Van Ophuijsen Spelling System

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Van Ophuijsen Spelling System was used as the orthography for the Indonesian language from 1901 to 1947. Before the Van Ophuijsen Spelling System was in force, the Malay language (and consequently Indonesian) in the Dutch East Indies (now Indonesia) had been written in the Jawi script. In 1947, the Van Ophuijsen Spelling System was replaced by the Republican Spelling System.

History[edit]

Prof. Charles van Ophuijsen, who devised the orthography, was a Dutch linguist. A former inspector in a school at Bukittinggi, West Sumatra, he became a professor of the Malay language at Leiden University in the Netherlands. Together with two native assistants, Engku Nawawi and Mohammed Taib Sultan Ibrahim, he published the new orthography in Kitab Logat Malajoe: Woordenlijst voor Spelling der Maleische Taal in 1901, and published a second book, Maleische Spraakkunst, in 1910. The latter was translated by T.W. Kamil into Tata Bahasa Melayu in 1983 and became the primary guide for the spelling and usage of the Malay language in Indonesia.

Characteristics[edit]

The Van Ophuijsen Spelling System was modelled extensively on Dutch orthography, ostensibly to make pronunciation of Malay and Indonesian words more easily understandable to Dutch colonial authorities. Thus, Van Ophuijsen Spelling System used the Dutch variant of the Latin script, reflecting contemporaneous Dutch phonology. Some noticeable characteristics of this spelling system were:

  • The digraph dj was used to write [], for example djari.
  • The digraph tj was used to write [], for example tjutji.
  • The letter j was used to write [j], for example jang, pajah and sajang.
  • The digraph nj was used to write [ɲ], for example njamuk.
  • The digraph sj was used to write [ʃ], for example sjarat.
  • The digraph ch was used to write [x], for example achir.
  • The digraph oe was used to write [u], for example goeroe, itoe and oemoer.
  • An apostrophe was used to write the glottal stop [ʔ], for example ma'moer, 'akal, ta' and pa'.
  • A diaeresis, for example ä, ë, ï and ö, was used indicate that a vowel was pronounced as a full syllable and not as a diphthong (ai [ai̯], au [au̯] and oi [oi̯]), for example dinamaï (pronounced as [dinamai], not [dinamai̯]).

References[edit]