Friday, December 11, 2009

The correct usage of 'justeru'

Today's post is about the Malay word 'justeru' which has been used wrongly for quite some time until one of the champions of 'bahasa baku' pointed out the mistake.

I personally checked up Kamus Dewan Edisi Ke-4, and found that all this while we have been using 'justeru' incorrectly. For example, I used to read my students writing sentences such as the following:
1 Justeru, kita harus berhati-hati semasa berada di jalan raya. [Wrong]
2 Justeru itu, penggunaan telefon bimbit harus diharamkan di sekolah. [Wrong]

Most users will think that 'justeru itu' means 'oleh itu' (Hence). When people pointed out 'justeru itu' is wrong, users of the Malay language cleverly drop the 'itu' and use 'justeru' alone. However, the above two sentence are wrong. Let us explain why.

According to Kamus Dewan, 'justeru' has two meanings, namely 'malah' (moreover' and 'kebetulan' (coincidentally). To use 'justeru' correctly, you can make sentences such as the ones below:

1 Aminah bukan sahaja pandai menyanyi justeru pandai menggubah lagu.
[Aminah (not only) can sing well, moreover she can compose songs.]

2 Apabila kebakaran itu berlaku justeru saya berada di sana.
[When the fire broke out, coincidentally I was there.]

I hope this post will help to promote the correct use of the word 'justeru'.


Minah said...

Hi, do you agree with this?

The first point is what you pointed out, but the second point says justeru can be used to illustrate cause-and-effect, which to me sounds like we can use "justeru" as "hence".

I am confused again.

TH Yeoh said...

In any language, Bahasa Melayu included, there is an official reference. When in doubt about the meaning of a BM word, we refer to Kamus Dewan. In Kamus Dewan, Edisi Ke-4, 'justeru' has two meanings, namely
• 1. kebetulan, tepat, kena benar: kenapa justeru sekarang ini engkau harus pergi?
• 2. malahan, bahkan: sekali-kali tidak pernah saya mencaci dia, justeru saya puji dia.

It is very clear from the definition and model sentences given, 'justeru' does not mean 'Hence' or 'Oleh itu'.