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  Lesson 34 Sila (Please)

Click to listen to the Malay sentences.

A second reading (by Michelle Nor Ismat, a native speaker)

Please sit! Sila duduk!
Can I enter? Boleh saya masuk?
Yes, please enter. Boleh, sila masuk.
Please eat. Sila makan.
Please drink. Sila minum.
Please come to my house when you are free. Sila datang ke rumah saya bila senang.
sila = please
duduk = to sit
masuk = to enter
minum = to drink

For those who want to know more:

The word Sila can be translated as "Please" in English and is usually used when you invite someone respectfully to do something.
Example: If someone knocks at your door and you ask him to enter you would say Sila masuk. (Please enter.)
Another example: Sila datang ke rumah saya bila senang means "Please come to my house when you are free." But remember that Sila is always used for a polite invitation only.
You cannot translate "Please" into Malay with Sila each and every time though because while you can invite someone to sit or drink, you cannot "invite" him to help you!
In the case of asking a service of another or for help you have to use the word Tolong (see Lesson 38) to remove all ambiguity. Example: Tolong bantu saya. (Please help me.)
There are borderline cases though. The sentence "Please inform him that I will not be coming" can be translated either as Tolong beritahu dia saya tidak akan datang. or Sila beritahu dia saya tidak akan datang. However you will never go wrong if you stick to using Tolong when you are asking someone to do you a service.
When you want your guests to feel really at home you can say Buat seperti di rumah sendiri (literally) Make as if you are in your own house, or as we say in English: Make yourself at home!
When Sila is used with the suffix kan it doesn't need any other word to go with it as it has the sense of "Go ahead" or "Help yourself".
Thus when someone asks if he can borrow something from you (eg. Boleh saya pinjam pen anda sekejap? meaning "Can I borrow your pen for a moment?") you can just say Silakan (the equivalent in English being "Sure, go ahead" or "Sure, just help yourself".
Another word that is often used in the place of Sila is Jemput (a verb meaning "to invite") or Jemputlah. Thus when you invite someone to enter your house you can say Jemputlah masuk.
When asking guests to help themselves to the food that is displayed on the table you can simply say Jemputlah or Silakan (both of which mean "Please help yourself") with your hand showing the table where the food is. Similarly instead of saying Sila makan you can also say Jemput makan.

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