Talk like a Penangite (Part 2)

Welcome back to Talk like a Penangnite! I hope you all have read the first part of this series. Today we’re going to talk about suffixes, but not just suffixes of any sort! These special suffixes can only be used in certain Southeast Asian countries. You’ll find this useful in countries like Malaysia, Singapore etc.


  1. The Mighty “LAH”

This is probably the most common suffix used daily by everyone here. “Lah” emphasises force and mostly, a bit of frustration. Sometimes, “lah” might induce obligation in the other party. Don’t get me wrong! We aren’t bitter people, we are just more fast-paced.


Persuasion – Come lah, Please lah, you will enjoy it.

Agreeing half-heartedly – Ok lah, you say one ah. (We’ll come to “ah” later)

Apologetic half heartedly – Sorry lah, didn’t know you were busy mah. (We’ll come to “mah” later)

Dumbfounded – What lah, you think I stupid is it?

Generous (but forceful like grandmas) – Take some more lah, you so thin liao. (We’ll come to “liao” later)

That explains it – That’s why lah, don’t want listen loh! (We’ll come to “loh” later)


  1. “Ah” you done yet?

“Ah” is used when you want to create suspense and a bit of drama, to show that a sentence is not over. Look at the following examples.


You say one ah, I go check again. If none, you kena liao! (Kena here means you’re in trouble, and we’ll come to “liao” later)

Crazy ah, water so hot how to shower?


  1. “Mah”

Refers to something or an action before previously.


Already did it just now mah.

Gave you already mah.


  1. The “Liao” question

A suffix to explain already, can be combined with “mah” to show frustration in explaining something that has already been done.


Where are you? Can come and pick me liao.

Did you buy rice for me? I very hungry liao lah.

You want the document? I passed to you liao mah.


  1. Don’t you dare “Loh” me

Used when you are not willing to do something, but forced to.


You want a divorce? Okay loh!

Up to you loh, you won’t listen to me also. (We like to put also at the back of our sentences.)


That’s the end of Talk like a Penangnite Part 2. I hope you have enjoyed this and do follow or bookmark us for more!