Institute of Language and Culture for Rural Development, Mahidol University, E-mail : lcatv
Key words : Loanwords, Malay, Southeast Asia
The Malay language is one of the oldest languages in Southeast Asia. It was evident that the language was used as thelingua franca in the area of Malay Archipelago for several centuries.
As Malay Archipelago is located on one of the main maritime trading routes between India and Arabia in the west and China in the east, it is not surprising that the area became a cradle of extensive and continuous language contact.
This paper investigates the percentage of loanwords commonly found in Malay, which is considered one of its outstanding characteristics. It is found that out of the grand total of 10,535 words there are all together 2,426 loanwords (about 20%). Out of this nearly 25% loanwords, 10% are from Arabic, 4% are from Sansakrit, 2.6% are from Indonesian, 1.2% are from Javanese, 1% are from Chinese and Hindustani, 0.9% are from Persian, 0.8% are from English, 0.6% are from Portugese and Tamil and 0.5% are from other languages.
Most of the loanwords found are loanwords not loan translations.
And most of them are nouns. The next in number are verbs, adjectives and conjunctions respectively. Some particular doublets in Malay and some common loanwords in Thai and Malay which shows a close relationship between the two languages will also be discussed.