Tracing nativised irregular verbs in Malaysian English

Keywords: Suffix, Past Tense, Past Participle, variety of English, Malaysian English


The alternate use of suffix –t and –ed among Malaysians has become a concern since it can denote conformity towards British English, American English or be deemed as a form of grammatical nativisation. This study aims to reveal the preferred suffix variant used by Malaysians when forming the past tense and past participle. A Malaysian online English newspaper corpus representing acrolectal Malaysian English was built to facilitate this study. Twelve irregular verbs that can take suffix –t and –ed were analysed using WordSmith Tools 5. Findings showed that Malaysians generally prefer to use suffix –ed when forming the past tense but opt for suffix –t when forming the past participle. The integration of morphological elements from both British English and American English into everyday use by Malaysians seems to be contributing towards grammatical nativisation, ultimately a standardised variety if it persists.

Author Biographies

Jian Mei Chai, University of Malaya

Jian Mei Chai is currently pursuing her MA in University of Malaya and is a member of public relations personnel at a Malaysian-based communications agency. Her research interest includes genre analysis, semiotics, and multimodality.

Christina Sook Beng Ong, Universiti Tunku Abdul Rahman

Christina Sook Beng Ong is a lecturer in the Department of Languages and Linguistics, Univerisiti Tunku Abdul Rahamn (Kampar Campus). Her research interest includes the use of corpus linguistics methodology to study written discourses and varieties of English especially Malaysian English.

How to Cite
Chai, J. M., & Ong, C. S. B. (2019). Tracing nativised irregular verbs in Malaysian English. The Asian Journal of Applied Linguistics, 6(2), 210-220. Retrieved from