Monday, May 18, 2009

‘Main’ and ‘Mending’ in English and Malay

It is interesting to learn that a word of the same spelling can be pronounced differently in different languages. From the study of English and Malay, I have found several words of this nature.

I shall explain two such words in this post.

The first word is ‘main’. In English it means ‘chief’ or ‘important’. However in Malay is means ‘play’. They are pronounced differently too. In English, ‘main’ is articulated as ‘may n’ or ‘mein’ but it Malay it is pronounced as ‘mar in’.
An example of a sentence in Malay is ‘Jangan main di sini.’ [Don’t play here.]
We can construct a sentence in English such as ‘Rice is the main crop grown here.’

Another word in this category is ‘mending’ which is pronounced as ‘man ding’ in English and ‘mern ding’ in Malay. This English word means ‘patching or repairing’ whereas its Malay meaning is ‘it is better’.
You can make a sentence such as ‘The cobbler is mending my shoes.’ in English.
In Malay, the sentence can be ‘Jika saudara ingin mengetahui lebih lanjut tentang ikan ini, mending datanglah ke rumah saya.’ [If you wish to know more about this fish, it is better for you to come to my house.’

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