Topics in colloquial Malay. PhD thesis
Author: Koh, Ann Sweesun
Publisher: Department of Linguistics & Language Studies, The University of Melbourne.
Publication date: 1990
Number of pages: 330
Format / Quality: PDF-zipped
This thesis is a description of some common linguistic features of Colloquial Malay, a spoken variety of the Malay language used by native Malay speakers of Malaysia among themselves in everyday unmarked speech situations. While linguistic works and grammars of Standard Malay (or, Bahasa Malaysia), the national language of Malaysia are numerous, there are very few works on the less formal varieties and dialects of Malay spoken in Malaysia. Little importance is given to studying Colloquial Malay and scholarly works on Colloquial Malay are very rare. This thesis seeks to explore and compare various formal properties of Colloquial Malay and Standard Malay and in doing so, to contribute to this largely unexplored area of study in the Malay language.
In this work I aim to provide a description of some of the major characteristics of CM in contrast with SM based on a comparison of one sizeable CM text with a comparable SM narrative text. An inductive method is used in analysing inter-and intra-textual shifts in register, that is, shifts in the degree of formality or informality, which correlate with the use of CM-like properties and SM-like properties. From this I build up a description of a set of CM features which can be expected to be characteristic of actual colloquial Malay usage, which will provide a basis for further study. The types of CM features described are diverse and include lexical, morphological and syntactic properties.
The lexical features examined include variant phonological forms, colloquial lexical roots, semantic shifts in the colloquial usage of some common roots, code-switching and English loans, the class of emotive, modal and illocutionary particles, and the classes of pronouns and prepositions in Colloquial Malay. Some typical Colloquial Malay expressions, phrases and constructions are dealt with briefly. Several grammatical features are considered: affixation and its frequency in Colloquial Malay relative to Standard Malay; ‘passive’ and causative constructions; the structure of the noun phrase; the Modifier-punya-Head construction, a typical Colloquial Malay construction; verbal auxiliaries; and typical uses of the adverbial saja/(a)je ‘only, just’ in Colloquial Malay. Clause combining strategies, which include subordination, coordination, verb serialization and juxtaposition, are discussed as well.
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