Social variation of Malay language in Kuching, Sarawak, Malaysia

A study on accent, identity and integration

Idris Aman, Rosniah Mustaffa

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

6 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Language variation is conveyed through its regional or social dimension. In line with that proposition, this paper discusses the social variation of Malay language spoken in Kuching, Sarawak, Malaysia focussing on their accents. As part of the Malay language society, the Malays of Kuching have their own accent which is different from other Malay accents or the standard national accent. This paper analyzes the status of national standard accent and non-standard accent among the Malay informants in the city of Kuching. The discussion is based on a sociological urban dialectology research. For the analysis, five phonological variables are chosen. They are open-ended vowels (a), such as kita 'we', close-ended (i), such bilik 'room', close-ended (u), such as masuk 'enter', initial (r) or (r) 1, such as rumah 'home', and final (r) or (r) 2, such as pasar 'market'. Issues on accents are studied through four different degree of formality of speech styles, namely reading word list style (WLS), reading passage style (PS), conversational style (CS) and story-telling style (STS). Three social contextual variables - socio-economic status, sex, and age groups of the informants will be considered in the analysis. The use of national standard accent compared with the non-standard accent will be linked to issues of identity and integration.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)63-75
Number of pages13
JournalGEMA Online Journal of Language Studies
Volume9
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2009

Fingerprint

Malaysia
language
urban research
spoken language
age group
market
economics
Sarawak
Accent
Language
Society

Keywords

  • Identity
  • Integration
  • Language variation
  • Malay language
  • Standard accent

ASJC Scopus subject areas

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

Cite this

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