Saturday, November 27, 2004

the ground

Children have no apprehension of rules. They take to the changes in their environment with ease – language included. My first two were born when we were staying in Shah Alam, while the ‘currently’ last two were born in Terengganu when we moved back home. I am a Terengganu’an, if you may call it while Yati my wife is a Kedah’an. Slang-wise we were at the two end of the spectrum, so it was easier to speak in standard Bahasa Melayu or English when the talk get ‘argumentative’ or ‘romantic’. In the early part of their growing years, my mother in-law, Yati’s mother, her sister, and four kids were staying with us. Across the road, fifty-feet away were my parent house. That provides a setting for a interesting language or slang development. My house has two parts with the kitchen in the middle. We live in the front and the ‘Kedahan’ at the rear. So there were the ‘Terengganu’ zone in my parent home, in my home - ‘standard Bahasa zone in the front and ‘Kedah’ zone at the rear and the kitchen as the neutral zone. So the word ‘mother’ is ‘mok’ in Terengganu zone, ‘mak’ in the neutral zone and ‘maq’ in Kedah zone. ‘Makang ikang’ (eating fish) lost its ‘g’ the moment they cross the road; ‘ayaq’ (water) is diluted to ‘air’ (not udara) the other way round.

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