Thursday, April 22, 2010

How to use 'ialah' correctly

For today's post, I would like to benefit learners of the Malay language. I will talk about the correct usage of 'ialah'.

In most Malay newspapers, 'adalah' is used when 'ialah' should be used. The correct usage has been put in Tatabahasa Dewan, the official Malay grammar reference for writers and teachers and those who use Malay.

Look at the rule:
'ialah' (is) is used in front of a noun phrase.

1 Dia adalah ahli sains yang terkenal. [wrong]
Dia ialah ahli sains yang terkenal. [correct]
[He is a famous scientist.]
[ahli sains yang terkenal is a noun phrase and should be preceded by 'ialah' instead of 'adalah' which I shall deal with in my next post]

2 Jambatan Pulau adalah yang terpanjang di Asia Tenggara. [wrong]
Jambatan Pulau ialah yang terpanjang di Asia Tenggara. [correct]
[The Penang Bridge is the one that is the longest in Southeast Asia.]
[yang terpanjang di Asia Tenggara is a noun phrase. Usually, a phrase that starts with 'yang' is a noun phrase, e.g. yang putih itu ialah baju saya. 'Yang putih itu (The white on)' is a noun phrase that begins with 'yang']

So much for the correct usage of 'ialah' for this post.

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