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Re: Greenberg's universals for SVO languages & Caos Pidgin ruff-sketch

From:H. S. Teoh <hsteoh@...>
Date:Saturday, September 9, 2000, 12:08
On Sat, Sep 09, 2000 at 12:45:33AM -0400, Roger Mills wrote:
> H.S.Teoh menulis: > >Malay (Bahasa Melayu) is an SVO language too. In fact, AFAIK, the two are > >grammatically 90% identical, and 80% of the vocabulary is identical. > >Interestingly, now that you mention it, it's very true that possessives > >are noun-genitive. Nouns aren't really inflected for the genitive, but > >it's understood that way, eg.: > > keretanya = his/her car (kereta, car, + 3rd person suffix -nya) > > kereta Abu = Abu's car. > Di Indonesia, katanya _mobil_. Kereta2 dihela oleh kerbau atau kuda.......
Interesting. I'm suspecting that Indonesian grammar might possibly be 100% identical to bahasa Melayu; it's just vocabulary that's different, such as you point out here. [snip]
> I think "pigi" is a very amusing word, but the few times I used it, I got > dirty looks-- unfortunately, it's associated with the Chinese, there.
Bukan! Ditulisnya "pergi" tetapi dikatanya "pigi". Tak boleh tulis "pigi" lah!! Jika tulis "pigi", maknanya tak sama.
> The Q-word that throws most Americans is apa 'what'-- which, if object, > generally goes in the object position-- dia makan apa? "what's he eating?". > You can front it, but that requires the passive, to be "correct"-- apa > dimakannya? Plenty of people say apa dia makan? with that meaning, but > technically it means "is he eating?"
As I said, fronting "apa" seems to be a pedantic form that isn't very often followed in spoken forms of the language. And "apa dia makan" doesn't mean "is he eating"; it's considered as bahasa pasar for "dia makan apa", i.e., you will sound uneducated to the pedantic gurus. (For those who don't know, "guru" means "teacher" in Malay, and traditionally is connected to those with arcane knowledge. Hence the borrowing into English -- computer gurus, etc.. Hmmm.... perhaps Malay isn't *that* bad then ;-P j/k.) [snip]
> >Eeek! *shuddering in recollections of horror of being forced to learn a > >language that isn't really useful outside of Malaysia/Indonesia today* > Sad but true. Still, it has inspired at least two conlangs-- my Kash, and > Lasailly's (IIRC) Tunu.
Well, sorry to say, I'm just over-reacting because the school system in Malaysia basically shoves Malay down your throat. At a young age, most people don't appreciate how useful learning languages really is, and when forced to learn it, acquire a certain distaste for it. :-/ Now that it's behind me, though, I can say in retrospect that I wish I'd thought more of it than I did. I haven't bothered to learn many of the verb inflections, which I wish I did, 'cos I don't know that many inflected languages. (English inflection is residual and not very complex at all, so it doesn't help me much in thinking about inflection when conlanging; and the only other inflected language I know is classical Greek which isn't even spoken today :-P) I remember hating Malay verbs 'cos their conjugations are way too subtle for me to handle -- English verb tenses are so much more straightforward (to me, at the time, that is), and Chinese ain't got no inflection. But now I wish I remember more... esp. the more esoteric conjugations like ter-, men- -i, etc.. Yuck, I don't even remember some of the ones I wish I knew... :-P T