Sunday, August 06, 2006

The Sensintrovert's Merdeka Series (1): Let's Learn Manglish, Lah!

As a run-up to our 49th Merdeka Celebration come 31st August, I'm going to have a short series of very Malaysianistic (is there such a word?) things every Sunday for 4 consecutive weeks.

To start off this week, let's reflect on our very proud and unique Manglish, not found anywhere else in the world. The following will be all C&P stuff from Wikipedia, i.e. on Malaysian English, Manglish and British and Malaysian English differences.

To begin with, here's an example of the list of words or phrases only used in Malaysian English. Feel free to add in more.

More words and grammar:


* "barsket" - derived from 'bastard', general derogatory term. May also be derived from 'basket case'.

* "bladibarsket" - derived from 'bloody bastard', profane derogatory term.

* "kapster" - a nosy or talkative person; can be also used as an adjective, e.g., "I hate them because they are so kapster." Contraction of the Malay verb "cakap", to speak, plus -ster (probably from analogy with English words such as "trickster").

* "maluation" - embarrassment, from Malay "malu" + English "-ation".

[My addition: "Menyiasuikan" -to embarass/embarassing, from Hokkien 'xiasui' (not to be confused with a blogger across the Causeway)]

* "outstation" - out of town (e.g., going outstation).

* "terrer" - (pronounced as the English "terror") Refers to someone or something being awesomely amazing or good (e.g., "Bloody hell, that guy is terrer!").


* "aiksy/lan si" - arrogant, overconfident. 'Aiksy' possibly derived from 'acting up'; 'lan si' is of Cantonese origin.

[My addition: LSLY (Lan Si Lan Yong)- arrogant, from Cantonese]

* "blur" - confused, out-of-it. Roughly equivalent to "spacey" in American slang.

* "slumber" - relaxed, laid-back; possibly a conflation of the Malay "selamba", meaning nonchalant, and the English "slumber".


* "business" - a euphemism for bodily functions conducted in the toilet. One can do big business or small business.

* "cabut/cantas" - to run off, flee or to escape ('Cabut' is a Malay word meaning to pull or pulling out as a transitive verb, or to become detached as an intransitive verb.)

* "gostan" - reverse a vehicle, apparently from the nautical term "go astern" (mostly used in Kelantan, Kedah and Penang). Sometimes also expressed as "gostan balik" (lit., reverse back).

* "jadi" - happened, succeeded (derived from the Malay word 'jadi', and may sometimes mean 'so' as in, "Jadi?" = "So what?")

* "jalan" - to walk (Malay)

* "kantoi" - to get caught ("I kena kantoi..." means, "I got shafted/reprimanded/caught")

* "kena" - to get caught/punished; often used like a noun ("I sure kena if I cheat"). From the Malay passive verb "kena".

* "kill" - to punish/scold/cause trouble to someone ("If you're not careful ah, this guy will kill you")

* "makan" - to eat (Malay)

* "minum" - to drink (Malay)

* "on/off" - to turn something on or off, respectively (e.g. "Don't forget to off the fan.")

* "pengsan" - to faint (Malay)

* "pon" - to skip school/play truant (from Malay "ponteng", meaning the same)

* "saman" - to issue a traffic ticket, from "summons"

* "sit" - since this is the word used for riding in a vehicle in Malay and in Chinese dialects, it is used in the same way in English, e.g. "sit bus"

* "tahan" - to stand, to bear ("Cannot tahan her perfume! So strong!"). From Malay "tahan", to endure, to withstand.

* "tumpang-ing" - riding in someone else's vehicle or lodging at someone else's house, from the Malay verb "tumpang" + "-ing"

* (any Malay word) + "ing" - doing a certain action ("Tengah makan" or "I'm eating right now" is shortened to "Makan-ing")


* "alamak" - exclamation of surprise or shock.

* "best/syok" - indicates the object as superlatively good. "Syok/shiok" is from the Hokkien word for sexual arousal or pleasure. (Shiok is also a chain of novelty shops, although it could also be possible that the word stems from the English word "shock" in the context of seeing something shocking).

* "die/finish/gone/habis/mampus/mampui/sei(死)" - generic exclamations to indicate "trouble", used like the English "damn it" or "to face the music" (e.g. Today he die because of that loan shark). "sei" is usually pronounced as its Hokkien equivalent, "see".

I think the latest addition of Manglish vocabulary would be:

Guna-ified - hypersensitivity reaction of someone with a high profile, which includes the feeling of life being threatened. Reaction involves the lodging of report to the authorities. Cause is due to the misinterpretation of figurative speech/phrase/text, for example the word 'shoot'. Example of usage: "I was Guna-ified lar when I say f**k!"

Photo modified from Jeff's 'promotional' banner.

Happy 49th Birthday, Malaysia!

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