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Thursday, October 05, 2006

Latihan Ketidaksenonohan Bahasa (Language Tomfoolery Exercise)

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The Language Police news posted earlier today got Walski thinking - about language.

One thought that struck Walski was the word 'a i r' - one of those unique words which means something in both Bahasa Malaysia and English. Not so long ago, there used to be bi-lingual signs at petrol stations that stated:

Air and Water
Angin dan Air

You probably don't see these bi-lingual signages anymore. But it occurred to Walski that if you used the Bahasa Malaysia version of 'air' for the English phrase, and the English version of 'air' in the Bahasa phrase, both would say Something & the-same-Something-in-another-language.

Neat, huh? Isn't campuration a wonderful thing?

To digress a little, another thing that Walski likes to do from time to time is to rearrange words in phrases. For instance:

Food for Thought

which means presenting some premise or wacky theory for you to think about. Or something along those lines. But switch the words around,

Thought for Food

and you get an advertising tag-line for starving philosphers.

This works great for English, because as a language, it tends to be more concise. Doesn't work as well for Bahasa Malaysia though.

So anyway, back to the Language Police. What if they decided to take their new powers one step further, and invade the blogsphere, insisting that Malaysia-based blogs comply to their signage requirements?
(more language tomfoolery in the fool post)

Boy... Walski sure as heck hopes that day never comes. But if it did, here are some of the possible repercussions:

► For starters, myAsylum would have to become WadSakitJiwa Ku
► Jeff Ooi's Screenshots would necessarily become LayarTembak Jeff Ooi
Aisehman would probably need to become Alamak
Rocky's Bru, strangely enough, would be Bru Rocky
KTemoc Konsiders, would change to KTemoc mempertimbangKan would have no choice but to be blog.rakSAKsa (minus any NST in it)
minishorts would inevitably be celanapendekkecil

and so on, and so forth... One blog Walski attempted to translate was Howsy's The Sensintrovert, but apparently the Bahasa Malaysia term for "introvert" is... well, introvert.

And that's the thing about Bahasa Malaysia - it can be limiting at times. And over the years it has borrowed many terminologies from other languages to enrich itself. So what's this crap about strengthening the language and keeping its purity?

Another thing is that the language tends to be a little long-winded, making it difficult, if not impossible to express ideas concisely.

Fellow blogger The Malaysian WargaMalaysia has also brought up a very pertinent point in his post related to this topic: what the f*ck is the Government up to? On the one hand it wants to improve the standard of English, and on the other hand, limiting the use of English in favor of Bahasa Malaysia.

And by the way, which moron was it who decided that the national language should be known as Bahasa Melayu? Walski refuses to call it that, and if it is meant to be a language to integrate all ethnicities, then it should rightfully be called Bahasa Malaysia. Granted it is one ethnicity that provided the language, but for the language to be identified by that group alone would be a little exclusivist, wouldn't it?

Speaking of that particular ethnicity, a commenter on the earlier post brought up a very interesting question: Would UMNO then have to change it's name to Perasatuan Nasional Melayu Bersekutu, and adopt the acronym PNMB? (thanks to reader ksjdy)

Well, they might as well, since it is in the nature of their leadership, feisty as they can be, to readily offer their verbal PNMBuk to shut up anyone who dares question whatever it is they wanna say or do...

Ah... Malaysia, truly pelik!