The Malay language 150 years ago: comparing Penang and JavaBy Tom Hoogervorst
|Date : 23 June 2014 (Monday)
Time : 5.30pm - 6.30pm
Venue : George Town World Heritage Inc.
116 & 118, Lebuh Acheh, George Town, Penang.
Language : English
As Southeast Asia’s most widespread language, Malay has been of key significance for trans-regional unity and interethnic communication since antiquity. Consequently, researchers have not always prioritized the diversity and richness of the Malay dialects; while much attention is typically given to classical and standardized Malay, many of the vernaculars remain outside the academic gaze. This presentation calls attention to a largely ignored textual corpus of “low Malay” used in the colonial Dutch East Indies, especially Java, dating from the late nineteenth to mid-twentieth century. Ongoing efforts to digitize the entire corpus are hoped to result in improved searchability and online access to these valuable first-hand sources on late-modern Southeast Asia. The texts contain a fascinating mix of Malay, European and Chinese influence. But how unique are they in this respect? Java’s historical centrality, colonial legacy and cultural cross-fertilization evoke various associations with Penang.
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