Kelantan peranakan chinese language and marker of group identity

Giok Hun Pue, Puay Liu Ong, Loo Hong Chuang

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

1 Citation (Scopus)

Abstract

Although the status of the national language of Malaysia has been consolidated in the Constitution, the Malay language remains commonly associated with a specific segment of Malaysian society, i.e., the Malays. The language is often seen as a distinct marker for Malayness whereas the non-Malay ethnic groups, particularly in Peninsular Malaysia, are not widely associated with the language. The Chinese as the largest minority ethnic group in the Peninsular, are often stereotypically depicted as relatively less fluent or knowledgeable in Malay language, at times not beyond the colloquial ‘bahasa pasar’. Such a scenario suggests that language-wise, Malaysian society remains divided along ethnic lines. This paper seeks to highlight Malay language use among Peranakan Chinese youth in Kelantan. While their higher level of Malay language proficiency vis-à-vis mainstream Chinese is readily acknowledged, findings from content analyses of qualitative data collected in a focus group discussion also suggest that such proficiency in Malay language is achieved due to it being pivotal to the continuity of their identity as both Kelantan Peranakan Chinese and Kelantanese. In short, the Kelantan Peranakan Chinese community is a good example that proficiency in Malay language as national language can exist in tandem with the group’s mother tongue language, and thus should be celebrated and supported towards building a common identity as part of nation-building in Malaysia.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)33-51
Number of pages19
JournalGEMA Online Journal of Language Studies
Volume19
Issue number2
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1 May 2019

Fingerprint

language
Group
Malaysia
Language
Group Identity
Chinese Language
ethnic group
colloquial
mother tongue
state formation
group discussion
constitution
continuity
minority
scenario
community
Proficiency
National Language
Ethnic Groups

Keywords

  • Chinese stereotype
  • Communicative competence
  • Group identity
  • Kelantan Peranakan Chinese youth
  • Malay language

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Language and Linguistics
  • Linguistics and Language
  • Literature and Literary Theory

Cite this

Kelantan peranakan chinese language and marker of group identity. / Pue, Giok Hun; Ong, Puay Liu; Chuang, Loo Hong.

In: GEMA Online Journal of Language Studies, Vol. 19, No. 2, 01.05.2019, p. 33-51.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

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