Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Examples of oral and written Malay words

In spoken Malay, we often use 'sebab' to mean 'kerana'. However, in written Malay, 'sebab' is to be used as 'reason' and 'kerana' as because.

The following sentences using both words as examples will make this clear:
a) Terdapat beberapa sebab pergaduhan ini berlaku. [There are several reasons for the quarrel.)

b) Lina tidak pergi ke sekolah kerana demam. [ Lina did not go to school because she was down with fever.]

We use 'cuma' in spoken Malay but 'hanya' in written one. Look at the following sentences:
a) "Saya cuma ada seringgit," kata Ali kepada saya.["I have one ringgit only," said Ali to me.
b) Hanya mereka yang menang akan diberi hadiah. [Only those who win will be given prizes.]

Another pair in this group is 'kalau' and 'jika'. The former is used in spoken Malay while the latter in written one. The sentences below show the proper usage.

a) "Kalau saya ada wang yang banyak, saya akan membeli kereta mewah," kata Ahmad kepada Muthu. [If I have a lot of money, I will buy a luxurious car," said Ahmad to Muthu.
b) Jika kemarau ini berlarutan, catuan air terpaksa dikenakan oleh kerajaan. [If this drought continues, water rationing will be imposed by the Government.]

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