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Malaysian English

Language Contact and Change


Siew Imm Tan

Malaysian English: Language Contact and Change is a corpus-based study of contemporary Malaysian English. Based on linguistic features extracted from the Malaysian English Newspaper Corpus, this study demonstrates the diverse ways in which Malaysian English has changed as a result of contact with Malay and Chinese languages. The interactions between groups of speakers who are dominant in English and those who are dominant in Malay or Chinese have resulted in wide-ranging changes in Malaysian English. Multilingual individuals who juggle several languages in their daily communications have also shaped the structure of this variety. This volume suggests that variation and change in Malaysian English are the results of both the communal acquisition and the maintenance of English by a multilingual community.


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Appendix B: Lexical Items Borrowed from Chinese


amah n. Also amah chieh. Pl. amahs. [Cantonese 䱯ྸက, lit. “mother-older sis- ter”] A traditional housemaid from China, characterised by their long plait and samfoo. 2002 The Star 14 Jan. From the second half of the 1930s the increasing availability of the Cantonese amah chieh, the professional domestic servant, gradually diminished the need for wealthy households to acquire mui tsai. ang pow n. Also ang pau, angpow. Pl. -s. [Hokkien 㓒व, lit. “red packet”] A gift of money in a red envelope given during special occasions within Chi- nese communities, especially during the Chinese New Year. Red is the col- our of auspiciousness for the Chinese. 2001 New Straits Times 28 Nov. Hotel staff spent two hours with the old folk serving light refreshments and distributing ang pow. Comb.: ang pow packet [Hokkien㓒व೺, lit. “red packet envelope”] the red envelope in which the gift money is placed. 2001 The Star 23 Aug. A doctor who allegedly attempted to kill his 67- year-old neighbour and mailed animal faeces to the police station in an ang pow packet has been arrested and remanded for five days. beef ball n. Pl. beef balls. [Chinese ⢋㚹Ѩ, lit. “cow meat ball”] A bite-size chewy ball of minced beef. Usually beef balls are served in a bowl of noo- dles and soup. 2001 The Star 9 Dec. They have been at work since 10 in the morning and are rushing to boil the beef soup and roll the beef balls .... Buddha Jumps Over The Wall n. [Chinese ֋䐣້, lit. “Buddha...

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