27 November 2015

Ivory Tower

It is interesting when a calque form one language into another involves a shift in meaning. In English ivory tower always has a negative connotation, suggesting a university that is cut off from reality. But look at this paragraph from page 1 of the Media Permata of 28 November:

Dua adik-beradik menarik nafas lega apabila cita-cita mereka untuk melanjutkan pelajaran ke menara gading di Malaysia tercapai dengan adanya bantuan biasiswa penuh daripada sebuah syarikat tempatan hari ini.

which might be translated as:

Two sisters breathed a sigh of relief today when their ambition to continue their studies at an ivory tower in Malaysia succeeded with the help of a full scholarship offered by a local company.

Note that menara gading ('ivory tower') does not suggest anything negative in this context. Indeed, my dictionary gives the meaning of menara gading as 'institution of higher learning'.