27 September 2013


I have previously discussed calques, where a phrase is translated word-for-word from one language into another. Calques seem to be rather common in Malay, including mengambil tempat ('take place') that I mentioned in my previous post.

Another kind of calque is where two separate meanings of a word in English are found for the same word in Malay. In English, 'fall' can refer to something dropping down or to the season between summer and winter, and we find the same for the Malay word luruh. For example, duan-daun yang luruh means 'leaves that have fallen', but musim luruh means 'autmum', otherwise known as 'fall' in American English.

Incidentally, the American usage of 'fall' to refer to this season is not an innovation. As with so many features of American English, it is actually retaining a traditional word, and 'autumn' is the new word, borrowed from French in the 13th century and eventually displacing the Germanic term 'fall' in England but not the USA.