A Manual of the Malay language - With an Introductory Sketch of the Sanskrit Element in Malay
by William Edward Maxwell
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[Transcriber's Note:

This text is intended for users whose text readers cannot use the "real" (unicode/utf-8) version of the file. Characters that could not be fully displayed have been "unpacked" and shown between braces:

ḳ, ḥ, ṭ, ḍ, ṇ, ṃ, ṛ (letters with dot under: except ḳ and ḥ, these are used only in Sanskrit words) ṅ (n with dot over, in Sanskrit words) ă, ĕ, ŭ (vowel with breve or "short" sign) ⱥ (a with macron or "long" sign)

In the section on Sanskrit origins, anusvara was printed as m with tilde. It has been changed in this e-text to ṃ (m with dot under). Note also that [s] is written as , ṣ as sh, and ṛ as ṛi.

Footnote 53 of the Introduction refers to "the peculiar vowel sound represented in Arabic by the letter ain ... denoted by the Greek rough breathing". The reference is to the glottal stop. It is represented in this Latin-1 e-text as the grave accent '.

In some sections, parts of words are italicized. These italics are shown in {braces}; elsewhere, italics are shown conventionally with lines.

Errors are listed at the end of the e-text.]

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HANDBOOK OF THE MALAY LANGUAGE, for the Use of Tourists and Residents. By KELLY and WALSH. Second Edition. 98 pages, 12mo, cloth. 1903. 3s. 6d. net. Printed in Roman characters only. It contains an elementary grammar and an English-Malay vocabulary.

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PRACTICAL MALAY GRAMMAR, with Reading and Translation Exercises. By W.G. SHELLABEAR. 83 pages, 8vo, bound. 1899. 5s. net. All Malay words are printed in Roman characters only.

MALAY-ENGLISH VOCABULARY, containing 6500 Malay words and phrases. By W.G. SHELLABEAR. 141 pages, 8vo, cloth. 1902. 6s. net. Printed in Roman characters only.

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of the



An Introductory Sketch of the Sanskrit Element in Malay.


WILLIAM EDWARD MAXWELL, of the Inner Temple, Barrister-At-Law; Assistant Resident, Perak, Malay Peninsula.


LONDON: KEGAN PAUL, TRENCH, TRBNER, & CO. Ltd. Dryden House, Gerrard Street, W.


Je n'en refuis aulcune de phrases qui s'usent emmy les rues; ceux qui veulent combattre l'usage par la grammaire se mocquent.



The language which I have endeavoured to illustrate in the following pages is the Malay of the British Settlements in the Straits of Malacca, some knowledge of which I have had the opportunity of acquiring during sixteen years' service in Penang, Province Wellesley, Malacca, Singapore, and Perak.

Dialectical peculiarities are so abundant in Malay that it is impossible to teach the colloquial language of the people without imparting to the lesson the distinct marks of a particular locality. In parts of India it is said proverbially that in every twelve kos there is a variation in the language,[1] and very much the same might be said of the Malay Peninsula and adjacent islands. The construction of the language and the general body of words remain, of course, the same, but in every state or subdivision of a state there are peculiar words and expressions and variations of accent and pronunciation which belong distinctively to it. Words common in one district sound strangely in another, or, it may be, they convey different meanings in the two places. Even words of such constant occurrence as the personal pronouns "I" and "you" vary according to locality. The Kedah accent is easily distinguished from that of Patani, and that again from the speech of Trengganu and Pahang. Certain expressions common in Penang are almost unintelligible in Malacca and Singapore, and vice vers. In Perak it is not difficult to say whether a man comes from the upper or lower reaches of the river, by merely noting particular words in his conversation. Even individual villages and districts have their peculiar twang or their tricks of expression not found elsewhere. In Java, Sumatra, and other islands eastward in which Malay is spoken, the pronunciation and character of the language are much influenced by the other languages current there. Malay is only spoken in perfection in places where the natives speak no other tongue.

[Footnote 1: Beames, Comparative Grammar of the Aryan Languages, p. 101.]

Native pedantry has endeavoured to classify various styles of speaking, as the court style (bahasa dalam), the well-bred style (bahasa bangsawan), the trader's language (bahasa dagang), and the mixed language (bahasa kachau-kan), but all that can be correctly said is, that a limited number of words are used exclusively in intercourse with royal personages; that persons of good birth and education, in the Eastern Archipelago, as elsewhere, select their expressions more carefully than the lower classes; and that the vocabulary of commerce does not trouble itself with the graces of style and the copious use of Arabic words which commend themselves to native writers.

The written language is more stilted and less terse and idiomatic than the colloquial dialect; and even where pure Malay is employed, the influence of Arabic compositions is very marked. Whole sentences, sometimes, though clothed in excellent Malay, are unacknowledged translations of Arabic phrases. This may be verified by any one well acquainted with Malay literary compositions who will look into a really good translation of an Arabic work; for instance, Lane's translation of the "Thousand and One Nights." The Malay speaks much better than he writes, and has at his command quantities of words which never find their way into his literature, and, therefore, but rarely into dictionaries compiled by Europeans.

The spelling of Malay words in the native character is hardly yet fixed, though the Perso-Arabic alphabet has been in use since the thirteenth century; and those follow but a vain shadow who seek to prescribe exact modes of spelling words regarding which even native authorities are not agreed, and of which the pronunciation may vary according to locality. The experience of Crawfurd sufficiently proves this; there are words in his dictionary which are transliterated in as many as four different ways.

Two classes of works in his own language have hitherto been at the service of the English student of Malay—grammars, more or less scientifically arranged, and vocabularies and books of dialogues, which presuppose some knowledge of grammatical construction.

The Malay Grammar of Marsden is an admirable work, of unquestionable utility to the advanced student; but it contains more than the beginner wants to know. Crawfurd's Malay Grammar, too, is hardly a work to put into the hands of a beginner.

Mere vocabularies, on the other hand, teach nothing but words and sentences, and throw no light upon forms of construction.

It has been my aim to supply a work which will be at once an elementary grammar and a compendium of words and sentences, which will teach the colloquial dialect and yet explain grammatical rules; and for this I have taken as my model the Hindustani Manual of the late Professor Forbes.

The language is not ennobled by having been the speech of men who have made their mark in the world's history. The islands of Indonesia have never startled the Eastern world with an Akbar, or charmed it with a Hafiz or a Chand. Receptivity, not originality, is the characteristic of the Malay races. But the importance of Malay, when the traveller heads eastward from the Bay of Bengal, has been recognised by Europeans since the sixteenth century, when Magellan's Malay interpreter was found to be understood from one end of the Archipelago to the other. It is the strong and growing language of an interesting people, and (in the words of a recent writer on Eastern languages) "for Malay, as for Hindustani, a magnificent future may be anticipated among the great speech-media of Asia and of the world. They manifest that capacity for the absorption and assimilation of foreign elements which we recognise as making English the greatest vernacular that the world has ever seen."[2]

[Footnote 2: Cust, Modern Languages of the East Indies, 150.]

W. E. M.



The interest of Englishmen in the Malay language began with the early ventures of the East India Company in the Far East, in the first years of the seventeenth century. It was the language of commerce everywhere east of the Bay of Bengal, and our earliest adventurers found it spoken at the trading ports which they visited. The Portuguese had preceded them by a century, and the Dutch had been a little earlier in the same field. Our countrymen seem to have been indebted to the latter for their first Malay vocabulary. The minutes of the East India Company record how, on the 22d January 1614, "a book of dialogues, heretofore translated into Latin by the Hollanders, and printed with the Malacca tongue, Mr. Hakluyt having now turned the Latin into English, and supposed very fit for the factors to learn, was ordered to be printed before the departure of the ships."[1]

[Footnote 1: Calendar of State Papers, Colonial Series, East Indies, p. 272.]

At present the use of Malay, as far as Englishmen are concerned, is chiefly confined to the officers of the Colonial Government in the British possessions in the Straits of Malacca and in the native states adjoining them, and to other residents in those parts, and in the Dutch settlements in the East. To these may be added the English communities of Labuan and Sarawak, and merchants, traders, and seamen all over the Eastern Archipelago. The limited extent of our Malay possessions, when they are compared with the magnificent islands which make up Netherlands India, excuse us, no doubt, for the secondary place which we occupy in all researches connected with the language and literature of the Malays. To the Dutch their colonies in the Eastern seas are what our Indian Empire is to us; and with them the study of Malay, Javanese, Kawi, &c., takes the place of Persian, Hindustani, Tamil, Sanskrit, &c., which occupy our civilians in India. The extent and value of Dutch works on Malay subjects is, however, but little known to Englishmen in the East, owing to their general ignorance of the Dutch language. It is not too much to say that any one aiming at a thorough knowledge of the language, literature, and history of the Malay people should commence his task by learning Dutch.

Malay is the language not of a nation, but of tribes and communities widely scattered in the East, and is probably spoken with greatest purity in the states of Kedah and Perak, on the west coast of the Malay Peninsula. It is spoken in all the states of the Peninsula, in Sumatra, Sunda, Java, Borneo, Celebes, Flores, Timor, and Timor Laut, the Moluccas, and the Philippines. Traces of it are found among the numerous Polynesian dialects, and in the language of the islanders of Formosa. Siam proper has a large Malay population, descendants mainly of captives taken in war, and the language is therefore in use there in places; it is found also here and there on the coasts and rivers of Anam and Cochin-China. No other language of the Eastern Archipelago is understood over such an extensive area, and it is the common means of communication between the numerous tribes and races of the Malay family whose languages and dialects differ.

Logan supposes that the earliest inhabitants of the Archipelago were tribes of Africo-Indian origin, who peopled the Eastern islands as well as the more accessible portions of the Continent, descendants of whom he recognises in the negro and quasi-negro tribes that are still preserved in some of the mountains of the Malay Peninsula, Siam, and Anam. To these succeeded immigrant tribes from Mid-Asia, by way of the Irawadi, whom Logan designates by the term of the Tibeto-Anam family, all the races and languages from Tibet to Anam being included under it. "By a long-continued influx this family spread itself over the Peninsula, Sumatra, Java, Borneo, and Celebes; but its farther progress over the many islands to the north and east appears to have been checked by the older races. It was probably only by slow steps and by settling at many points that it gained a firm footing even in the western islands, and a long period must have elapsed before its tribes became so populous and spread so far into the interior as to enable them to absorb and destroy the earlier occupants."[2] The variety which exists among the languages and dialects in the region affected by these movements is thus accounted for by Logan:— "The languages imported by the Tibeto-Anamese settlers differed as did those of the natives, and the combinations formed in different places from the contact of the two families varied in the proportions of each which entered into them. But the structures of the native tongues had strong affinities amongst themselves, and predominated in all these new combinations."[3]

[Footnote 2: Journ. Ind. Arch., iv. 311.]

[Footnote 3: Idem, p. 315.]

The idea presented by this sketch of the origin of the aboriginal Malay language is that of a mixed dialect, borrowing something from the Tibeto-Anam languages (the influence of which would be more apparent in the western settlements), and gradually approaching the Africo-Indian forms farther east.[4] "Lastly," Logan supposes, "a later Indian influence, belonging to a far more advanced civilisation, flowed in a great stream into the Western Archipelago, and cut off that of the Irawadi, before its linguistic operation had made much progress."[5] It is to this epoch that we must ascribe the introduction of the Sanskrit element into the Malay language.

[Footnote 4: Journ. Ind. Arch., v. p. 569.]

[Footnote 5: Idem.]

Malay is mainly dissyllabic, but there are not wanting evidences of a former monosyllabic tendency. The syllable bu, bun, or bung, for instance, occurs in a considerable number of words conveying an idea of roundness:—

Bu-lan the moon. Bu-lat round. Bu-ah fruit. Bu-yong a jar. Bu-tir a grain, globule. Bu-sar an arch. Bu-kit a hill. Bu-sut an anthill. Bun-tar round. Bun-ting pregnant. Bun-chit pot-bellied. Bun-tut. the buttocks. Bun-toh a numeral affix implying rotundity (cf. ln, Burmese), used with such words as chin-chin, a ring; and kail, a fishhook. Bung-kok hump-backed. Bung-kus a bundle.

Many others might be cited.[6]

[Footnote 6: These remarks do not, of course, affect foreign words, such as bumi and bujang derived from the Sanskrit bhumi and bhujangga.]

Another characteristic list of words might be made, compounded with the monosyllable tang (which in Sakai and Semang means "hand"), and conveying an idea of seizing or holding.

Tang-an the hand. Tang-kap to seize. Tang-kei a stalk. Tang-gong to support. Tang-gal to drop off (having left hold). Tong-kat a walking-stick, &c.

The history of the Malay people is to be discovered in the language itself, for no authentic records of pre-Muhammadan times exist. Just as an insight into the early history of our own nation may be obtained by analysing the component parts of the English tongue, and assigning to each of the languages which have contributed to make it what it is their due proportion of influence, so, by resolving the Malay language into its separate elements, of which native, Sanskrit, and Arabic are the chief, and by examining the words contributed by each, it is possible to follow with some approach to historical accuracy the successive advances which the Malay people have made on the path of civilisation.

The aboriginal dialect, prior to the admixture of Sanskrit, must have been but the poor vocabulary of men hardly raised above savage life. The purely native element in Malay furnishes all the necessary terms to express the physical objects surrounding men leading a primitive life in the forest, and all that has to do with their food, dwellings, agriculture, fishing, hunting, and domestic affairs.

The use of a Sanskrit word for "plough" seems to record a revolution in agriculture. The primitive cultivation of the Malays was carried on by clearing and burning the hill-sides (a system still largely adopted in native states where land is plentiful and timber valueless), and the cultivation of the wet ricefields of the plains, which necessitates the use of the plough, would thus seem to have been resorted to only after the arrival of the Hindus.

As soon as the analysis reaches moral ideas, or objects requiring some advance in civilisation, it is found that they are expressed by words of foreign origin. These are, for the most part, Sanskrit or Arabic. The latter require no notice here, for they are of comparatively recent introduction. For the most part, they consist of terms incidental to the ethical and religious teaching of the Muhammadans. The Arabic element in Malay is not accurately determinable, for new expressions are constantly being introduced.

A sketch of the Sanskrit element in Malay is all that there is space for here.

A careful classification of the principal Sanskrit words which are found in Malay helps to indicate what must have been the condition of society when the Aryan came into contact with the islanders of Sumatra. It shows, independently of other proof, that Hindu colonisation must have gradually introduced the Malay races to institutions, ideas, pursuits, and wants to which they had hitherto been strangers. Many of the incidents of commerce, most of the metals and precious stones, the pomp and ceremony of royalty, and the use of the elephant, are shown, by the Sanskrit nomenclature employed in describing them, to be of Hindu importation. From this it is not difficult to infer the primitive condition of a people to whom all these things were unknown. So, the Sanskrit names of many weapons indicate a period when the rude weapons of savage Malay tribes—blowpipes, spears, &c.—were supplemented by arms of a more formidable character, for which they were indebted to India. Other groups of words show, independently of other proof, that the Hindu religion was successfully planted among the Malays and flourished for a time, and that the monarchical form of government was introduced in Malay countries by Hindu settlers and rulers.

The word "rulers" is used advisedly, for the theory of Marsden as to the manner of the introduction of Hinduism seems to possess greater claims to general acceptance than that advocated by certain other writers, notably Leyden and Crawfurd. Crawfurd asserted that the Sanskrit words adopted in Malay came originally through the Hindu priesthood, and that the priests through whom this was effected belonged to the Telugu race, this, in his opinion, being the people who, commencing by trading with the Malays, proceeded to partial settlement in their country, and ended by converting them to Hinduism and introducing the language and literature of the Hindus. He entirely discountenances the idea that Sanskrit could have been introduced by a people of whom it was the vernacular language.[7] He admits, however, that in Southern India Sanskrit was itself a foreign tongue; that Sanskrit has found its way into Javanese and Malay in a state of comparative purity, and not intermixed with Telugu; and that there is no trace whatever of any extensive settlement of the Telugus in the Malay Archipelago.

[Footnote 7: Crawfurd, Malay Grammar, Dissertation xxxix., xliii.]

Marsden's contention, on the other hand, points to Gujarat as the quarter from which Hindu civilisation penetrated to the far East, and to conquest as the mode in which the way was cleared for its introduction.[8]

[Footnote 8: "Innovations of such magnitude, we shall venture to say, could not have been produced otherwise than by the entire domination and possession of these islands by some ancient Hindu power, and by the continuance of its sway during several ages. Of the period when this state of things existed we at present know nothing, and judging of their principles of action by what we witness in these days, we are at a loss to conceive under what circumstances they could have exerted an influence in distant countries of the nature here described. The spirit of foreign conquest does not appear to have distinguished their character and zeal, for the conversion of others to their own religious faith seems to be incompatible with their tenets. We may, however, be deceived by forming our opinion from the contemplation of modern India, and should recollect that, previously to the Mohametan irruptions into the upper provinces, which first took place about the year 1000, and until the progressive subjugation of the country by Persians and Moghuls, there existed several powerful and opulent Hindu states of whose maritime relations we are entirely ignorant at present, and can only cherish the hope of future discoveries from the laudable spirit of research that pervades and does so much honour to our Indian establishments." —Marsden, Malay Grammar, xxxii.]

Before proceeding to classify some of the Sanskrit words which are found in Malay, and to deduce any theories from their presence, it is necessary, in order to avoid misconception, to notice several difficulties which cannot be overlooked.

In the first place, it is not meant to be asserted that the Malays have obtained all the words enumerated further on direct from the people of India. All theories founded upon the presence of Sanskrit words in Malay must apply with equal force to Javanese, which contains a larger proportion of Sanskrit words than Malay. "Sanskrit words are found in greatest purity in the Javanese, and next to it in the Malay, their corruption increasing as we recede from Java and Sumatra."[9] It may be assumed, therefore, that in addition to the influence which Hinduism exerted among the Malays of Sumatra by means of direct intercourse with India, there was also a second source from which the Malays derived a great portion of their Hindu nomenclature, namely, the ancient Hindu kingdoms of Java.[10]

[Footnote 9: Crawfurd. See also Marsden, Malay Grammar, xxxiii.]

[Footnote 10: "The Hindu religion and Sanskrit language were, in all probability, earliest introduced in the western part of Sumatra, the nearest part of the Archipelago to the continent of India. Java, however, became eventually the favourite abode of Hinduism, and its language the chief recipient of Sanskrit. Through the Javanese and Malays Sanskrit appears to have been disseminated over the rest of the Archipelago, and even to the Philippine Islands. This is to be inferred from the greater number of Sanskrit words in Javanese and Malay—especially in the first of these—than in the other cultivated languages, from their existing in greater purity in the Javanese and Malay, and from the errors of these two languages, both as to sense and orthography, having been copied by all the other tongues. An approximation to the proportions of Sanskrit existing in some of the principal languages will show that the amount constantly diminishes as we recede from Java and Sumatra, until all vestiges of it disappear in the dialects of Polynesia. In the ordinary written language of Java the proportion is about 110 in 1000; in Malay, 50; in the Sunda of Java, 40; in the Bugis, the principal language of Celebes, 17; and in the Tagala, one of the principal languages of the Philippines, about one and a half." —Crawfurd, Malay Grammar, Dissertation xlvii. Sed qure as to the total absence of Sanskrit in the Polynesian dialects. Ellis' "Polynesian Researches," i. 116.]

These remarks may be illustrated by reference to the fourth column of the lists of words which follow.

Again, some of the Sanskrit words in the following lists are synonyms merely, there being native or Arabic words, or both, in common use to express the same object.

In some instances, too, the words quoted are not often heard in the colloquial dialect, but occur in books to which in many cases they have been transplanted from Javanese romances.

All these circumstances seriously modify the possibility of drawing general conclusions from an analysis of the body of Sanskrit vocables found in Malay. The questions to be decided seem to be (1) whether it is possible that such a mass of terms for common objects (for they are by no means confined to words incident to the Hindu religion) could have been imported into Malay by any means except by oral communication with a Sanskrit-speaking people; (2) supposing that this could have been effected through some later Indian dialect, itself largely tinged with Sanskrit (as the Latin words in English came to us with the Norman speech), what dialect was this? Telugu, as Crawfurd thinks, Gujarati, to which Marsden inclines, or what?

It is in order to contribute to the settlement of such questions as these that a classification of some of the Sanskrit terms in Malay has been attempted in this Introduction.[11] It is hoped that the subject may attract the attention of those more competent to deal with it, and that the researches of Sanskrit scholars may facilitate a decision which there is no pretension to pronounce here.

[Footnote 11: A selection of words only is given. There are numbers of Sanskrit words in Malay which have no place in these lists.]

The centre of Hindu influence in Malay states would seem to have been the court. From the governing classes the use of Sanskrit expressions would gradually spread among the people. To this day there are certain Sanskrit words which are applied to royalty alone, there being native equivalents when the non-privileged classes are intended. The words putra and putr afford an instance in point. Meaning simply "son" and "daughter" in Sanskrit, they have, from the fact of Sanskrit nomenclature having been affected at Malay courts, come to mean "prince" and "princess," and are applied only to the sons and daughters of rajas.

At the chief seats of Hindu government, there must have been Brahmans conversant with the sacred writings, whose teaching would gradually be the means of introducing a taste for Hindu learning and literature. Bacha, to read (from bach, to speak), is Sanskrit, but tulis, to write, is a native word,[12] and surat, a writing, is Arabic. Language, therefore, in this instance does not throw much light on the progress made by the Malays in the art of writing in the pre-Muhammadan stage of their history. Rock-inscriptions found in Province Wellesley and Singapore prove, however, that at some remote period an ancient Indian character was known on the Peninsula,[13] though it was probably confined to religious purposes.

[Footnote 12: Unless the Sansk. root likh, to write, may be detected in the second syllable.]

[Footnote 13: Journal Royal As. Soc., Bengal, vi. 680; xvii. part i. 154 and 232; Idem, part ii. 62, 66.]

Crawfurd, writing in 1852, stated that Malay can be written or spoken without the least difficulty, without a word of Sanskrit or Arabic, and described the foreign elements in Malay as "extrinsic and unessential."[14] But several words of the first necessity are Sanskrit. It would be difficult to speak Malay intelligibly, while avoiding the use of the relative pronouns yang (Sansk. yas, ya, yat, who, which) and mana (Sansk. mna, measure), or of the common auxiliary sudah (Sansk. uddha,[15] pure, acquitted), which denotes the past tense. A long list might be made of common words not included in any of the following groups, which are almost pure Sanskrit, such as bawa, to bring (vaha, bearing, carrying); kata, to say (kath, to tell, talk); biasa, accustomed (abhysa, reflection); langkah, to step, stride (langh, to stride over); kelahi, to fight (kalaha, quarrel); and niala, to blaze, to burn (jval). Nor is the influence of Sanskrit in Malay confined to words which have been adopted in comparative purity. An extension of the sphere of research reveals whole groups of Malay words which seem to be formed from some Sanskrit root, and to retain to some extent its signification. Thus the Sanskrit root ju (to push on, impel) may perhaps be detected in such words as juwang, to rush against; jungur, prominent, a beak; jungang, prominent (of teeth); juring, sharp, pointed; jurus, to pull, course, direction; juluk, to thrust upwards; julir, a kind of harpoon; julur, to wag, to wriggle; &c.

[Footnote 14: Malay Grammar, Dissertation vi.]

[Footnote 15: This is the derivation given in Favre's Dictionary. Another from soḍha, (borne, undergone) might perhaps be suggested with equal probability.]

Ap is a common termination of Malay words, e.g., tangkap, to seize; chakap, to speak; silap, to mistake, &c. The presence of the Sanskrit root p (to attain, obtain) is not indeed to be assumed in every case, but it is difficult to resist the conviction that it does form a part of many Malay derivations. D{ap}at, to obtain; r{ap}at, to approach; as{ap}, smoke (cf. vy{p}ta); aw{ap}, steam; tangk{ap}, to seize, grasp; a{lap}(Jav.), to take; are instances which, among others, might be cited.

Gal (Sansk., to drop, to distil, percolate, to fall) is another root which seems to enter into the composition of Malay words, e.g., tang{gal}, to fall off, to drop out; ting{gal}, to leave, forsake; tung{gal}, solitary; pang{gal}, to chop off, a portion chopped off. Compare also gali, to dig; teng{gal}am, to sink; tu{gal}, to sow rice by putting seeds into holes made with a sharp stick; {gal}ah, a pole; {gal}a-{gal}a, pitch.

If it be correct to assign a Sanskrit origin to all or any of these words, they belong to a much earlier epoch than the comparatively pure Sanskrit words, the importation of which into Malay is the subject now under discussion.

The presence of Sanskrit words in the Malay language was first remarked by Sir William Jones,[16] and the subject received more attention at the hands of Marsden, who gives a short list of fifteen words, "taken, with little pains in the selection, from a Malayan dictionary."[17] Many of the Sanskrit words are, as Marsden observes, "such as the progress of civilisation must soon have rendered necessary, being frequently expressive of the feelings of the mind, or denoting those ordinary modes of thought which result from the social habits of mankind, or from the evils that tend to interrupt them." This assertion might have been put in more forcible terms had it occurred to the author to include not only words expressive of thought and feelings, but even some signifying natural objects, though doubtless most of these are expressed by aboriginal words. Hari, day, is clearly identical with the Sanskrit hari, "the sun," which is also used as a name of Vishnu or Krishna. Mata-hari, the sun (Malay), is thus "the eye of Hari," and is a compound formed of the native word mata and the Sanskrit hari. Halilintar, a thunderbolt, seems to be compounded similarly of hari and lontar (to hurl), "hurled by Hari." Here the r has been softened into l. The Sanskrit kapala has almost entirely superseded the use of the old native word ulu or hulu, the head; the latter, however, is found in composition with a Sanskrit word in the substantive hulubalang, a war-chief, from hulu, head, and bala, an army.

[Footnote 16: Asiatic Researches, iii. 11, 12.]

[Footnote 17: On the Traces of the Hindu Language and Literature extant among the Malays, As. Res. iv. See also, On the Languages and Literature of the Indo-Chinese Nations, Leyden, As. Res. x.]

The extent to which the Malays are indebted to Sanskrit for words to express the human body and members is shown in the following list:—

English. Malay. Sanskrit. Other Languages[18] The body salra arra J. sarira; Bat. sorira. Limb, member, body anggta angga J. ongga. Form, appearance rpa rpa J., S., Bat., Mak., and Bu. rupa. Joint sendi saṃdhi S. sandi; D. sandik, bound; Tag. and Bis. sandig, unite. Head kapla kapla (the skull) J., S., D., Mak. kapala, chief; Bat. kapala, thick. Tongue ldah lih (to lick), ldha (licked) J. lidah; Bat. dila; Mak. and Bu. lila; D. jela; Tag. and Bis. dila. Pulse nd nḍ (artery, vein, intestine) Shoulder bh bhu (the arm) J. bahu; S. and D. baha. Hair of the body rma roman Foot pda pda Kw. pada.

[Footnote 18: The words in this column have been taken from the Malay and French Dictionary of the Abb Favre. J. signifies Javanese, S. Sundanese, Bat. Battak, Mak. Makassar, Bu. Bugis, D. Dayak, Bis. Bisaya, Tag. Tagala, and Malg. Malagasi.]

Time and its division and measurement have supplied a number of Sanskrit terms to the Malay language, most of which are so necessary in everyday life that it is difficult to conceive the poverty of a dialect which contained no words to express them. The following list contains the greater number of them:—

English. Malay. Sanskrit. Other Languages. Time kla, kli kla J. and S. kala. When tatkla tad (this) kla Time, period katika ghatik (a division of time) Bat. katika; D. katika. Time, period, hour dewsa divasa (a day) J. diwasa, adult; Mak. rewusa. Just now td tad (this, that) S. tadi. Day hr hari (the sun) J. and B. hari. Day dna dina J. dina. Dawn dnahr from dina and hari Evening, sunset senja, or senja- kala saṃdhy (twilight) Bat. sonja; J. chandik-kala, evg. twilight. Always santasa nityaas J. nityasa. Old, former sada Former time sada-kla sdhya (from sdh, to finish, accomplish) Continually sada-kla sda (perishing) Time (when) bla vel Time, season, period msa msa (month) J. and S. mangsa; Tag. masa.

Another group of Sanskrit words found in Malay is that comprising articles of commerce, weights and measures, &c. Their presence suffices without other evidence to show that for their knowledge of the commercial value of many products the East Indian islanders were indebted to traders from Hindustan, who, indeed, probably introduced not only the names of, but the use of, their weights and measures. Buah pala, the Malay phrase for the "nutmeg," is in strictness a pleonasm, for phala signifies "fruit" in Sanskrit, as buah does in Malay.


English. Malay. Sanskrit. Other Languages. Nutmeg pla phala (fruit) J. and S. pala. Clove lawang lavaṃga Eagle-wood găhr aguru J., S., and Mak. garu; D. garo, perfume. Camphor kpur, kpur brus karpra J., S., and D. kapur-barus; Mak. kaporo barusu Sandalwood chandna chandana J. and S. chendana; Tag. and Bis. sandana Musk kastr kastr J. and S. kasturi; Mak. kasaturi; Tag, and Bis. kastoli. Charcoal rang aṅgra J. and S. areng; S. arang; Bat. agong; D. aring; Tag. and Bis. oling. Sugar gla guḍa (molasses) J., S., and D. gula; Mak. golla. Saltpetre sandwa saindhava (rocksalt) J. sendawa; S. chindawa. Silk stra stra (thread, fibre) J. and S. sutra; Bat. suntora; Mak; and Bu. sutara; Tag. sutla. Cotton kpas karpsa J., S., and D. kapas Bat. hapas; Mak. kapasa; Bis. gapas. Gunny-bag gn goṇi S. gon Price harga argha S. and Bat. harga; J. and D. rega; Mak. angga; Tag. and Bis. halaga. Profit lba lbha Kw., Bat., Mak., and D. laba; Tag. and Bis. laba, increase, usury. Scales for weighing narcha nrch (a gold smith's scales) Kw. naracha; J. and S. traju A bhar (native weight = 3 pikuls) băhra bhra (a load, a weight) Kw. and Mak. bara 100 millions: Bis. bala, to load on the back. A cubit hasta hasta J. and S. asta. A number, figure ngka aṅka (a mark, a cipher) J. ongka; S., Mak., Bu., and D. angka. Ten thousand laksa laksha (100,000) J. leksa; S., D., Tag. and Bis. laksa; Bat. loksa; Mak., lassa. A million jta ayuta (10,000) J. and S. yuta.

Many of the metals and most of the precious stones are known to the Malays by their Sanskrit names, even those which are found in Malay countries.

English. Malay. Sanskrit. Other Languages. Gold mas, mas mas (to mete, to measure) J. emas; S. mas; Bat. omas; D. amas; Tag. and Bis. amas, gold, weight. Gold kanchna knchana Kw. and S. kanchana. Copper tambga tmra J. tembaga; S. tambaga; Bat. tombaga; Mak. tambaga; Tag. and Bis. tumbaga. Tin tmah tvra J., S., and D. timah; Bat. simbora; Mak. timbera; Tag. and Bis. tingga. Quicksilver rsa rasa J., S., Mak., and D. rasa. Pinchbeck suwsa suvarchasa (brilliant) J., S., Bat., and Mak. suwasa. Glass kcha kcha J., S., Mak., and Bu. kacha; D. kacha; and kasa; Tag. kasa, blue and green stone. Mica brak[19] abhra (amber, talc) Crystal golega golaka (globule) Jewel, precious stone mn maṇi J. mani. mnikam maṇika Kw. and S. manikem; Mak. manikang. kamla kamala (lotus) Kw. kuma'a; Bat. humala, snake-stone. Sapphire nlam (nla, blue) nla (blue) J. and S. nila; Mak. nyila, blue. Opal bidri vidra (a mountain which produces lapis lazuli) Ruby dalma dlima (pomegranate) Jewel, brilliant mustka mushtika (goldsmith) Topaze puspargam pushparga Pearl mutia, mutiara mukt Jewel, precious stone permta paramata (excellence) Kw. pramati, a very beautiful object. Jewels of five kinds panchalgam panchaloha (five metals)

[Footnote 19: Favre derives abrak from the Arabic.]

The implements, utensils, instruments, &c., the names of which, if not the things themselves, the Malay races have borrowed from their Indian conquerors and rulers, are as follows:—

English. Malay. Sanskrit. Other Languages. A lock kunch kunchik (a key) J., S., and D. kunchi; Bat. hunsi; Mak. konchi. A bell ganta ghaṇṭ J. and S. genta; Bat. gonta; D. ganta; Mak. garaganta. A water vessel kind kuṇḍ J. and S. kendi. A net jla jla J., S., Bat., Mak., and D. jala. A box pet peṭ (basket, bag) S. peti; Mak. patti; D. pati. Name of a sword chora kshura (a razor) A plough tanggla hala Bat. tinggala; Mak. nangkala. Chess chtur chatur (four) J. and S. chatur. Dice jd dyta (game at dice) J. judi; Bat. juji. A saw gargj krakacha J. graji; S. gergaji; Bat. and Mak. garagaji. An awl jra r J. and S. jara. A coffin karanda karanda (basket) Bat. hurondo. Royal umbrella chatr chhattra Salver with a pedestal charna charaṇa (a foot) S. charana; Bat. sarano; D. sarana. A wheel jantr yantra (an engine or machine) J. jontra; S. jantra. Chariot rta ratha J. rata. Lyre, lute kechp kachchhapi S. kachapi; Bat. husapi; D. kasapi. Flute bangs van Pipe, flute mri mural

The terms of adulation common in India in the mouths of inferiors addressing superiors have no equivalents in Malay. It is noticeable, however, that some of the most ordinary Malay phrases of politeness are Sanskrit. Tbek (J.and S. tab; Bat. santabi; Mak. tabeya; D. tabi; Tag. and Bis. tabi; Tag. santabi, to show respect), which corresponds to the Indian salaam in communications between Europeans and Malays, means properly "pardon," and is derived from the Sanskrit kshantavya, excusable; sla, to sit cross-legged[20] (the respectful attitude indoors), is the Sanskrit l, to meditate, to worship; and sla, a Malay term of politeness, which in some respects answers to our "if you please," but which also means "to invite," has its origin in the Sanskrit word la, good conduct, moral practice. The same language, too, supplies a considerable number of words denoting family and relationship:—

English. Malay. Sanskrit. Other Languages. Father yah vayas (prime of life) J. ayah, grandson; S. aya; Mak. aya, mother. Brother sdra sodarya J. saudara. Husband swm svmin Wife istr str (a woman) J. estri; S. istri. Virgin nak dra dra (wife), adra (unmarried) Kw. dara; J. lara; Bat. dara; Mak. rara; S. dara, a young woman who has just got her first child. Relationship pangkat paṅkti (a line, row) Race bangsa vaṃa J. wongsa; S., Bat., and D. bangsa; Mak. bansa. Family kulawarga kula (family), varga (class) J. kulawarga. Do. kulawangsa vaṃa

[Footnote 20: J., S., and Tag. sila; S. silah, to invite; Bat. sila, a gift of welcome.]

The few astronomical terms known to the Malays have been borrowed either from Sanskrit or Arabic, the former supplying the following:—

English. Malay. Sanskrit. Other Languages. Eclipse grahana grahaṇa J. grahana. Firmament udara adhara (lower) Celestial sphere chakrawla chakra-vla (horizon; a range of mountains supposed to encircle the earth and to be the limit of light and darkness) Atmosphere bumantra cf. dyumantara (brilliancy) Kw. bomantara; J. jumantara. The heavens, ther angkasa ka Kw. and S. akasa. The milky-way bmasakt bhma (terrible), akti (strength, power) S. bimasakti; J. bimasakti, the name of a star Pleiades kertka kṛittik (the third of the lunar mansions) The sign Cancer in the Zodiac mangkra makara J. mangkara, crab. Astrology panchalma panchan (five)

To these may be added Rh (Sansk. Rhu, a deity to whom eclipses are ascribed) and Ked (Sansk. Ketu, the mythological name of the descending node, represented as a headless demon), monsters who are supposed by the Malays to cause eclipses by swallowing the moon. To denote the points of the compass the Malays have native, Sanskrit, and Arabic terms. Utra (uttara),[21] the north, and daḳsina (dakshiṇa), the south, are Sanskrit words; and paḳsina, the north, has evidently been coined by Malays in imitation of daḳsina.

[Footnote 21: J., S., and D. utara; Bat. otara; Bis. otala, east wind.]

The elephant is most generally known all over the Archipelago by its Sanskrit name gajah. Sanskrit terms are also used to signify the driver of an elephant and several articles used in connection with this animal. From these circumstances we may probably conclude, with Crawfurd, that the art of training and domesticating elephants was first learned by the Malays from natives of India.[22]

[Footnote 22: Crawfurd's Malay Grammar, Dissertation clxxxiii.]

English. Malay. Sanskrit. Other Languages. Elephant gjah gaja J., S., and D. gajah; Bat. and Mak. gaja; Tag. gadia; Bis. gadya. Elephant-driver gambla-gjah gopla (herdsman) Goad ngkus, kwsa aṅkua Foot-chain ndwn andu (chain) Front part of the head gomba, kumba kumbha Unbroken, vicious (of an elephant); the condition called musth meta mada (elephant in rut) Kw. meta, wild elephant. Hobbles for securing the feet sengkăla ṛiṅkhala (a chain)

The words of command used by elephant-drivers in the Malay peninsula appear, however, to be adapted mainly from the Siamese, and it is from this people that the Malays of the continent have acquired much of their modern knowledge of the art of capturing, subduing, and training the elephant. The names of animals, birds, &c., indicate, as might be expected, that while most of the varieties known to the Malays are indigenous, there are some species which have been imported, or which, belonging to other countries, are known by name only in the Archipelago. The word morga, (mṛiga) and satw (sattva),[23] both meaning "an animal," are Sanskrit, and if the commoner word bentang is derived, as seems possible, from the Sanskrit vana, forest, there is no purely native generic term to signify a beast or animal. While, therefore, the early Malay tribes had names for all the animals domesticated by them, as well as those which they encountered in their forests, it was not until the period of their intercourse with more civilised races from India that they learned to generalise and to comprehend the brute creation under one term. The following Sanskrit words for animals, &c., occur in Malay:—

English. Malay. Sanskrit. Other Languages. Lion snga siṃha J. and S. singa and singha; Mak. and D. singa. Jackal srgla cṛigla Bat. sorigala; J. segawon, a dog. Camel onta ushṭra (a camel) J. and Mak. unta; S. onta. Wild bull ndka dhka Kw. daka and andaka. Ichneumon charpalei sarpri (sarpa, a snake) A small yellow snake, about a span long chint-mani chint-maṇi (a fabulous gem, the possessor of which gets all he wishes for) Scorpion kla kla (black) J., S., D., and Malg. kala; Bat. kala; Mak. pati-kala. Crow ggak kka J. and S. gayak; Bat. gak; Mak. kala; D. kak. Peacock mĕraḳ barha, varha J. and S. merak; Mak. muraka; D. marak. Goose[24] angsa, hangsa, gangsa haṃsa J. ongsa; S. gangsa. Pigeon mĕr-ăpti, perapti prpat S. japati; Bat. darapati; Tag. palapati; Bis. salapati. Eagle-falcon rjawl rajjuvla (a species of bird) Indian cuckoo (Gracula religiosa) kokila kokila J. kokila.

[Footnote 23: J. mergu; J. sato; S. satoa; D. satua; Bat. santuwa, a mouse.]

[Footnote 24: Crawfurd has noticed the fact that the names of the domesticated animals are native, one exception being the goose, which, he thinks, may therefore be supposed to have been of foreign introduction (Crawfurd's Grammar, Dissertation clxxxiii.). It must be remembered, however, that among the Hindus the goose is worshipped at the festivals of Brahma, and that, being thus in a manner sacred, its Sanskrit name would naturally be in use wherever the Hindu religion spread. Brahma is represented as riding on a white haṃsa.]

Perhaps the Malay word harmau (Kw. rimong; Bat. arimo, tiger-cat; D. harimaung, panther), a tiger, may have been formed from Hari (Krishna or Vishnu) and mṛiga (an animal). Words similarly compounded with mṛiga (Malay morga) are not uncommon in Sanskrit, e.g., Kṛishṇa-mṛiga (the black antelope), mah-mṛiga (an elephant).[25] The terms in use for "horse" and "sheep" seem to indicate that those animals were first brought to Malay countries from India. Kda, horse (Kw. and S. kuda), is derived by Crawfurd from ghora (Hindi), by others from kudra (Tamul). Bri-bri (sheep) is said to be borrowed from the Hindi bher, which is itself derived from the Sanskrit bheḍa, a ram, or from bhru (Sansk.), a goat. Certain fabulous birds and reptiles which belong to the domain of Hindu mythology have their places also in Malay folk-lore; such as garuḍa,[26] the eagle of Vishnu, and Jaṭyu (Malay jintyu), a fabulous vulture; chandrawsi, aname given by Malays to a fabulous bird which is heard but never seen, is also evidently of Sanskrit origin. To these nga, a dragon, may be added (J.,S., Bat., Mak., Bu., and D. naga).

[Footnote 25: Perhaps a more plausible derivation is from the Tamul ari-m, a male lion.]

[Footnote 26: J. and S. garuda; Mak. guruda.]

The vegetable kingdom supplies a long list of trees, plants, and flowers which are known to the Malays by Sanskrit names. Some of these are closely connected with another group of words to be noticed presently, namely, those which belong to the department of religion. The use of sweet-smelling flowers is a noticeable feature in the religious worship of the Hindus, and the fact that many flowers held by them to be sacred to the worship of particular gods are called by Malays by the same names which they bear in the temples of India, is a remarkable example of an historical lesson latent in words. It points to the fact, abundantly proved by other evidence, that Brahmanism once held sway where it has long been superseded by the faith of Islam, and that words which have no special significance for the modern Muhammadan Malay were fraught with mystic solemnity for his distant ancestors.

In many cases, indeed, the Sanskrit names have been applied by the Malays to different plants from those designated by the same expressions in India. In other cases, names unknown in classical Sanskrit, but obviously compounded of Sanskrit words, have been given by the Malays or Javanese. The common native Malay term for "flower" is bnga; sri (Javanese sari, Sansk. kesara) and puspa (Sansk. pushpa) have been borrowed from India.

English or Latin. Malay. Sanskrit. Other Languages. Michelia champaka champaka champaka (dedicated by the Hindus to Krishna; one of Kamadeva's arrows is tipped with it) J. and S. champaka; Mak. champaga. Jonesia asoka ngska aoka (sacred to Mahadeva, and held in the highest veneration by the Hindus) J. angsoka and soka. Mesua ferrea ngasr (Rigg supposes the Malay plant to be Acacia pedunculata; Marsden, Acacia aurea). ngakesara ("The delicious odour of its blossoms justly gives them a place in the quiver of Kamadeva." Sir William Jones) Jasminum sambac (jasmine) malt mlat (Jasminum grandiflorum[27]) J. malati; S. melati. Arabian jasmine (Nyctanthes?) melor mdhura (cf. malura, Cratva religiosa) J. menur; Kw. menur, silver. Ocymum basilicum (holy basil) sulasi tulas (sacred to Krishna) J. selasih and telasih; S. selasi; Mak. tolasi; Tag. solasi. Uvaria odorata (or cananga) kennga knana[28] (a forest) J. kenonga; Mak. and Bu. kananga. Santalum album, sandal-wood chandna chandana ("Perpetually mentioned in the most ancient books of the Hindus as flourishing on the mountains of Malaya" Sir Wm. Jones) J. and S. chendana; Tag. and Bis. sandana. Plumieria acutifolia kambja kmboja (a kind of mimosa) S. kamboja. Nelumbium speciosum, lotus. saroja saroja J. saroja. Vitex trifoliata lagundi [29] nirgandhi ("Which Bontius calls lagondi." Sir Wm. Jones) -Gandhi is used in the latter part of a compound word with same meaning that gandha has: "smell," "odour" J. legundi; Bat. gundi. Alpinia galanga, or Curcuma reclinata gdamla gandha, smell; ml, a garland Justicia gandarusa gandarusa gandha, smell; rusa (Malay), a deer(?) S. gandarusa Hibiscus abelmoschus gandapra gandha, smell; pura, calix of a flower Mak. gandapura Hedichium coronarium gandasl gandha, smell S. gandasoli. Liquidambar altingiana rasamala surasa, sweet, elegant; ml, a garland Carthamus tinctorius, safflower kasumba kusumbha J., S., Mak., and D. kasumba; Tag. kasubha; Bis. kasobha. Crocus sativus, saffron kumkum kuṃkuma J. kamkuma; Mak. kuma. Alyxia stellata; an odoriferous root used in medicine plasri phul (Hind.), flower; sari (Javanese), from kesara (Sansk.), a flower Tectonia grandis, teak jt jti (synonymous with malati), Jasminum grandiflorum J., S., Bat., Mak., Bu., and D. jati. Pterocarpus indicus ngsna asana (Terminalia alata tomentosa) J. and S. angsana. Borassus flabelliformis lontar tla J. and S. lontar; Bat. otal; Mak. tala; Bu. ta; Tag. tual. Eugenia jambu, roseapple jamb jambu J., S., Mak., and D. jambu; Bu. jampu; Tag. dambo; Bat. jambu-jambu, fringe; Bu. jambo-jambo, fringe, plume. Mangifera indica, mango mampelam from Telugu, mampalam; Sansk. mahphala, "great fruit" J. pelem; S. ampelem. Spondias myrobolan (or mangifera) mra mra (the mango, Mangifera indica); mrta (Spondias mangifera) Punica granatum, pomegranate dalma dḍima and dlima Zizyphus jujuba bidra vidara J. widara; S. bidara. Cucurbita lagenaria, gourd, pumpkin lb albu S. labu; Bat. tabu-tabu; Malg. tawu. Tricosanthes laciniosa patla paṭola Cassia fistula biraksa vṛiksha (a tree) Emblica officinalis malka malaka (Emblic myrobalan) S. malaka; Bat. malakah.

[Footnote 27: "Commeline had been informed that the Javans give the name of Malati to the Zambak (Jasminum sambac), which in Sanskrit is called Navamalika, and which, according to Rheede, is used by the Hindus in their sacrifices; but they make offerings of most odoriferous flowers, and particularly of the various Jasmins and Zambaks." —Sir William Jones, As. Res. iv.]

[Footnote 28: Ainslie's Materia Medica, Madras, 1813. Kanana occurs in the names of several flowers, e.g., kanana karavira, Plumieria alba.]

[Footnote 29: Perhaps a corruption of nila-gandhi. Ainslie gives the Sanskrit name as jela-nirghoondi.]

Plas, palsa, and palsang are Malay names for trees of different kinds, not one of which corresponds botanically with the Sanskrit pala (Butea frondosa, a tree which is held by Hindus to be peculiarly venerable and holy). The preceding list affords several illustrations of a similar misuse of terms. To it might be added several words borrowed from other Indian languages, such as nnas, pine-apple (Hind. ananas), bilimbing (Tamul bilimbi), &c., &c.[30]

[Footnote 30: J. nanas; S. kanas; Bat. honas; D. kanas; J. and S. balimbing; Bat. balingbing.]

Marsden has remarked on the number of Sanskrit words expressive of the feelings and emotions of the human mind which occur in Malay, and Arabic also furnishes several. Either their synonymous native terms have been lost, or the Malays, at the period of Indian influence, had not reached that stage of civilisation when man commences to analyse and name the emotions he experiences and sees experienced by others. Good and bad qualities, in the same way and for the same reason, seem often to bear Sanskrit appellations. The following list does not profess to be complete:—

English. Malay. Sanskrit. Other Languages. Pleasure, to be pleased ska sukha J., S., and D. suka Joy, rejoiced suka-chita sukha-chit (chit = thought, the heart) Sorrow, grief dka duhkha (pain) J. and S. duka. duka-chita duhkha-chit Care, anxiety, concern chinta chint (thought) J. chipta; S. chinta; Mak. chita; D. and Tag. sinta. Passionately in love berh virahin (suffering separation) J. birahi. Angry murka mrkha (stupidity) J. murka, greedy, dissatisfied. Hope sa Tag. asa. Love smra smara J. and S. asmara. Avarice, covetousness lba lobha Kw. loba, voluptuous, luxurious; S. loba, abundant. Wisdom, understanding bd buddhi J. and S. budi. Stupid, foolish bdoh abodha J. and S. bodo. Wise, learned pandei paṇḍita J., S., and Bat. pand. Lazy malas alasa Charity, benevolence derm dharma J. and S. derma; Bat. dorma, means of gaining affection. Generous dermwan dharmavant Fidelity seta satya J. satya and secha; S. sacha. Faithful, loyal setwan satyavant Thought, to think sangka aṅka To suspect, conjecture tarka tarka (doubt, reason) J. and S. tarka and terka. Blame chel chhala (fraud) J. chela; Mak. challa. Misfortune, vile, base chelka chhalaka (deceiving, a deceiver) J. and S. chelaka; Mak. chilaka; D. chalaka. Sin, crime dsa dush (to sin) J., S., Bat., Mak., and D. dosa. False, untrue dusta dushta Merit meritorious actions pahla phala (fruit, produce, result) Kw. pahala, fruit, merit. Happiness, good fortune bahaga bhgya (lot, fate) J. bagya; S. bagia; Bat. badiya. Use, value, quality guna guṇa (quality) J., S., Bat., Mak., and D. guna.

Inter-tribal warfare is usually characteristic of savage tribes, and an ample vocabulary of words connected with fighting and the art of war may be looked for in a language like Malay. But though the native terms are numerous, many have also been furnished by Sanskrit, among which may be instanced the following:—

English. Malay. Sanskrit. Other Languages. Army bla, blatantr bala (an army), tantra (series, offspring) J. and S. bala. Fort kta kṭa J. kuta; Bat. kuta; S., Mak., D., Tag., and Bis. kota. Bastion, redoubt mlawti [31] balavat (strong, powerful)? Weapon, arm senjta sajj (armour), sajjat, readiness Kw. and Mak. sanjata; Bat. sonjata; D. sandata. Bow pnah vṇa (an arrow) J., S., and D. panah; Mak. pana; Tag. and Bis. pana, arrow. Dagger kris kṛit (to cut, to kill) J. and S. keris and kris; Bat. horis; Mak. kurisi; Tag. and Bis. kalis. Discus chakra chakra Club gada gad J. gada. Cross-bow gand gṇḍiva J. gandewa. Pike sanggamra saṃgrma (war, battle) Knife churka chhurik Kw. churika, a kris. Enemy satr atru J. and S. satru. Battlefield rna raṇa (battle) Kw. and S. rana. Victory jaya jaya J. and S. jaya.

[Footnote 31: Crawfurd, very likely correctly, derives this from the Portuguese balurte, a bulwark.]

Among the Malays the titles of royalty and nobility, and many of the terms in use for the paraphernalia of the court, are Sanskrit. Logan supposes the native Malayan institutions to have been of a "mixed patriarchal and oligarchical" form.[32] Crawfurd was not satisfied that the terms alluded to proved that Hinduism had exercised much influence on Malayan government;[33] but when to these is added a long catalogue of words connected with law, justice, and administration, it will probably be apparent that Indian influence has played an important part in moulding the institutions of the Malays. The following are some of the principal titles, &c., in use about the court of a Malay Raja:—

English. Malay. Sanskrit. Other Languages. King rja rj J., S., and Bat. raja. Maharaja (a title not confined to royalty, but used also by Malay chiefs) mahrja mahrja (a king, sovereign) Adiraja (a title) dirja dhirja (the first or primeval king, epithet of Manu and of a son of Kuru) King (reigning monarch) baginda bhgya (merit, happiness) J. bagenda; S. baginda. Paduka (a title of respect used in addressing persons of rank) paduka[34] pduka (a shoe) J. and S. paduka. Duli (a title used in addressing royalty) dli[34] dhuli (dust) J. duli; Bat. daholi. Queen permeisr paramevar (a title of Durga, wife of iva) J. prameswari; S. permasuri. Prince putr putra (a son) J. and S. putra. Princess putr putr (a daughter) J. and S. putri. Minister mantr mantrin (councillor) J. mantri; Mak. mantari; S. mantri, a minor official. Chief minister pardana-mantri pradhna Councillor paramantri para (highest) Officer of the household sda-sda siddha (priest, learned man) Warrior, royal escort hulublang bala (army) J. and Bat. hulubalang. Sage, royal adviser pandta paṇḍita J. and S. pandita. Laksamana (one of the officers of state) laksamna lakshmaṇa (the son of Daaratha by Sumitr) J. and S. laksmana. Treasurer bandahra bhṇḍgra (treasure) Mak. bandara; J. bendara, master; S. bandaran; custom-house. Throne singgahasana siṃhsana Kw. and S. singasana. Palace astana sthna (place, whence the Persian astana, a threshold, a fakir's residence) Crown makta mukuṭa J. and S. makuta; Mak. makota. Royal insignia upachara upachra (service) J. upachara. Title of a chief who is of noble blood on one side only magat mgadha (the son of a Vaiya by a Kshatriya woman) Officer (hero) punggwa puṅgava (a bull; as latter part of compound words, "excellent," e.g., nara-puṅgava, an excellent warrior) J., S., and Mak. punggawa.

[Footnote 32: Journ. Ind. Arch., v. 572.]

[Footnote 33: Crawfurd, Malay Grammar, Dissertation ccii.]

[Footnote 34: These two words must have been originally used by Malays in the sense which they bear in Sanskrit. "Unto the shoes of my lord's feet," or "beneath the dust of your majesty's feet," are phrases in which paduka and duli would immediately precede the name or title of the person addressed. Being thus used always in connection with the titles of royal or distinguished persons, the two words have been taken for honorific titles, and are so used by Malays, unaware of the humble origin of what are to them high-sounding words.]

The incidents of Asiatic government have caused the introduction into the Malay language of such terms as the following, among others:—

English. Malay. Sanskrit. Other Languages. Country negr nagara and nagar J. and S. nagara. District dsa di J., and S., Bat., and D. desa; Mak. dessa. Tax pat utpatti J. and S. upeti. Hall, court blei valaya (an enclosure) S. bal; D. balai, open building; J. bal, bench; Bat. bal, hut on a king's tomb. Examine, inquire preḳsa parksh J. priksa; Mak. paressa; D. pariksa and riksa. Cause, suit bichara vichra (consideration, discussion) Mak. and D. bichara; J. wichara; S. pichara. Witness saḳsi skshin J., S., D., Tag., and Bis. saksi. Crime dosa dush (to sin) J., S., Bat., Mak., and D. dosa. Insult, trespass ngkra ahaṃkra (pride) Kw. angkara. Injustice, oppression nyya anyya J. aniaya. Inheritance puska push (to possess) J., S., and Mak. pusaka. Action, negotiation sanggta saṃketa (appointment, convention) Proof biti vitti (probability) Cause, matter in dispute chra chara (conduct) Punishment siḳsa iksh (learning) J. and S. siksa; Mak. sessa. Fine denda daṇḍa J. and S. denda; Bat. dangdang; D. danda. Prison panjra panjara (a cage) J. and S. kunjara; Mak. panjara; Bat. binjara, a trap; D. jara and panjara, punished. Punishment (of a disgraceful kind inflicted on women) druma druh (to hurt) Slave sahya sahya (companion) Free, liberated mardahka mṛidh (to pardon?) J. and S. mardika; Bat. mardaekoh; Mak., Bu., and D. maradeka; Tag. mahadlika Executioner palabya para (exceeding) bhaya (fear)

The groups of words remaining to be noticed are those connected with the Hindu religion, and with the demon-worship or spirit-worship, which was the earliest form which the religious sentiment took among the Malay tribes.[35] After the conversion of the Malays to the faith of Muhammad, the traditions of Hinduism were gradually confused with the aboriginal superstitions, and neither have been entirely obliterated by the cult which superseded them. The belief in the power of malignant spirits to cause misfortune, sickness, and death is still strong among the Malays, whose pawangs or medicine-men claim to be able to propitiate demons by spells, prayers, and offerings. These men frequently invoke benevolent spirits by the names of Rama, Vishnu, and other Hindu deities, in complete ignorance that they are Hindu,[36] to counteract the evil influences of malevolent demons. Practices of this sort prevail most generally in places remote from Arab influence.

[Footnote 35: "The Javanese have peopled the air, the woods and rivers with various classes of spirits, their belief in which probably constituted their sole religion before the arrival of the Bramins." —Crawfurd's Grammar, Dissertation cxcix.]

[Footnote 36: "The Javanese consider all the Hindu gods of their former belief not as imaginary beings, but as real demons" (Ibid.), just as the early Christians regarded the classic gods, and attributed oracles to diabolical agency.]

The Malays did not altogether discard the theological terms of Hinduism when they adopted a new religion. For instance, pusa,[37] abstinence, fasting (Sansk. upavsa), is used to express the annual fast of the Muhammadans during the month Ramzan. Heaven and hell also retain their Sanskrit names.

[Footnote 37: J., S., Mak., D., and Bis. puasa; Bat. puaso.]

The following are some of the principal theological terms which have passed from Sanskrit into Malay:—

English. Malay. Sanskrit. Other Languages. Religion gma gama (sacred science)[38] J., S. Mak., Bu., and D. agama. Spiritual guide gr guru J., S. Mak., Bu., and D. guru. Praise, adoration puji, puja pj (to honour) pj (worshipping) J. and S. puji, puja; Bat. and Mak. puji; D. mampuji; to invoke. Religious penance tpa tapas J., S., Mak., D., and Bu. tapa. Heaven srga svarga J. suwarga; S. surga. Hell nraka, patla naraka, ptla J., S., Mak., and D. naraka; S. patala. Fast, abstinence pusa upavsa J., S., Mak., D., and Bis. puasa; Bat. puaso. Supernatural power saḳt akti (strength, power) J. and S. sakti. Meritorious service, merit baḳt bhakti (worship, devotion) J. and S. bakti. Sacred formula, charm, spell mantr mantra J. and S. mantra. Incense dpa dhpa J., S., Mak., Bu., and D. dupa; Bat. daupa; Tag. dupa-an, censer. Incense (made of eight ingredients) istanggi ashṭaka (a collection of eight things) S. istanggi; Mak. satanggi. Censer (a bamboo split at one end, and opened out so as to form a receptacle) sangka aṅkha (conchshell used for libations) Trumpet sangkakala aṅkha (conchshell used for blowing as a horn), kala (time) Protection, blessing, or invocation to secure protection sempana sampanna Sati, self-sacrifice on the tomb of a lord or husband bela vel (sudden death?) J. and Bat. bela. Recluse, devotee biku bhikshu (a religious mendicant) Kw. wiku; Siam. phiku, a devotee, beggar. Mystic words prefixed to prayers and invocations Om, hong[39] om (a mystic word prefacing all prayers); hum (a mystic syllable used in incantations) J. hong. Sacrifice, burnt-offering hmum homa (sacrifice)


A god batra avatra (descent) J., S., Bat., and Mak. batara; Bis. batala, idol. Minor deity dwa, dwta deva, devat J. and S. dewa, dewata; Mak. dewa, rewata; D. dewa; Bis. dia, idol; Bat. debata; Bu. dewata. Do. (female) dw dev J., S., and Mak. dewi. Names supposed by Malays to belong to powerful spirits or demons Brahma Brahma (one of the three principal Hindu deities) Bisn Vishnu (one of the three principal Hindu deities) Sr Rma Rma (the hero of the Rmyana) Ranjna Arjuna (the third son of Pandu) Barna Varuṇa (the deity of the waters) S. Baruna. Mahswra Mahevara Handman Hanumant (the monkey chief in the Rmyana) Maharesh Maharshi (a sage of a pre-eminent class) Supernatural beings Indr Indra (king of heaven) Kw. Endra; S. Indra. Chandr Chandra (the moon) J. and S. Chandra. Nymph, goddess Bidydr Vidydhar (a female demi-god) J. Widadari; Mak. Bidadari.


Demon jana, janu jana (creature, demon) Malignant spirit bta bhta J. and S. buta; Mak. bota. Name of a particular demon pancha-maha-bta panchan (five); bhta (element); the five elements according to the Hindus are earth, fire, water, air, and ther A kind of demon bga bhoga (a snake) Name of a particular demon bjangga bhujaṃga (a snake) J. bujongga; S. bujangga. An evil spirit rakshsa rkshasa J. and S. raksasa. Ghost, goblin hant hantu (death) J. antu; Bat. and S. hantu; D. hantu, corpse. Spectre (which haunts the scene of a murder or sudden death) bdei vadha (killing, murder) A female who chants incantations bd, bidan vidhav (a widow) Bat. biduwan. Spell to cause death permya pramaya (death) Bat. parangmayo. A demon danwa dnava J. danawa. A daitya or demon ditya daitya Kw. ditya. A supernatural monster gargsi karkaa (cruel), or perhaps, from ugra, very strong, terrible, cruel J. gargasi, a large bird Magic sastar stra (science, learning) Magician, sorcerer sastarwan stravant (skilled in the holy writings)

[Footnote 38: "Agama in Sanskrit is 'authority for religious doctrine:' in Malay and Javanese it is religion itself, and is at present applied both to the Mohammedan and the Christian religions." —Crawfurd, Malay Grammar, Dissertation cxcviii.]

[Footnote 39: I have found both these words used separately and distinctly by Pawangs in the state of Perak. Raffles and Logan confused them. Journ. Ind. Arch., i. 309; History of Java, ii. 369. De Backer mentions ong only. L'Archipel. Indien, p. 287]

A remarkable instance of the extent to which the Malay language has been enriched by Aryan terms is to be found in their national or racial name. The origin of the word Malayu (the native word from which we obtain our "Malay") has been made the subject of some discussion by several authors. Some are disposed to trace it to the Sanskrit word malaya, while others prefer to regard it as a purely native word. These views are summarised in the following extract from the introduction to the Malay Grammar of the Abb Favre:—

"Some authors, and particularly Dr. Leyden, whose authority in this matter is of great weight, derive the word malayu from the Tamil mal, which means 'mountain,' whence malaya, 'chain of mountains,' a word applied in Sanskrit to the Western Ghauts.

"Marsden asserts that this opinion, being founded upon a mere resemblance of sound between the Sanskrit word malaya and the name of the Malay people, is not sufficient to justify this derivation.[40]

"Nevertheless the opinion of Dr. Leyden has continued to command belief, and has been regarded as not altogether unfounded by M. Louis de Backer, who has recently published a work on the Indian Archipelago.[41]

"Another theory, which has the support of Werndly,[42] is so far simple and rational that it seeks the etymology of this word in the traditions of the Malays and in books written by themselves. Thus, in a work which has the greatest authority among them, and which is entitled Sulⱥlates-salⱥtin, or Sejⱥrat malⱥyu, the following passage occurs:—

[Transcriber's Note: In the following paragraph, transliterations from Arabic are shown between marks. The words "jehudi" and "yehudi" were transliterated in the original text, so the Arabic has not been repeated.]

"'There is in the island of Sumatra an ancient kingdom called Palembang, opposite to the island of Banka; a river flows there which is still called Tatang, into the upper portion of which another river falls, after having watered the spurs of the mountain Maha Meru (which Malay princes claim as the cradle of their origin); the tributary is called Melayu, or Malayu.' The meaning of this word is 'to flow quickly' or 'rapidly,' from layu, which in Javanese as well as in the dialect of Palembang signifies 'swift, rapid;' it has become laju, melaju, in Malay by the conversion of y into j, a change which is by no means rare in Malay, as it may be seen in jut and judi,[43] from the Sanskrit ayuta and yodi, and in jehudi, from the Arabic yehudi, &c.

"Now the Malays, an essentially nautical people, are in the habit of settling along the banks of rivers and streams, whence it comes that a great number of their towns have taken the names of the rivers on or near which they are situated, such as Johor, Pahang, &c. In this way 'the country situated near the river of which the current is rapid,' Sungei Malayu, would take the name of Tanah Malayu, and the inhabitants of this country (governed in those times by a chief named Demang Lebar Daun) that of Orang Malayu, just as the inhabitants of Johor and Pahang are called Orang Johor, Orang Pahang; and their language is called Bahasa Orang Malayu or Bahasa Malayu.

"The name of Malayu thus applied to the people and to the language spread with the descendants of Demang Lebar Daun, whose son-in-law, Sang Sapurba, became king of Menangkabau or Pagar Ruwang, a powerful empire in the interior of Sumatra. A grandson of Demang Lebar Daun, named Sang Mutiaga, became king of Tanjong Pura. A second, Sang Nila Utama, married the daughter of the queen of Bentan, and immediately founded the kingdom of Singapore, a place previously known as Tamassak. It was a descendant of his, Iskander Shah, who founded the empire of Malacca, which extended over a great part of the peninsula; and, after the capture of Malacca by the Portuguese, became the empire of Johor. It is thus that a portion of the Indian Archipelago has taken the name of Tanah Malayu, 'Malay country.'

"One of the granddaughters of Demang Lebar Daun was married to the Batara or king of Majapahit, a kingdom which extended over the island of Java and beyond it; and another was married to the Emperor of China, a circumstance which contributed not a little to render the name of Malayu or Malay known in distant parts."[44]

[Footnote 40: Malay Grammar, Introduction.]

[Footnote 41: L'Archipel Indien, p. 53.]

[Footnote 42: Maleische Spraakkunst, door G. H. Werndly p. xix.]

[Footnote 43: The derivation of judi, gaming, from dyuta (game at dice), seems to be preferable to that adopted by M. Favre (following Van der Tuuk), who refers it to yodi, a warrior.]

[Footnote 44: Favre, Grammaire de la Langue Malaise, Introduction, viii.]

This theory requires that we should suppose that a word of wide application, which is known wherever Malays have established themselves, is, in fact, a Malay word disguised in a form found only in Javanese and the dialect of Palembang. If the arguments adduced in support of it are to apply, we must first of all admit the very doubtful historical accuracy of the Sejarah Malayu, from which they are drawn.

There is a Malay word, layu, which means "faded," "withered," and it is only the exigency of finding a word applicable to a river that makes it necessary to look for a derivation in laju, swift. In this or some kindred sense the word laju is found in Javanese, Sundanese, and Dayak; but why it should give its name, in the form of layu, to a river in Sumatra, and thence to the whole Malay race, is not very obvious. A river named in consequence of its swift current would be called by Malays Sungei Laju, not Sungei Malaju. Even if the derivation of Malayu from melaju had the support of the Malays themselves, Malay etymologies are not often safe guides. Not much, for instance, can be said in favour of the fanciful derivation of Sumatra from semut raya, "large ant," which is given by the author of the Sjarah Malayu.[45]

[Footnote 45: Leyden's Malay Annals, 65.]

It is impossible to treat the story of Sang Sapurba, the first Malay raja, as historical. The name, "Maha-Meru," sufficiently shows that we are upon mythological ground. The story is as follows:— Three young men descend from the heavens of Indra (ka indra-an) upon the mountain Maha-Meru, on the slopes of which they meet two women who support themselves by planting hill-padi. Supernatural incidents mark the advent of the strangers. The very corn in the ground puts forth ears of gold, while its leaves become silver and its stalks copper. One of the new-comers rides on a white bull, and carries a sword called Chora (Sansk. kshura, a razor) samandang-kini. They are received by the natives of the district (Palembang) and made rajas. He who rides the bull becomes king of Menangkabau, and the other two receive minor kingdoms.

It is not difficult to recognise here certain attributes of the god iva, with which, by a not unnatural confusion of ideas, Muhammadan Malays, the recipients of the old traditions, have clothed their first raja.

Maha-Meru, or Sumeru, on which are the abodes of the gods, is placed by Hindu geographers in the centre of the earth. Malaya is mentioned in the Puranas as a mountain in which the Godavari and other rivers take their rise. The white bull of Sang Sapurba is evidently the vahan of iva, and the name of the sword bears a close resemblance to manda-kini, the name given in heaven to the sacred Ganges, which springs from the head of iva. Most of the incidents in the story, therefore, are of purely Hindu origin, and this gives great probability to the conjecture which assigns a Sanskrit source to the word Malayu. The Straits of Malacca abound with places with Sanskrit names. Not to speak of Singha-pura, there are the islands of Langka-wi and Lingga and the towns of Indragiri and Indrapura, &c. Sumeru (in Java), Madura, Ayuthia (in Siam), and many other names, show how great Indian influences have been in past times in the far East. May it not be, therefore, that Malaya or Malayu[46] was the name by which the earliest Sanskrit-speaking adventurers from India denominated the rude tribes of Sumatra and the peninsula with whom they came in contact, just as Jawi is the name given to Malays by the Arabs, the term in either case being adopted by the people from those to whom they looked up with reverence as their conquerors or teachers? According to this view, the introduction of a river, Malayu, into the story of Sang Sapurba is an ex post facto way of explaining the name, inserted with this object by the native author of the Sjarah Malayu.

[Footnote 46: Besides signifying a range of mountains, Malaya has the secondary meaning of "a garden." If the term was applied originally in reference to the agricultural pursuits of the primitive tribes, it receives additional illustration from the name given to one of the women whom Sang Sapurba meets on Mount Maha-Meru, "Malini," a gardener's wife (Sansk.).]

If it be granted that the story of Sang Sapurba is mythological, it becomes unnecessary to follow any attempt to show that the name of Malayu received additional celebrity from the marriages of granddaughters of Demang Lebar Daun with the Batara of Majapahit and the Emperor of China! The contemptuous style in which Malay, Javanese, and other barbarian rajas are spoken of by ancient Chinese historians leaves but slender probability to the legend that an Emperor of China once took a Malay princess as his wife.[47]

[Footnote 47: See Groeneveldt's Notes on the Malay Archipelago, compiled from Chinese sources. Verhandelingen van het Bataviaasch Genootschap, xxxix.]

From this subject it is natural to proceed to another disputed etymology, namely, the origin of the word Jawi, which is often used by the Malays for the word Malayu in speaking of their language and written character, bahasa jawi meaning Malay language, and surat jawi a document written in Malay. It is not necessary to go into all the various conjectures on the subject, which will be found in the works of Marsden, Crawfurd, Favre, and others.

Jawi is a word of Arab origin, and is formed in accordance with the rules of Arabic grammar from the noun Jawa, Java. Just as from Makah, Meccah, is derived the word Makk-i, of or belonging to Meccah, so from Jawa, Java, we get Jawi, of or belonging to Java. When this name was first applied to Malays, the Arabs had not an accurate knowledge of the ethnography of the Eastern Archipelago. Without very strict regard to ethnical divergencies, they described all the brown races of the eastern islands under the comprehensive and convenient term Jawi, and the Malays, who alone among those races adopted the Arabic alphabet, adopted also the term in speaking of their language and writing.[48]

[Footnote 48: "Sawa, Jawa, Saba, Jaba, Zaba, &c., has evidently in all times been the capital local name in Indonesia. The whole Archipelago was compressed into an island of that name by the Hindus and Romans. Even in the time of Marco Polo we have only a Java Major and a Java Minor. The Bugis apply the name of Jawa, Jawaka (comp. the Polynesian Sawaiki, Ceramese Sawai) to the Moluccas. One of the principal divisions of Battaland in Sumatra is called Tanah Jawa. Ptolemy has both Jaba and Saba." —Logan, Journ. Ind. Arch., iv. 338.]

As in Malay there are no inflexions to denote change of number, gender, or person, the connection of Jawi with Jawa is quite unknown to the Malays, just as the second part of the word senamaki (sena-maki, senna of Meccah[49]) is not suspected by them to have any reference to the sacred city. There is a considerable Malay and Javanese colony in Meccah,[50] where all are known to the Meccans indiscriminately as Jawi.

[Footnote 49: Senna (Cassia senna), as a medicine, enjoys a high reputation in India and all over the East. In Favre's Malay-French Dictionary daun sena-maki is translated feuilles de sn, no notice being taken of the last word; but Shakespear's Hindustani Dictionary has sena makk-i, "senna of Mecca."]

[Footnote 50: Burton's Pilgrimage to Medinah and Meccah, p. 175.]

Marsden devotes several pages of the introduction to his Malay Grammar to a discussion as to the origin and use of the expression orang di-bawah angin, people below the wind, applied by Malays to themselves, in contradistinction to orang di-atas angin, people above the wind, or foreigners from the West. He quotes from De Barros and Valentyn, and from several native documents, instances of the use of these expressions, but confesses his inability to explain their origin. Crawfurd quotes these terms, which he considers to be "native," and remarks that they are used by the Malays alone of all the tribes in the Archipelago. A much more recent writer characterises these terms as "Noms dont on ignore encore la vraie signification."[51]

[Footnote 51: De Backer, L'Archipel Indien, li. (Paris, 1874).]

The expression is not of Malay origin, but is a translation into that language of an Arabic phrase. Instances of its use occur in the "MOHIT" (the ocean), a Turkish work on navigation in the Indian seas, written by Sidi al Chelebi, captain of the fleet of Sultan Suleiman the Legislator, in the Red Sea. The original was finished at Ahmedabad, the capital of Gujarat, in the last days of Muharram, A.H. 962 (A.D. 1554). It enumerates, among others, "the monsoons below the wind, that is, of the parts of India situated below the wind," among which are "Malacca, Shomotora, Tanassari, Martaban, and Faiku (Pegu)."[52]

[Footnote 52: Journ. As. Soc. Bengal, iii. 545.]


Malay is written in a character which has been borrowed from a foreign literature in comparatively modern times, and which but imperfectly suits its sounds. With the introduction of the Muhammadan religion, the Malays adopted the Arabic alphabet, modified to suit the peculiarities of their language.

In Malay literary compositions there is great diversity in the manner of spelling many words. The accentuation of the spoken dialect differs so much from Arabic, that it is difficult, even for native writers, to decide when to write the long vowels and when to leave them out. This is the point in which diversity is most common.

Every European author who writes Malay in the Roman character has to decide on what system he intends to render the native language by means of our alphabet. The Malay alphabet has thirty-four letters, so it is obvious that ours will not accurately correspond with it. It is open to him, if he wishes to obtain a symbol to correspond with every letter of the Malay alphabet, to employ various means to denote those letters for which we have no equivalents; or he may dismiss the native alphabet from his mind altogether, and determine to write the language phonetically. In a language, however, which abounds in Sanskrit and Arabic words, he should, of course, avoid the adoption of any system of spelling which would disguise the true origin of words of foreign derivation.

Muhammadans from India or Persia introduced their own method of writing among the Malays. They wrote Malay in their own character (to the gradual supersession of any native alphabet that may have previously existed), and this became the alphabet of the Malays.

It is now our turn to write Malay in our character. Is it sufficient to do this in our own way, as those did who introduced the Perso-Arabic alphabet, or must we also have regard to the mode of spelling adopted by the latter?

In an elementary work like the present, it does not seem to be necessary to burden the student with a system of transliteration. The native character is not employed in this manual, and there is, therefore, all the less occasion for using special means for denoting peculiar native letters. It will be found that the mode of spelling Malay words adopted by Marsden has been followed in the main.[53] In this Introduction the long vowels (that is, the vowels which are written in full in the native character) are marked with a circumflex accent, but it has not been thought necessary to adopt this system in the body of the work.

[Footnote 53: In certain foreign words the hard k will be found to be denoted by a dot under the letter, thus, ḳ; and the peculiar vowel sound represented in Arabic by the letter ain is denoted by the Greek rough breathing '.]

Sometimes vowels will be found marked with the short sign, [)]. This is only for the purpose of assisting the student in pronunciation, and does not represent any peculiarity in the native character.

The vowels are to be sounded in general as in the languages of the Continent of Europe. Final k is mute.

The correct pronunciation of Arabic words is aimed at by Malays of education, and the European student should get the right sounds of the vowel ain and of the more peculiar Arabic consonants explained to him.



The object of this work is to facilitate the acquisition of an elementary knowledge of the Malay language. It is believed also that some of the hints and suggestions which it contains will be of use to those who already have a colloquial knowledge of Malay, especially if this has been acquired from Indian or Chinese settlers in the Straits of Malacca, not from Malays themselves.

The Roman character is used throughout, but a knowledge of the native character can hardly be dispensed with by those who aim at a thorough acquaintance with the language. As it abounds in idiomatic expressions, the study of native compositions is most important, and these are generally to be found only in the Malay character. Little attempt is made at scientific arrangement. In dealing with the various parts of speech, technical terms are as far as possible avoided, and reliance is placed rather on illustrations than abstract rules. The student should divest himself of the expectation that sentences may be formed in Malay on principles of construction which govern composition in European languages. An elementary knowledge of Malay is so easily acquired that a learner soon begins to construct sentences, and the tendency, of course, is to reproduce the phrases of his own language with words of the new one. He may thus succeed in making himself intelligible, but it need hardly be said that he does not speak the language of the natives. Correctness of expression cannot be entirely learnt from grammars. In this manual cautions and hints will be given, and, where possible, absolute rules will be laid down, but these must not be regarded as complete. Instruction derived from books must be supplemented by constant practice in speaking with Malays—not with Malay-speaking Asiatics of other nationalities—before idioms can be mastered. Until some facility in framing sentences according to native idioms has been attained, and it has been perceived how shades of meaning may be conveyed by emphasis, or by the position of a word in the sentence, the European will find it difficult to convey his ideas in Malay, even with a considerable vocabulary of words at his disposal. A Dutch author justly remarks:— "Malay is called a poor language, and so it is, but not so much so as is often imagined, certainly not as far as its vocabulary is concerned. That it is often unable to furnish us with words for abstract ideas is a deficiency which it has in common with all languages of the Indian Archipelago, or rather with all races who have not yet risen to the height of our civilisation and development. Its richness or poverty, however, must not be judged by the existing dictionaries, or by the contents of those manuscripts which are known to us. When Malays are seated together talking about various topics of everyday life, they are not in want of words, and such conversations would, if noted down, provide our present dictionaries with a good many supplements, additions, corrections, and appendices."[1]

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