Published in 1812, this study of Malay in its written form was begun during William Marsden's service with the East India Company in Sumatra (1771–9). He continued his textual work in England upon his return, thus putting his practical knowledge into a solid scholarly frame. An expert in Asian languages and an outstanding Malay scholar in the English-speaking world, Marsden (1754–1836) was a fellow of the Royal Society from 1783 and later its vice-president and treasurer. This work is distinctive for its substantial Malay–English section, and for the use of examples from original Malay texts collected by the author. Despite being superseded by subsequent dictionaries, it is still a highly regarded and valuable source of information, especially about older, specialised and regional terms. The introduction provides the reader with a history of the Malayan language, including its spread, usage and regional variations.
Part I. A Grammar of the Malay Language Introduction 1. The Malayan alphabet 2. Of consonants and vowels 3. Orthographical marks 4. Division of words 5. Parts of speech 6. Nouns 7. Adjectives 8. Comparison of adjectives 9. Numerals 10. Pronouns 11. Demonstrative or definitive; 12. Verbs 13. Verbs substantive 14. Distinctions and relations of the verb 15. Inflexions of the transitive verb 16. Inflexions of the intransitive verb; 17. Adverbs or modals 18. Prepositions or directives 19. Conjunctives 20. Interjections or exclamations 21. Particles 22. Of syntax 23. Of dialects 24. Of prosody 25. Praxis
Part II. A Dictionary of the Malay Language Preface The Malayan alphabet Dictionary.