Malay and Indonesian comparison is not a new issue, especially when entertainment from neighboring countries is known by the people here. From this phenomenon, an assessment emerged that both of them have something in common, so it is quite easy to understand all. However, in certain cases, there are also differences that are sufficient to cause ambiguity in meaning. Why did it happen? Please continue reading the following discussion!
Brief History of Malay and Indonesian Comparison
Have you ever heard that people on Sumatra Island, such as Riau speak Malay? In fact, this is a form of historical heritage.
Malay is the pioneer of Indonesian as a lingua-franca since it has a simple system and does not have language levels, such as Javanese. However, when the Sumpah Pemuda Congress was held in 1928, the rules changed.
The presence of Indonesian was initiated by Mohammad Tabrani Soerjowitjitro. He stated that the publication was intended, so that the young union movement would grow louder and faster.
On the other hand, the reason why Malay was potentially used in Indonesia was that people in almost all ports spoke it. The proof is also stated in the inscriptions found on Sumatra and Java Island.
When referring to current developments, it can be concluded that the standard Indonesian is another form of Malay. For instance, ‘useless’ in Indonesian is ‘percuma,’ but Malay has another meaning, which is ‘free.’ However, back on the standard Indonesian, especially the one used before independence, another meaning of ‘useless’ is adopted from Malay. Even though it is listed in the dictionary, it is less relevant for practical application in today’s life.
The relationship between Malay and Indonesian is indeed close to historical elements. There is another example that can give you an understanding of this. ‘Bioskop’ is what Indonesian people call ‘cinema.’ Meanwhile, Malay defines it as ‘wayang.’ In Indonesia, Wayang is an art that utilizes white background and minimal lighting to create shadows from puppet as performance characters. When you look up the meaning of ‘wayang’ in the Indonesian dictionary, the last finding listed is ‘shadow.’
Wayang performances were indeed common entertainment at that time, so Malay defined ‘cinema’ as having a modern impression with maintaining a tradition. On the other hand, Indonesian, which has its own development, calls ‘cinema’ in a different way, but still preserves the tradition by including the meaning of the word in the dictionary, which is actually not that relevant when used on public occasions.
Long story short, the formation of these languages has different references that are influenced by the countries that colonized them. Malay was once conquered by the British, while Indonesia was under Dutch occupation. This is also what makes the two apply their own spelling system at that time, such as ‘u’ and ‘oe’ to present ‘u’ vocal.
The Similarity between Malay and Indonesian
Before colonialism arrived, Malay used a writing system adopted from Arabic, called ‘Jawi.’ Meanwhile, Indonesia is well-known for Sanskrit. When British and Dutch domination occurred, both of them implemented Romanization. Another similarity between these two languages is that they are both tense-less, especially in adverbs of time.
Nowadays, there are words between them which have the same meaning, but not all Indonesians realize it. The different mastery of diction from one another and the context behind are the influencing factors.
Let’s look at the following examples to clarify:
- Headaches in Indonesian means ‘pusing,’ while Malay interprets it as ‘turn.’ However, take a look at the dictionary and you will find a similar meaning as Malay. Even though you do not normally use it, if you examine it further, it makes sense too.
- Indonesians call something that is not conducive as ‘kacau.’ On the other hand, Malay defines it as ‘stir’ or ‘disturb.’ You can guess that there is another meaning for ‘kacau’ when you look it up in the dictionary. However, you are used to using ‘aduk’ to say ‘stir’ aren’t you?
- Malay will call something cute as ‘comel.’ Meanwhile, Indonesian defines it as ‘lucu or menggemaskan.’ Many people think that ‘comel’ is only used in Malaysia, but that is not quite right. In fact, Indonesian has another meaning of the word, which is ‘like to grumble.’
The Differences between Malay and Indonesian
In wordplay study while you are at the school, it is no doubt that you have heard of homonyms, homophones, and homographs. To find out the Malay and Indonesian comparison, you can apply this as a pattern of difference between the two. Please look at the examples below!
- Same world but different meaning. What is a ‘train’? Malay translates it as ‘car (mobil),’ while Indonesian calls it ‘train (kereta)’ Another word that has a much different meaning for the two is ‘budak.’ In Indonesia it does not mean ‘little child,’ but ‘slave.’
- Same meaning but only similar spelling or not exactly the same. Apple in Indonesian means ‘apel,’ while Malay means ‘epa.’ Business has almost the same writing as the two; bisnis (Indonesian) and bisnes (Malay). The same thing also applies to the word ‘different’ where Indonesian writes it ‘beda,’ while Malay, ‘beza.’
- Same meaning but completely different spelling. This difference was quite influenced by the British occupation of Malaysia. For instance, retaining the words ‘zoo,’ ‘hospital,’ and ‘tuition.’ Meanwhile, Indonesian has other spellings, namely ‘kebun binatang,’ ‘rumah sakit,’ ‘les privat.’ However, there are other units that have nothing to do with history, such as ‘how.’ Malay does not mean ‘bagaimana’ but ‘macam mana.’
On the other hand, Malay and Indonesian comparison also comes from differences in word fragment. For instance, cua/ ca/ (Malay) and cu/ a/ ca/ (Indonesian). Pe/ nye/ suaian/ and pen/ ye/ su/ ai/ an/ is other examples. It can be said that Indonesians have a more detailed way to execute.
Malay and Indonesian comparison is influenced by colonialism and culture. However, both belong to the same language group and they are 60-70% identical. The difference between the two also reflects the principle of consensus on which language will be used in general through deliberation and community habits.