Sarawak Malay

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Sarawak Malay
Kelakar Sarawak
Native toSarawak
Native speakers
900,000 - 1,200,000
Austronesian
Language codes
ISO 639-3
zlm-sar
GlottologNone

Sarawak Malay (Standard Malay: Bahasa Melayu Sarawak or Bahasa Sarawak, Jawi: بهاس ملايو سراوق, Sarawak Malay: Kelakar Sarawak) is a Malayic language native to the State of Sarawak. It is a common language used by natives of Sarawak. This variant is related to Bruneian Malay, spoken in the districts of Limbang and Lawas (Sarawak) and Pontianak Malay, which is spoken in the neighbouring West Kalimantan province in Indonesia.[citation needed] There is some debate on whether it is a vernacular variety of Malay or a separate language altogether.[1] It is more similar to Ibanic languages compared to the Malay dialects of Sumatra and the Malayan Peninsula, which makes it mutually unintelligible for Malay speakers outside Sarawak and Borneo.[citation needed].

Vocabulary[edit]

Below is a non-exhaustive list of lexical differences between Standard Malay and Sarawak Malay.

  1. baring - gurin
  2. bodoh - paloi, tuyuk
  3. berlari - berekot
  4. cantik (for woman/girl etc.) / kacak (for man/boy) - kacak
  5. garang - gaok
  6. hijau - gadong, ijo
  7. juga/jua - juak
  8. kapal terbang - belon
  9. kecil - kecik, salus
  10. kedekut - bedegis (superlative)
  11. kenapa - kenak
  12. kenyang - kedadak (superlative)
  13. mahu - maok
  14. merah jambu - kalas
  15. pakai - pakei
  16. satu, dua, lima - sigek, duak, limak
  17. sekarang/kini - kinek (tok)
  18. singgah - berambeh
  19. sombong - lawa
  20. tembikai/semangka - semangka
  21. tak/tidak - si/sik
  22. tipu - bulak
  23. ya - aok
  24. melihat/nampak - nangga
  25. berkira - cokot

Most of the words used in Sarawak Malay nowadays are influenced by many languages such as English. Some English words that have undergone significant pronunciation changes:

  1. Action - Eksen
  2. Ball - Bol
  3. Carpet - Kapet
  4. Colour - Kaler
  5. Punctured - Pancet
  6. Handphone- Henpon
  7. Motor - Moto
  8. Frying Pan - Prempan
  9. Orange - Oren
  10. Round - Raun
  11. Benar - Mena

Dialects[edit]

There is also a distinct variant of Sarawakian, which is known as Bahasa Laut (Sea Language). Most of the words that are spoken end with the vowel o. E.g.:

English Bahasa Sarawak Bahasa Laut
What Nakpa Nakpo
you Kau/ Kitak Au/ Itak
Like that Kedak ya Piyo

Word formation[edit]

The word formation rules of Sarawak Malay are very different from those of the normative Malay language. Without prior exposure, most West Malaysians have trouble following Sarawakian conversations. Sabahan is also different from Sarawak Malay, however they do share some lexicon, such as the word Bah, which is used to stress a sentence. E.g.: Don't do like that - "Iboh polah kedak ya bah." It is similar in use to "lah" in Singlish and in West Malaysia. E.g.: Don't do like that 'lah'. Some words in Sarawakian Malay have a similar pronunciation of ai as ei, as in some districts of Perak: serai > serei, kedai > kedei. Some Sarawakian Malay verbs have a final glottal stop after a vowel or in place of final /r/: kena > kenak, air > aik, beri > berik. like in the Aboriginal Malay languages of West Malaysia.

Many words in Sarawak Malay diverge from the original pronunciation and some are totally different. E.g.:

English Bahasa Malaysia Bahasa Sarawak
Sweeping Menyapu Nyapu
Coconut Kelapa / Nyiur Nyior[2]
More Lagi lagik/ Agik/Gik
Road Jalan Raya Jeraya
Clever Pandai Pandei
Teach Mengajar Ngaja
Yes Ya aok
Cat Kucing Pusak
Dog Anjing / Asu (less used) Asuk
Chicken Ayam / Manuk (archaic) Manok
Knife Pisau ladin (Malay/Melanau) Dandin/ pisok

Colloquial and contemporary usage[edit]

Contemporary usage of Bahasa Sarawak includes contemporary Malay words or incorporated from other languages, spoken by the urban speech community, which may not be familiar to the older generation. E.g.: SMS language. E.g.:

English Bahasa Sarawak SMS Text
You Kitak ktk
me Kamek kmk
No Sik x
Message Mesej msg
Nothing Sikda xda
why kenak knk

References[edit]

  1. Daftar Kata DIALEK MELAYU SARAWAK Edisi Kedua (ISBN 9836263241)
  1. ^ Sarawak, a land of many tongues. Borneo Post, 23 December 2010
  2. ^ In Indonesian Language: Kelapa means "coconut", Niyur means "coconut tree".

External links[edit]