay
Reman Malays
Native speakers
1.5 million in Thailand (2010)[1]
2 million in Malaysia[citation needed]
Latin script, Thai script, Jawi script
Official status
Recognised minority
language in
Language codes
ISO 639-3mfa Pattani
Linguasphere33-AFA-cb (Kelantan)
33-AFA-cc (Pattani)
  Majority language
  Minority language
This article contains IPA phonetic symbols. Without proper rendering support, you may see question marks, boxes, or other symbols instead of Unicode characters. For an introductory guide on IPA symbols, see Help:IPA.

Kelantan-Pattani Malay (Malay: bahasa Melayu Kelantan/Patani; Thai: ภาษายาวี; baso Taning in Pattani; kecek Klate in Kelantan) is an Austronesian language of the Malayic subfamily spoken in the Malaysian state of Kelantan, as well as in Besut and Setiu districts of Terengganu state and the Perhentian Islands, and in the southernmost provinces of Thailand. It is the primary spoken language of Thai Malays and used as a lingua franca by ethnic Southern Thais in rural areas, Muslim and non-Muslim and the Sam-Sam, a mostly Thai-speaking population of mixed Malay and Thai ancestry.

Kelantan-Pattani Malay is highly divergent from other Malay varieties because of its geographical isolation from the rest of the Malay world by high mountains, deep rainforests and the Gulf of Thailand. It is also influenced by Thai in Thailand.

Kelantanese-Pattani Malay is distinct enough that radio broadcasts in Standard Malay cannot be understood easily by native speakers of Kelantan-Pattani Malay, such as those in Thailand, who are not taught the standard variety of the language. Unlike Malaysia, where Standard Malay is compulsory in the school curriculum, no one is required to learn Standard Malay in Thailand and so there is potentially less language influence from Standard Malay but potentially more from Thai. It is also distinct from Kedah Malay, Pahang Malay and Terengganu Malay, but those languages are much more closely related to the Kelantanese-Pattani Malay language than Standard Malay.


The language is often referred to in Thai as phasa Yawi (Thai: ภาษายาวี; IPA: [pʰāːsǎː jāːwīː]), which is a corruption of the Malay name for the modified Arabic alphabet for writing Malay, Jawi (Jawi: جاوي‎; IPA [ɟaˈwi]). It is also referred to in Thai as phasa Malayu Pattani (Thai: ภาษามลายูปัตตานี; IPA: [pʰāːsǎː mālāːjūː pàttāːnīː]) and similarly locally in Malay as bahasa Melayu Patani (Jawi: بهاس ملايو ڤطاني, Rumi: bahasa Melayu Patani, local pronunciation: [baˈsɔ ˈnːaju ˈtːaniŋ]). The language is often called bahasa Patani in Pattani.

Kelantanese is known in Standard Malay as bahasa Kelantan, and in Kelantanese as baso Kelate. It is also known as baso Besut or Kecek Kelate-Besut in Besut and Setiu of Terengganu State.

One variant of Kelantan-Pattani Malay is the Reman variant, also known as bahasa Reman (according to the speakers of this area; the areas where this variant was spoken were under the Reman state of the Kingdom of Pattani that was abolished in 1902 in which the areas were Batu Kurau, inland Perak (Gerik, Pengkalan Hulu, Lenggong) and inland Kedah (Sik, Baling, Padang Terap)). The Reman viarants are known as various names such as bahasa Patani, bahasa Patani Kedah-Perak, basa Grik, Cakak Hulu, basa Kapong, basa Baling etc. It is also known as the Kedah Hulu dialect (in Kedah) and the Perak Hulu dialect (in Perak). However, these terms only apply to political and geographical factors rather than linguistic ones. This Reman variant has many dialects and subdialects across the areas where this variant is spoken.[citation needed]

Writing system

Kelantanese Malay is written both in Latin and in the Jawi alphabet, a writing system based on the Arabic script. This is in stark contrast to the rest of the general population of Malay speakers in both Malaysia and Indonesia that now mainly use the Latin script, known in Malay as rumi (رومي), for daily communication. Today, Pattani Malay is generally not a written language, though it is sometimes written in informal settings. An old-fashioned form of standard Malay is used when writing is needed rather than the local dialect. A phonetic rendering of Pattani Malay in the Thai alphabet has been introduced, but it has not been met with much success due to the socio-religious significance of Jawi to Muslim Malays.[citation needed]


Southern Thailand has continued to be a region affected by two cultural spheres: the mainly Buddhist, Thai-speaking Siamese kingdoms and the mainly Muslim, Malay-speaking sultanates. The region was a warehouse of trade where merchants from Europe, India, Arabia, China, Siam, and other parts of the Malay world met. At first dominated by Hindu-Buddhist Indian influences, the great kingdom of Srivijaya would later fall into chaos. Islam was introduced by Arab and Indian traders in the 11th century and has been the dominant religion ever since, replacing Buddhism and Hinduism that had held sway. By the 14th century, the area became vassals to Ayutthaya, but the region was autonomous and never fully incorporated into modern Thai nation-state until 1902. This political autonomy and isolation from the rest of the Malay world allowed for the preservation of the Malay language and culture but also led to the divergence of the dialect.[citation needed]


Kelantan-Pattani Malay can be divided into three major variants and several dialects (and a few subdialects):

Kelantan: Coastal (Narathiwat, Besut dialects), Central / River, Dabong / Inland

Pattani: Yala, Saiburi, Bana Taning, Chenok / Chana, Nonthaburi / Bangkok

Reman: Grik, Sik, Baling, Padang Terap, Batu Kugho / Selama, Southern Yala

Creole/Pidgin: Samsam Malay (a mixed language of Thai and Pattani Malay spoken by those of mixed Thai-Malay ancestry)


Kelantanese is spoken in the Malaysian state of Kelantan, as well as in Besut and Setiu districts of Terengganu and the Perhentian Islands. It is also spoken in the Merapoh township, in the Lipis district of Pahang since this town borders the state of Kelantan.

Many people in the districts of Baling, Sik and Padang Terap in Kedah as well as the Hulu Perak district of Perak speak Kelantan-Patani language of Reman dialects, since most of the Malay people there are the descendants of Kelantanese migrants and Pattani refugees (in which whereby these regions were once parts of the Reman Kingdom of Pattani).

Pattani Malay is the main language of the Thai provinces Narathiwat, Yala and Pattani where ethnic Malays make up the majority of the population, it is also spoken in parts of Songkhla and Bangkok. It is less spoken in the province of Satun, where despite making up the majority, ethnic Malays generally speak Southern Thai and their Malay dialect is similar to Kedah Malay. It is also spoken in scattered villages as far north as Hat Yai. In the past, Malay was the main language as far north as the Isthmus of Kra, the traditional division between Central Thailand and Southern Thailand, based on the preponderance of etymologically Malay place names.[citation needed]


There are 21 consonants and 12 vowels in Pattani Malay.[2] The phonemes /r/ and /z/ only appear in some loanwords or proper names.


Nawawit (1986)
Bilabial Alveolar Palatal Velar Glottal
Nasal m n ɲ ŋ
Plosive voiceless p t c k ʔ
voiced b d ɟ ɡ
Fricative voiceless s h
voiced z ɣ
Semivowel w j
Lateral l
Trill r


Nawawit (1986)
Front Central Back
oral nasal oral nasal oral nasal
High i ɨ u ũ
Mid e o
Low ɛ ɛ̃ a ã ɔ ɔ̃
Adi Yasran (2010), Teoh (1994)
Front Central Back
High i u
Mid e ə o
Low a


Comparison with Standard Malay

Kelantan-Pattani Malay is different enough from Standand Malay that it is often unintelligible to speakers of the standard language. Differences include some differences in vocabulary, and different sound correspondences. The influence of Southern Thai and the Kelantan-Pattani Malay in Pattani upon each other is great, and both have large numbers of loanwords from the other. The influence of the Thai language makes comprehension between the Pattani variety of Kelatan-Pattani Malay and Standard Malay a bit more difficult than comprehension between the Kelantanese variety of Kelantan-Pattani Malay and Standard Malay.[citation needed]


Correspondence Rule

(SM ≙ KPM)

Standard Malay


Kelantan-Pattani Malay


English Translation
Final /a/ with nasal coda Long nasal [ɛ̃ː] ayam /ajam/ [ajɛ̃ː] 'chicken'
Initial /ia/ Open-mid front [ɛ] biasa /biasa/ [bɛsɑː] 'normal'
Final /a/ in open-ended words Long [ɑː] sana /sana/ [sanɑː] 'there'
/a/ in final /ah/ Open back unrounded [ɑ] rumah /rumah/ [ɣumɑh] 'house'
/a/ in final /ak/ masak /masak/ [masɑʔ] 'cooking'
Initial /ua/ Open-mid [ɔ] puasa /puasa/ [pɔsɑː] 'fasting'
Final /ai/ Long [aː] sungai /suŋai/ [suŋaː] 'river'
Final /au/ pisau /pisau/ [pisaː] 'knife'
/u/ in coda /uŋ/ Nasal [ũ] mungkin /muŋkin/ [mũkiŋ] 'maybe'


Correspondence Rule

(SM ≙ KPM)

Standard Malay


Kelantan-Pattani Malay


English Translation
Final coda /f/ Glottal fricative [h] maaf /maaf/ [maah] 'sorry'
Final coda /s/ panas /panas/ [panah] 'hot'
Initial, mid and

final /r/

Velar fricative [ɣ] reban /rəban/ [ɣəbɛ̃ː] 'coop'
Coda /r/ Omitted permata /pərmata/ [pəmatɑ] 'jewellery'
Final coda /l/ tinggal /tiŋɡal/ [tiŋɡaː] 'leave'
Final coda /p/ Glottal stop [ʔ] letup /lətup/ [lətuʔ] 'to explode'
Final coda /t/ sesat /səsat/ [səsaʔ] 'lost'
Final coda /k/ masak /masak/ [masok] 'to cook'
Final coda /m/

and /n/ after

non-a vowel

Velar nasal [ŋ] mungkin /muŋkin/ [mũkiŋ] 'maybe'
Initial and mid /t͡ʃ/ Voiced palatal plosive [c] cuci /t͡ʃut͡ʃi/ [cuci] 'to wash'
Initial and

mid /d͡ʒ/

Voiced palatal plosive [ɟ] jalan /d͡ʒalan/ [ɟalɛ̃ː] 'path'
panjang /pand͡ʒaŋ/ [paɲɟaŋ] 'long'


Basic Words[6]
Kelantan-Pattani Malay Standard Malay English Translation
jamah pegang 'to hold'
goba risau 'worried'
ghohok susah 'difficult'
getek juga 'too'
kekoh gigit 'to bite'
kelorek kedekut 'greedy'
kesit sunyi 'quiet'
tubik keluar 'exit/out'
mmupo mandi sungai 'river bathing'
nnate binatang 'animal'
gege bising 'noisy'
petong baling 'to throw'
ggapo apa 'what'
dok bukan 'not'
betak kenyang 'full'


Speakers in the Pattani region are also noted to use loans directly from Thai such as tahang "army" from ทหาร RTGStá-hǎan, torosak "telephone" from โทรศัพท์ RTGStoorá-sàp and besek "receipt" from ใบเสร็จ RTGSbai-set.[7]


Gemination occurs for various purposes and in various forms in Kelatan-Pattani Malay. At the phonemic level, these geminations are transcribed as /CC/ but they are pronounced as [Cː] so /dd/ is pronounced as [dː].[8]

Initial syllable reduction

These geminations are derived by deleting the initial syllable and replacing it with a geminated form of the initial consonant of the remaining word.

Initial morpheme reduction

These geminates are derived by deleting the initial morpheme of a reduplicated word and replacing it with a geminated form of the remaining morpheme. Unlike the geminations acquired from initial syllable reduction, these geminates are not free variants of their Standard Malay counterparts.

Functional word reduction

In this situation, a word with a function is deleted and the word afterwards is geminated. This sort of gemination is a free variant of its Standard Malay counterpart.


Many loanwords tend to have initial geminated consonants too.


Kelantan-Pattani Malay has a set of stress rules that is quite different to that of Standard Malay.[9]

Words with initial simple consonants

Generally, in Kelantan-Pattani Malay, the primary stress falls on the last syllable if the word starts with a single consonant.

However, in words with more than one syllable, syllables with a schwa /ə/ are unstressed.

Syllables that do not have the schwa and are not in the word-final position take the secondary stress.

Words with geminated consonants

If a word has an initial syllable with a geminated consonant, that syllable automatically takes the primary stress.



  1. ^ Kelantan-Pattani Malay at Ethnologue (22nd ed., 2019) Closed access icon
  2. ^ Nawanit Yupho 1989, pp. 126–127.
  3. ^ a b Adi Yasran Abdul Aziz & Zaharani Ahmad, p. 76.
  4. ^ Adi Yasran Abdul Aziz 2010, p. 1.
  5. ^ Adi Yasran Abdul Aziz 2010, pp. 14–15.
  6. ^ "Kamus Kelantan: Loghat Kelate". Pencarian Bijak (in Malay). 1 November 2010. Retrieved 18 May 2021.
  7. ^ Abdonloh Khreeda-Oh; Hishamudin Isam; Mashetoh Abd Mutalib (January 2022). "The Borrowing Processes of Thai Language in Patani Malay Dialect in Thailand". International Journal of Multidisciplinary Research and Analysis. 05 (1): 16. doi:10.47191/ijmra/v5-i1-02.
  8. ^ Nawanit Yupho 1989, pp. 129–133.
  9. ^ Nawanit Yupho 1989, pp. 133–135.