Thursday, July 24, 2008

confusing words for learners of the Malay language

Sara is still developing her Bahasa Melayu vocabulary... and this morning I let her read some of my Malay work. I asked her to translate a word and she gave the meaning of another but very similiar word. Made me realise how difficult language learning can be. I take BM so for granted, I forget she is still learning it.

This morning it was mengangguk. She thought it meant annoy.

The sentence was Fiza mengangguk. And Sara thought it meant Fiza annoys!

mengangguk - nod
mengganggu - annoy

I guess it's very easy to make that mistake. Another pair that gave Sara (and Noah! when he was expanding his vocab) some confusion is bulat and bulan!

bulat - round
bulan - moon

That reminds me... When Noah was seven, he came back from school with a question. He said, Mummy, What is sugar in Malay? I said, Gula. He pondered and asked, What is Heaven in Malay? I had to smile, because I knew he had Islamic Studies that day and they were probably talking about heaven and all. And his friends proably pronounced syurga (which is Heaven in Malay) with a silent 'r' as a lot of Malays do! Poor Noah!! He had quite a time learning the lingua franca!!

sugar - gula
heaven - syurga
candy - gula-gula

I'm learning French... so far so good... except for the pronunciations! A friend gave me this tip... he said dont say the last letter!! haha!! ok... yay!

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