Sunday, November 28, 2004

j’etak words

J’etak literally means ‘spring’- the verb. Some has attempted to standardize the spelling to ‘jentat’ or ‘berjentat’ though I’m not sure if it was recognized by Dewan Bahasa. I’ll check it out later. Example; ‘perakak tikuh itu j’etak bila tikuh makang upang (perangkap tikus itu j’etak bila tikus makan umpan / the mouse trap springs when the mouse took the bait).

The word j’etak bring to mind a beautiful prose (or is it pantun?) I learn when young. It sounds like this. For effect, all e to sound as ‘e tanda’

Tak, tak ge,
Be-j’etak ekor nage
J’alang kire-kire,
Tige puluh tige

Anok itek To’ Wi
Jalang tepi kolang
Sakik ape To’Wi
Sakik senga tulang

Tak, tak ge
the dragon’s tail sprang,
walk about and count

Ducklings of To’ Wi
Walk by the pond
What ails To’ Wi
Arthritis (do I make any sense here?)

I can’t remember the rest.

It would be fairly easy to explain the j’etak pronunciation concept to those familiar with ‘sabdu’ (the small ‘w’ above) in the Quranic Arabic pronunciation. Example; k a l a is 'kala'(scorpion) but k a l (sabdu) a became ‘kal-la’, a m a is ‘ama’ but a m (sabdu) a is ‘am-ma’ (indian for mother).

When a word in Terengganu speak is spoken j’etak, it may one, carry a different meaning; two, became a shortened version of twin-words; three, changes noun to verb; four, replaces ‘ter’ commonly denoting ‘accidentally’

To explain, let me try.

carry a different meaning;
goreng (fry); noun becomes g’oreng (berbohong/lies); verb
sungguh (true); becomes s’ungguh(bersungguh-sungguh/determined)

In normal use of ‘buat -,as in 'Che Yah panda ‘buak’nasi dagang';buak (buat) carry the meaning of ‘making’. ‘Che Yah is good at making nasi dagang’. But when ‘buak’ is pronounced j’etak it takes on a different meaning. ‘Che Yah Nasi Dagang tu b’uak pulok doh, abih baju laki dia kena buang’; b’uak (b’uat) now means ‘at it again, throwing tantrum, losing one’s mind, mad’). ‘Che Yah Nasi Dagang (the nasi dagang maker) is at it again, all her husband’s clothes were thrown away.

changes noun to verb.
goreng (fry); noun becomes g’oreng (menggoreng/frying); verb
jalang (jalan/road); becomes j’alang (berjalan/walking); verb. ‘Pok Soh tengoh j’alang di tengoh jalang’ Note that for both ‘tengoh’ and ‘jalang’, the meaning changes. The early ‘tengoh’(sedang) function as English ‘is’, while the later ‘t’engoh’ means ‘at the middle’. Likewise the early ‘j’alang’ denotes ‘berjalan’ (walking) and the later ‘jalang’(jalan) means the noun ‘road’.

For note, the word ‘jalang’ in standard Bahasa means ‘vamp’ or ‘lady of bad character’. Terengganuan was not known to commonly use it preferring the term ‘orang bujang’. I tend to think that it was not in Terengganu vocabulary. Similar instance can be found in the use of the degratory ‘menatang’ (binatang/animal) as in the ‘menatang mung!’(you animal!) in Terengganu speak. In standard Bahasa ‘menatang’ means to carry something carefully as in the famous ‘peribahasa’; Bagai menatang minyak yang penuh’ (Like carrying a plate full of oil). So to get away after screaming ‘menatang mung’ or a much angrier 'menatang berayok mok mung' at someone, explain that you were using the standard terminology. That is if you are still standing after ‘kena terajan’ (being kicked a-la Jet Li)

became a shortened version of long or twin-words;
budak laki-laki (boys) becomes budok l’aki
budak perempuan (girls) becomes budok p’uang

replaces ‘ter’; also changing the meaning
kejut (wake) becomes k’ejut stands for ‘terkejut’ (surprised)
sepak (kick) becomes s’epak stands for ‘tersepak’ (tripped)

If you think the categorization was exhaustive, a friend pointed out something funny to me.

The word ‘punoh’ or ‘punah’ (destroyed/damaged) was not converted to ‘p’unoh’ but to ‘m’unoh’ (memusnah). How come, when the word ‘Munah’ is a short form of a lady’s name ‘Maimunah’?. Use it j’etak, it became ‘m’unah’ (memusnah/destroy). His explanation – ‘it takes a Munah (the lady) to carry out the act of destruction.

Try this for practice.

‘Moleklah tu Mek Nah, tengoh g’oreng mi gorengpun dang nye g’oreng k’ite’ (Eloklah tu Mek Nah, sambil menggoreng mi gorengpun sempat dipermainkannya kita semua. / It is so you Mek Nah, even while frying the ‘fried noodles’, you can make fun at us all.)

With all these variations, it is hard to differentiate the right usage of ‘j’etak’ words. Perfection may only come from experience and familiarization. It helps if one is a true blue Terengganuan or been neutralized into one. That requires a fair dose of savoring ‘budu’ , 'ulang' and ‘ikang singgang’.

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