Research Article

On the Construction of Identity with Regional Lexical Variant “Kopitiam” in Malaysia


  • Wong Mun Wui Assistant Professor, School of Foreign Languages, Nanfang College of Sun Yat-Sen University, Guangzhou, Guangdong Province, China
  • Wang Tzu-Min Assistant Professor, School of Foreign Languages, Guilin Tourism University, Guilin, Guangxi Province, China
  • Kemo Badiane Assistant Professor, School of Foreign Languages, Nanfang College of Sun Yat-Sen University,Guangzhou, Guangdong Province, China


Regional lexical variants often emerge in interlocutors’ daily conversations, but they are unconscious about applying these locally lexical variants in the communications. Why do they use these lexical variants? What is the role of the regional lexical variants in the society? What is the significance of their existence? Why are there different lexical variants existed in different environments and context? In the quest of discovering the nature and the function of the regional lexical variants, an investigation and examination were conducted on the discussions within the online community to observe and analyze a high-frequency local lexical variant "Kopitiam" in the daily dynamic conversation among Malaysians. With the application of Functional Grammar Discourse Analysis this research found that in a specific context and environment, regional lexical variants played an essential role in promoting the establishment of identity among social members in certain region. The interaction between members were developed, the sense of groupness and belonging were strengthened gradually, and eventually societal cohesion could be formed. In addition, this investigation also revealed that the relevant lexical variants could possibly be derived by the differentiation of lexical semantics in certain contexts. The findings in this research provide a deeper understanding on how language interacts and participates in the formation of identification in the societal and individual terms in a specific context.

Article information


International Journal of Linguistics, Literature and Translation

Volume (Issue)

3 (9)





How to Cite

Wui, W. M. ., Tzu-Min, W. ., & Badiane, K. . (2020). On the Construction of Identity with Regional Lexical Variant “Kopitiam” in Malaysia. International Journal of Linguistics, Literature and Translation, 3(9), 184–202.


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Regional lexical variants, Identity, Functional Grammar, Discourse Analysis, Context