Tuesday, 21 September 2010

Clipping of Loanwords in Bahasa Malaysia

Clipping is a linguistic process by which new words are formed by removing one or more morphemes of words (real/actual or perceived/supposed) of existing words. It’s a popular word forming process especially in recent years.

A close cousin of clipping is “back formation”, another linguistic process where morphemes of existing words are also removed. However, the morphemes are usually affixes, and the entire part of speech of the affected word is also changed. Clipping does not.

In English, some examples of clipping are:

 ad (advertisement)
cable (cablegram)
 doc (doctor)
 exam (examination)
 fax (facsimile)
 gas (gasoline)
 gym(gymnastics, gymnasium)
 memo (memorandum)
 mutt (muttonhead)
 pub (public house)
 pop (popular music)

Clipping also happens in Malay (Bahasa Malaysia). Clipping in Malay usually occurs to loan words from other languages. Because Malaysia (formerly known as Malaya) was once a trading center for many merchants of various nations, and was colonized by several foreign countries, language contact, and eventually language transfer, was a common occurrence. Usually, due to phonological difference these loanwords undergo changes in spelling, pronunciation and/or morphological structure (including clipping).

Some examples of clipping of loanwords in Malay:

Original word
New word
principle (English, n.)
prinsip (n.)
intimate (English, adj.)
intim (adj.)
membazir (Arabic, v.) *corruption of “mubazir” (Arabic, v.)
bazir (v.)
acara (Sanskrit, n)
cara (n.)
merbahaya (Sanskrit, adj.)
bahaya (adj.)


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