TV Smith's Dua Sen. The politically incorrect irregular columnist combines
his idiosyncratic observations and tangential commentary into a blog...
SOTONG KENA HANTAM KAU KAU
Should we mix it up when it comes to language?
Is borrowing from other languages a way of keeping
a language alive or will the practice corrupt
it beyond recognition? Have a look at TV SMITHs
(www.mycen.com.my/duasen) examples of mixed messages,
then e-mail us your thoughts at email@example.com.
The current debate on the liberal borrowing
of English words by users of the national language
may be overdue but it is seldom noted that reverse
contamination is just as severe. Our own
brand of spoken or colloquial English contains
just as many loan words from the Malay
language and other local dialects. However, there
may not be as many complaints, in this case, as
many of these unique slang terms are handy, precise
and often matchless. Here are but a few examples.
any connections or openings (similar to
I heard theres a new tender, have
you got any lubang?
sotong a clueless or bungling person.
Dont rely on him to finish the task,
hes a real blur sotong.
tak tahu feign ignorance.
I asked him about the loan and he buat tak
left, disappear or escape depending on
context (past tense: cabutted.)
The minister cabut already.
harap not dependable.
No point turning to him. He cannot harap
chun accurate, beautiful or desirable
depending on context (Hokkien).
His prediction turned out to be damn chun.
jambu good looking.
The new Miss Malaysia is damn jambu.
leceh very troublesome.
Going shopping with her always damn leceh.
malu extreme embarrassment.
My credit card transaction got rejected,
damn malu man!
sian bored or frustrated (Hokkien).
This holiday I stayed at home and did nothing.
agak agak Dont guess or estimate.
Dont agak agak or we may end up on
the wrong road.
Reverse (began as Malay contraction of
the nautical term go astern.)
Looks like a dead end. Better gostan your
kau kau defeated or beaten (combination
of Malay and Hokkien).
Our football team got hantam kau kau.
buddy or friend of similar interest.
Daniel is my regular fishing kaki.
tim settled (Cantonese).
The damage is quite bad, so I dont know
whether can kau tim with the driver.
That fella kena ketuk already. They charged
him RM300 for the miserly meal.
My chances with her koyak already.
work Skip work or become absent (usually
Dont tell anyone I ponteng work today.
buaya A person with an ulterior motive
or wanton desire.
During Ladies Nights you can
see all the real buayas at the bar.
habis imminent and definite trouble
If your wife sees you with her, sure habis.
withstand or endure.
Drive all night where can tahan?
drink or booze (Tamil for water).
Its Friday! Lets go tanni tonight.
get a ride or lift.
If youre going back hometown, can I tumpang
That place we went to very ulu.
teruk bad or severe.
The weather today very teruk.
lau! Wow! (Hokkien).
Wah lau! Like that also can.
article also appears in print and online
in today's StarMag (The
2004 TV SMITH
Link to this article: http://www.tvsmith.net.my/duasen/090504_blursotong.html
to TV Smith's Dua Sen: http://www.tvsmith.net.my/duasen/