Wednesday, February 29, 2012

How to use 'berjaja' and 'menjajakan' correctly

In Malaysia, we have the chance to see 'hawkers' or vendors who sell things from place to place everywhere we go. Sometimes, they call out the names of the items or food sold. In the Malay language, they are known as 'penjaja'.

In reference books written by writers who do not pay attention to standard usage or for that matter the grammatical aspect of the language, the following sentence often appears in their books:
Mak Minah menjaja kuih-muih di tepi jalan. [wrong]

The above sentence should have been: 'Mak Minah menjajakan kuih-muih di tepi jalan.' [Mak Minah is selling various 'kuih' (something like cakes in English) by the road through hawking.']

The word 'menjaja' is not in the dictionary and hence non-existent. However, you can use 'berjaja' the intransitive verb for 'to hawk'. A sentence such as the one below can be constructed to show its correct usage:

Ahmad berjaja untuk menyara keluarganya. [Ahmad sells things by hawking to support his family.]

I hope by now readers and students of the Malay language are clear about the usage of 'berjaja' and 'menjajakan'. Remember not to use 'menjaja' anymore as it is non-existent.

Monday, February 6, 2012

Pick up my mandarin orange and be my Mr Right

Today is Yuan Xiao Jie or Chap Goh Meh in Hokkien. It is the 15th day and last day of Chinese New Year.

Yuan Xiao Jie is the equivalent of Valentine's Day - a day lovers will meet. In ancient China, maidens will be allowed to come out on this night, hoping to find a good husband. Once she takes a liking to someone, the parents will send people to negotiate for a proper wedding.

There is also the custom of throwing mandarin oranges into the river in the hope of getting a good husband as the saying goes 'Tim Kam, cuai ho ang' (Throwing mandarin oranges to get good husbands). In modern time, the unmarried ladies will write their names and mobile phone numbers on the fruits before hurling them into the water or river. Young men will then pick them up, ring the numbers to strike up a relationship.

Happy throwing mandarin oranges on Chap Goh Meh.

Saturday, February 4, 2012

Making a beeline for the canteen

My eyes caught sight of the sentence below 'Champion hawkers riding high' which reads
'Customers are making a beeline to the stalls of the newly crowned 'kings'.

The above captions appeared in a local newspaper which I read this morning.

In the second sentence, 'making a beeline to' is wrong usage. It should be 'making a beeline for'.

Let me construct a sentence to illustrate the correct usage:

As soon the bell for recess was rung, the pupils made a beeline for the canteen.

It means they headed straight to the canteen to satisfy their hunger.

I hope the newspaper will be more careful so as to avoid grammatical errors such as the one mentioned in this post.