Sooka chetha

Lately I have been reading a lot of materials about the origins of the Malays. This is very interesting but unfortunately most of the materials do not cover us here in Brunei except in passing. Though it is interesting to note where was the centre of the Malay centre - some writers argue that it was the west of Borneo (code name for Brunei) and some say it was Malacca and some say it was somewhere in Indonesia. The jury is still out.

One interesting article that I read recently was written by William Marsden entitled 'On the traces of the Hindu Language and Literature Extant amongst the Malays'. The title sounds interesting and modern. Except that it is not modern. This article was published in a book in, believe it or not, published in 1798. More than 211 years ago.

The article is readable, the English of 200 years ago is easier to read. I read Chaucer for my English Literature A Level in the early 1980s, and I remembered how difficult it was to read Chaucer.

The article pointed out that the number of Sanskrit words in the Malay language that the Malays must be an old language itself to adopt the Sanskrit words which is an even older language. The nature of the affinity was strong that their foreign origin was no longer suspected. The writer used examples and interesting old spellings to show examples such as:-


With the exception of Loba and Rata (in English they were translated as Covetous and Chariot, I am not sure what those are without checking the dictionary), all the other words are familiar. This article is indeed interesting as to the origin of the Malay language.

In case you are wondering, the modern spellings are:-

Sooka = Suka
Sookachetha = Sukacita
Dooka = Duka
Bagee = Bagi
Bangsa = Bangsa
Basa = Bahasa
Bechara = Bicara
Beejee = Biji
Boodee = Budi
Loba = ?
Jaga = Jaga
Pootree = Putri
Rata = ? (Roda?)
Pernama = Purnama
Charee = Cari


Anonymous said…
Rata could simply mean rata in Malay as in flat. Loba could also imply loba in Malay meaning greedy (tamak). Not usre if Loba in Snaskrit is pronounced Laba which means entirely different in Malay i.e profit.
My two cents of opinion!
Actually I forgot to include the translation - rata was translated as chariot, I couldn't figure out what rata was... Can't remember what the translation for loba was but you could be right on that one.
Anonymous said…
I heard from an italian guy that malay language was influenced by portuguese. He even show some example like almari and many more which i dont remember..

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