Research Article

How Love is Perceived by Malaysian Malay Children


  • Kuang Ching Hei Consultant, Learning & Development, Universal Business Academy, Malaysia
  • Maya Khemlani David Professor of sociolinguistics, Associate Member, Asia-Europe Institute, University Malaya, Malaysia


This paper explores how love is perceived by Malaysian Malay children from two perspectives: parental love and their own expression of love. They were volunteers who agreed to participate in the study. Their ages ranged from 10 to 12 years old and they were school going Malay children. Four questions were posed to gather their written responses. Due to some incomplete answers, a total of 93 sets of data were found to be suitable for analysis. Using the love language categories proposed, data were then categorised accordingly. Findings suggest that majority of the children perceive their parent’s love language as ‘Acts of service’ and ‘Receiving gifts’ and to a small extent, ‘Physical touch’. Similarly, the love language expressed by majority of the Malay children
encompass ‘Acts of service’ and ‘Receiving gifts’. This could indicate that the
expression of love in a Malaysian Malay context could be influenced by the
parenting styles. However, about a quarter of the total responses did not fit into
the categories proposed. This implies that the love language of the Malaysian
Malay children cannot be completely analysed through a western model and that
some cultural differences exist. Due to the small sample, the outcome of this
study cannot be generalised but it is an eye opener for parents, psychologists and
foreigners alike who may use this information to better understand how the
Malaysian Malay family functions. This information could increase a more
harmonious interaction among different cultures in the future.

Article information


International Journal of Linguistics, Literature and Translation

Volume (Issue)

1 (2)





How to Cite

Hei, K. C. ., & David, M. K. . (2018). How Love is Perceived by Malaysian Malay Children. International Journal of Linguistics, Literature and Translation, 1(2), 43–56. Retrieved from



Malaysian Malay, parenting, love, children, differences