03 December 2011

Pronouns in Malay

I have been watching a Malay film called Putar Alam. Some of the characters, particularly the sophisticated, modern women, seem to use English pronouns throughout. For example, in this scene, the woman says: 'You tak boleh buat I macam ni!' ('You cannot treat me like this'), with you and I inserted into a sentence that is otherwise entirely Malay:I find it interesting that I is used as the first person pronoun in both subject and object position. I would have predicted that me would be used as an object pronoun, but that doesn't seem to happen.

Here is another scene, where a different female character says 'Duduk dengan I' ('Sit with me'):Again, I rather than me is used, even though the pronoun is clearly the object.

1 comment:

  1. It does seem wierd, given that the speakers are probably also very proficient in English.
    But it's nice too that when speaking Malay they stick with the logic of Malay, which doesn't have a separate object pronoun series. (Forms like -nya on eg. mengambil-nya "take it" have that shape because they are clitics, I think, not because they give case information, cf diambil-nya "taken by him", where -nya now represents an optional adjunct.]