16 September 2013

mengambil tempat

Sometimes I can only understand something written in Malay by first translating it word-for-word into English. For example, in an article on page 5 of the Media Permata of 17 September 2013, one of the pragraphs begins with:

Banyak perubahan telah mengambil tempat ...

which can be glossed in English as :

Many changes have taken place ...

I could not understand the use of mengambil tempat until I put it into English; it seems to be a direct calque from the English 'take place'.

I have checked in the Pusat Rujukan Persuratan Melayu webiste (here), and there are plenty of instances of mengambil tempat, such as:

Dia mengambil tempat berdekatan dengan pintu agar dialah orang pertama yang dapat bercakap dengan Menteri.

for which the translation is given as:

He positioned himself next to the door so that he would be the first to speak to the Minister.

But they all seem to carry the literal meaning of 'take place' meaning "adopt a position", and not the figurative extension of the phrase to mean "happen".

So, is the use of menagmbil tempat found in the Media Permata a new extension of the phrase? Or is it just a lazy reporter translating word-for-word without considering the context? I don't know the answer to this.