Page:Baba Malay. An Introduction to the Language of the Straits-born Chinese.pdf/10

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their own way easier, or because they think it more elegant. They have no difficulty in sounding the letters 6 and /, but instead of ambil they say ambek or even amek, and for tirggal one sometimes hears tirggek. Final ai is always toned down to e and au to 0, as surge and pulo for suryai and pulau. Final h is neyer sounded at all, so that rumah becomes ruma, bodoh is bodo, and boleh is bole; thus they make no distinction between the sound of final ai and eh, both being e to the Baba. On the other hand final a is generally sounded as ak, and sometimes final i becomes ik: thus instead of bapa, bawa and pula, we have bapak, bawak and pulek. ‘These coryuptions of the sounds of the final letters cause a great deal of confusion in some words; for instance the Babas always pronounce chari as charik or charek, and have no idea that this 18 quite a different word, and means to tear: there is also a similar confusion between baa, to bring, and bawahk, below. The Babas also frequently drop the h in the middle of .a word, as barw for bharu, saja tor sahaja, saya for sahya; and they have a slight tendency to drop the h at the beginning of a word, as in the words hati, hanyut, etc. The Malays sometimes fail to sound initial h, but they neyer fail to sound the final h, and sometimes go so far as to carry the / over to the beginning of the next word, as rumah horarg, tlah hada, ete. Other corruptions can hardly be class- ified, so it is best to give a few examples at random, for instance, bergitu tor bgitu, ktawa for tertawa, rti for arti, kreja for kerja, piara for plihara, pegary tor pgary, sumpit for spit (chopsticks), mnimpi for mimpi, kmantin for pryantin, smuryit for smburyt. Words of Arabic origin are generally corrupted more than pure Malay words, for example, pe'da for faidah, jerki for rzki, akérat for dkhirat, masohor or mersohor for mashhur.

4. The Baba idiom is Chinese rather than Malay.

Perhaps the most striking peculiarity in the way that the Babas make up their sentences is the very frequent use of the pos- sessive particle purya, which they use precisely as the Hok-kiens use the particle ¢; but puyya being a longer word is much more cumbersome, and produces awkward sentences, thus, “ Dia purya mak-bapa ada dudok makan di sblah pura meja.” Such phrases as “tiga bulan pwya lama,” “sperti macham itu purya kreta,” are in constant use, and sound ludicrous to a Malay. ‘These senten- ces are all taken from the writings of the Babas themselves. Here is another typical sentence, “Ini macha m puya orarg fikir apa yary baryak salah ta’patut buat, dan apa yary sdikit salah boleh buat. Apa puna bodoh satu fikiran ini?” ~The redundancy of the “ purya” is not, however, the only peculiarity of this sentence, the writer of which, though he is unable to speak Chinese, has given us a very close approximation to the Chinese idiom, and the whole sentence is absolutely unlike anything that a Malay would say. In the first place such expressions as ini macham and apa Jour, Straits Branch