Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Bahasa Malaysia, the Malaysian language.

A comment in my facebook about why we don't have 1Bahasa in the 1Malaysia concept elicit the response from me below:

If you look into the etymology (the history of words) of words in Bahasa Malaysia, you will see that it reflects the rich history of the Malay archipelago. There are Tamil, Sanskrit, Hokkien, Mandarin, Persian, Arabic, and English influences that reflect the cultures that have help influenced the history of Malaysia.

If you read books about what Buddhist believe in, you will soon see similarity in words such as Duka (suffering) which is also in the Malay language.

The Tamil and Sanskrit influences in daily words in BM reflects the history of Lembah Bujang. This site was once a Hindu and Buddhist pilgrimage site. Archaeologist every day are still uncovering the magnitude of the importance of Lembah Bujang in this region.

The concept of Sultan and Daulat we use for our Sultans has Arabic and Persian influences. Before the arrival of Islam, our kings were called Raja. With the arrival of Islam and Arab influences, The Raja became Sultans.

When the English colonist came, Romanized script overtook Jawi to become to the main written form of the Malay language. Open any secondary school science book and you will see the influences of English in it. The very name of the subject Fizik and Biologi comes from the word Physics and Biology.

The English language itself has a lot of European language influences in it and this influences too we have absorbed.

We call it Bahasa Malaysia and not Bahasa Melayu to note that this language is specific to Malaysia even though it share the same basis as the Bahasa Melayu that Indonesia and Brunei uses. However, the influences that has gone to make it unique is truly a Malaysian one.

With all the international influences and constant evolution of the language we call Bahasa Malaysia, it can be said that this is a global language.

Personally, I have always made it a point to use the word "Bahasa Malaysia" and not "Bahasa Melayu" to enforce the view that this national language we use is truly a national language, that it belongs to all Malaysians.

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