01 September 2012


In my introductory linguistics course this week, I mentioned blends such as smog (= smoke + fog) and motel (= motor + hotel), where a new word is created by adding the first part of one word to the second part of another; and I suggested that a Malay equivalent is cerpen ('short story'), which is a blend of cerita ('story') + pendek ('short').

My students suggested two more: tadika ('kindergarten') from taman ('garden') + didik ('education') + kanak ('child'); and pawagam from panggung ('theatre') + wayang gambar ('film').

It looks like Malay blends are formed by taking the first half of successive words, rathen than the first half and the second half. I'm not sure why this pattern is different from that of English.