20 February 2012


A common way of creating new words is by blending, which involves using the start of one word and the end of another. So, for example, in English we find:
  • smog (from smoke + fog)
  • motel (from motor + hotel)
  • infotainment (from information + entertainment)
What about Malay? Are there blends in Malay?

One of my first-year students suggested cerpen ('short story') (from cerita 'story' + pendek 'short'). The only difference is that this is the start of one word plus the start of another word, rather than the start of one and the end of the other.

My UBD colleague, James McLellan, tells me that similar blends are very common in Indonesia, with, for example, menlu ('foreign minister') (from menteri 'minister' + luar 'outside'). Note that this is also the start of one word and the start of another, just like with cerpen.

I have two questions: Is using the start of both words the usual pattern in Malay? And is the process more common in Indonesia than in Brunei and Malaysia?