Malay trade and creole languages
In addition to its classical and literary form, Malay has various regional dialects established before the rise of the Malaccan Sultanate. But beyond these, Malay spread through interethnic contact and trade across the Malay archipelago as far as the Philippines. This contact resulted in a lingua franca that was called Bazaar Malay or low Malay. It is generally believed that Bazaar Malay was a pidgin, perhaps influenced by contact between Malay and Chinese traders.
Besides the general simplification that occurs with pidgins, the Malay lingua franca had several distinctive characteristics. One that possessives were formed with punya 'its owner'; another that plural pronouns were formed with orang 'person'. The only Malayic affixes that remained productive were tər- and bər-.
- Ada became a progressive particle.
- Reduced forms of ini 'this' and itu 'that' before a noun became determiners.
- The verb pərgi 'go' was reduced, and became a preposition 'towards'.
- Causative constructions were formed with kasi or bəri 'to give' or bikin or buat 'to make'.
- A single preposition, often sama, was used for multiple functions, including direct and indirect object.
- Rumah-ku 'my house' becomes Saya punya rumah
- Saya pukul dia 'I hit him' becomes Saya kasi pukul dia
- Megat dipukul Robert 'Megat is hit by Robert' becomes Megat dipukul dek Robert
Bazaar Malay is still used to a limited extent in Singapore and Malaysia. The most important consequence, however, has been that pidgin Malay creolized, creating several new languages.
|Native to||Singapore, Malaysia|
|Native speakers||10,000 (1986)|
|Native speakers||(20,000 cited 1981)|
Baba Malay, once a diverse group of pidgins, is spoken in Malaysia but is now almost extinct. These are Malay varieties spoken by the Peranakan, Chinese descendants who live in Malaysia, Singapore and Indonesia since the 15th Century. Baba Malay is close to the trade pidgins which became creolized across the Malay Archipelago, producing the variety of Malay creoles seen today. A kind of Baba Malay, called Peranakan, is spoken among Chinese living in East Java. It is a mixture of Malay or Indonesian with local Javanese (East Javanese dialect) and Chinese elements (particularly Hokkien). This particular variety is found only in East Java, especially in Surabaya and surrounding areas. While other Chinese tend to speak the language varieties of the places in which they live (the Chinese of Central Java speak High or Standard Javanese in daily conversation even among themselves; in West Java, they tend to speak Sundanese), in Surabaya younger ethnic Chinese people tend to speak pure Javanese (Surabaya dialect) and learn Mandarin in courses.
Example (Spoken in Surabaya):
- Lu bo' gitu! : Don't act that way!
- Yak apa kabarnya si Eli? : How's Eli?
- Nti' kamu pigio ambek cecemu ae ya : Go with your sister, okay?
- Nih, makanen sa'adae : Please have a meal!
- Kamu cari'en bukune koko ndhek rumae Ling Ling : Search your brother's book in Ling Ling's house.
Betawi Malay, also known as Jakarta or Java Malay, is a creolized-Malay which is spoken in Jakarta (the modern name for Betawi) and its surroundings. Betawian or Omong Betawi is based on Bazaar Malay (Melayu Pasar) but influenced by various languages such as Javanese, Sundanese (the area is surrounded by Sundanese speaking area), Chinese, Portuguese, Dutch, Balinese and others. Betawian creole began to be used after 1750 in Batavia, and replaced Portuguese creole as the lingua franca.
Betawian Malay was also influenced by Chinese-style Malay spoken by the Chinese settlers who had come earlier.
It has now become a very popular language particularly amongst the younger generations in Indonesia due largely to its use on television (such as sinetron or sitcom).
Betawian Malay is divided into two main dialects
- Betawi Kota dialect: Originally spoken within Jakarta with the typical strong e like (ada becomes ade).
- Betawi Udik dialect: Originally spoken in suburban Jakarta, Tangerang, Banten, and Bogor and Bekasi in West Java. It has a strong a like (ada, pronounced adah).
Another Betawi Udik variant is called Betawi Ora, which was highly influenced by Javanese.
There is a significant Chinese community which lives around Tangerang, called Cina Benteng, who have lost their mother tongue. They now speak Betawian Malay.
- aye (kota), sayah (udik), gue (informal) : I
- lu (informal or intimate) : you
- iye (strong e, not schwa like Malaysian), iyah : yes
- kagak, ora (udik variant and it is Javanese influence) : no
- Encing mo pegi kemane? : Where will you go, mam?
- Dagangan aye udeh bures, dah : My stuff has been sold out.
Betawi Malay was the ancestor of Cocos Malay.
Malaccan Creole Malay
|Malaccan Creole Malay|
|Chitties Creole Malay|
|Native speakers||300 (no date)|
Spoken since the 16th century by descendents of Tamil merchants of the Malacca Straits. It may be historically related to Sri Lanka Creole Malay.
Sri Lanka Malay
The Sri Lankan Creole Malay language is a unique mixture of the Sinhalese language and the Tamil language with Malay. Sri Lanka Malay (SLM) is a restructured vernacular of Malay base spoken by at least five different communities in Sri Lanka which has evolved to be significantly divergent from other varieties of Malay due to intimate contact with the dominant languages of Sinhala and Tamil. The Malays in Sri Lanka, whose ancestry include laborers brought by the Dutch and British, as well as soldiers in the Dutch garrison, now constitute 0.3% of the population, numbering some 46,000. It is spoken exclusively by the Malay ethnic minority in Sri Lanka.
Broome Pearling Lugger Pidgin
A pidgin used in the pearl industry in West Australia.
|Native speakers||a few?|
Brunei Malay–based pidgin
A pidginized variant of Brunei Malay, Sabah Malay is a local trade language. There are a few native speakers in urban areas, mainly children who have a second native language.
|Region||Makassar, South Sulawesi|
|Native speakers||1,880,000 (2000)|
|Native speakers||25,000 (2000 census)|
Balinese Malay is a trade language of the island.
East Indonesian Malay
The creoles of eastern Indonesia appear to have formed as Malays and Javanese, using lingua franca Malay, established their monopoly on the spice trade before the European colonial era. They have a number of features in common:
- ə becomes a, e, or assimilates to the following vowel
- i, u lower to e, o in some environments
- there is a loss of final plosives p, t, k, and the neutralization of final nasals in part of the lexicon
- the perfective marker sudah reduces to su or so
- makan becomes makang
- pergi becomes pigi or pi
- terkejut becomes takajo
- lembut becomes lombo
- dapat becomes dapa
Bacan is perhaps the most archaic, and appears to be closely related to Brunei Malay (which is not a creole).
|Region||Bacan, North Maluku|
|Native speakers||2,500 (1991)|
Manado Malay is another creole which is the lingua franca in Manado and Minahasa, North Sulawesi. It is based on Ternatean Malay and highly influenced by Ternatean, Dutch, Minahasa languages and some Portuguese words.
- Kita = I
- Ngana = you
- Torang = we
- Dorang = they
- Io = yes
- Nyanda' = no (' = glottal stop)
- Kita pe mama ada pi ka pasar : My mom is going to the market
- Ngana so nyanda' makan dari kalamareng : You haven't eaten since yesterday.
- Ngana jang badusta pa kita : Don't lie to me
- Torang so pasti bisa : we can surely do that
|Region||Morotai Island, central Halmahera|
|Native speakers||1,000 (1992)|
Ternate / North Moluccan Malay
This creole resembles Manado Malay, but with different accents and vocabulary. A large percentage of its vocabulary is borrowed from Ternatean, such as: ngana : you (sg) ngoni : you (pl) bifi : ant ciri : to fall Spoken in Ternate, Tidore and Halmahera islands, North Maluku for intergroup communications, and in the Sula Islands.
- Jang bafoya : Don't lie!
|Region||Kupang, West Timor|
|Native speakers||200,000 (1997)|
Spoken in Kupang, East Nusa Tenggara, on the west end of Timor Island. It is based on archaic Malay which mixed mostly with Dutch, Portuguese and local languages. Similar to Ambonese Malay with several differences in vocabularies and accent. Its grammatical system resembles that of other East Indonesian Malay Creoles.
- beta = I
- lu = You
- sonde = No
- Beta sonde tau, lai = I don't know
|Native speakers||250,000 (date missing)|
This Malay creole has been apparent since the 17th century. It was first brought by traders from Western Indonesia, then developed when the Dutch Empire colonized the Molluccas (Maluku). This was the first example of the transliteration of Malay into Roman script, and used as a tool of the missionaries in Eastern Indonesia. Malay has been taught in schools and churches in Ambon, and because of this, has become a lingua franca in Ambon and its surroundings.
Christian speakers use Ambonese Malay as their mother tongue, while Muslims speak it as second language as they have their own language. Muslims in Ambon island particularly live in several areas in Municipality of Ambon, dominant in Salahutu and Leihitu Peninsula. While in the Lease (pron : LAY-AH-SAY) islands, Christian Ambonese-speaking community is dominant in part of Haruku, Saparua and Nusa Laut islands. Ambonese Malay Creole has also become lingua franca in Buru, Seram, Geser-Gorom and South-West Molucca Islands, though with different accents.
Ambonese Malay is based on Malay with a great influences from both European languages (Dutch and Portuguese) as well as the vocabularies or grammatical structures of indigenous languages. It is famous for its melodious accent. Muslims and Christian speakers tend to make different choices in vocabulary.
- Beta pung nama Ahmad = My name is Ahmed
- Ose su tau Ahmad pung maitua? = Do you know Ahmed's wife?
- Jang bakudapa deng dia dolo, dia ada gagartang deng ose = Never see him for a moment, he's angry to you.
- Susi dong pung kaka mo pi kamari = Susi's brother will come
- Ini beta kasi akang voor ose = This is for you.
- Ale badiang jua, beta cumang mo tipu-tipu Tuang Ala = Shut up, I am tricking God ( for joking )
- Beta seng tau = I don't know
Ambonese word samples
- Beta = I
- Ose, Ale = you (ose is based on voce in Portuguese)
- Dia = he, she
- Akang = (may) it
- Katong = we (cut from kita orang)
- Dong = they (cut from dia orang)
- Kamong, kamorang = you (pl) (cut from kamu orang)
- Antua = he, she (respectful form)
- iyo = yes
- seng = no
- bakubae = peace
- nanaku = pay attention to something
- su = already (indicating something has already happened or has been done)
|Native speakers||3,700 (2000)|
A distinct variant of Moluccan Malay. Spoken in Banda Islands, Maluku and it has specific accents. Different from Ambonese Malay and for Ambonese, Bandanese Malay is widely perceived as sounding funny due to its unique features.
- Beta : I
- pane : you
- katorang : we
- mir : ants (deviated from Dutch : mier)
|Native speakers||500,000 (no date)|
Originally a contact language among tribes in Indonesian New Guinea (Papua and West Papua) for trading and daily communication, now a growing number of native speakers. Papuan and Irian declared Malay as their language since 1926, before the Sumpah Pemuda declaration. Nowadays, they tend to speak more formal Indonesian. This variant is also understood in Vanimo, Papua New Guinea near Indonesian border.
- Ini tanah pemerintah punya, bukan ko punya! = It's governmental land, not yours!
- Kitorang tar pernah bohong = We don't lie.
Creoles of Malaysia based on languages other than Malay
- Malay Ambon - English - Indonesia Dictionary by Chaumont B. Devin and Jonny Latuny
- A Baba Malay Dictionary by William Gwee Thian Hock
- Malay creole boy, Hottentot Square Cape Town; Malay boy of Cape Town [picture] / George French Angas delt. et lithog.
- The Malay Chetty Creole Language Of Malacca A Historical And Linguistic Perspective
- Wurm, Mühlhäusler, & Tryon, Atlas of languages of intercultural communication in the Pacific, Asia and the Americas, 1996:673ff.
- MALAY DIALECT RESEARCH IN MALAYSIA: THE ISSUE OF PERSPECTIVE1.
- Baba Malay of Malacca.
- Why Malay/Indonesian Undressed: Contact, Geography, and the Roll of the Dice, by David Gil
- Malays contact with Sri Langka.
- Sabah Malay at Ethnologue (16th ed., 2009)
- Wurm, Mühlhäusler, & Tryon, Atlas of languages of intercultural communication in the Pacific, Asia and the Americas, 1996:682.
- Gorap at Ethnologue (17th ed., 2013)