Tuesday, August 21, 2012

A Practical Malay Grammar

Apr 4, '12 10:16 PM
for everyone
Genre: Reference
Author:William Girdlestone Shellabear

A Practical Malay Grammar
William Girdlestone Shellabear (Author)

This book is another disaster story for a rip-off book . This book is included on the same order as the ‘Malay rock groups’ . As fas as I can understand this comes possibly from the same publisher due to the design similarities (front page and dimensions ).with the only difference on the name : Hephaestus book relates to wikipedia printings while names under Nabu involves with public domain books downloaded /derived from internet.

As for example the original book is located in
or direct link:

As stated in the web page of the archive org:
‘Possible copyright status: NOT_IN_COPYRIGHT’
Nabu /Amazon sell this re-print for GBP13.95 !!!

Here is a photo from  the first page of the book:

Now let me dig more into the book’s structure.

This book has been published on 1891 for first edition on behalf the Methodist Mission Church.The author (Shallabear ) used his own Romanization which is relatively close to the ejaan baru , For example the word beri is spelled bri with kasih is spelled kaseh, baru (possibly) is bharu, k for ke etc This is the second edition on 1904.

The book is structured by lessons and paragraphs . 24 lessons in total with vocabulary and short exercises except the last 5 lessons which are only dictionaries.

Here is the index of lessons as copied from the book with my clarifications in parentheses:

Lessons :—

I. The Article, Substantives and Adjectives
II. Personal Pronouns/ The Possessive Case /Possessive Pronouns
III. Demonstrative Pronouns/ Interrogative Pronouns
IV. Relative Pronouns /Reflective Pronouns
V. Adverbs
VI. Prepositions Conjunctions
VII. Numerals Fractional numbers /Collective numbers
VIII. Time
IX. The Verb Auxiliaries (for expressing tenses )
X. The Verb Ada
XI. Questions and Answers (ie making of )
XII. Negative Auxiliaries and the use of Negatives
XIII. The Verbs Sudah and Habis /The Verb Kna (kena???)/The Verb Bri (beri)
XIV. Formation of the Plural /Numeral Co-efficients or Classifiers
XV. Gender /Comparison of Adjectives
XXI. Derivative Verbs :Intransitive and Transitive /
XVII.The Prefix m (me)/
XVIII.The Passive Voice .../ The Prefix ter/The
XIX. Prefix ber/The prefix "per."
XX.Derivative Nouns : (a) The Prefix/( b ) The Prefix p and Suffix
XXI. ( c ) The Prefix per and Suffix an (d) The Suffix an(e) The Prefix k (f) The Prefix k and Suffix an (g) The Prefix ber and Suffix an (/i) The Suffix an with reduplication
XXII. Interjections /Punctuation Words/Compound Sentences :Adjectival Clauses ...
XXIII. Adverbial Clauses ...
XXIV. The Use of Prepositions
XXV. Elementary Malay Idioms /Polite Phrases /The Use of Bharu (baru?)/The Use of Juga ...
XXVI. (Malay )Words of Similar Meaning (in English )
XXVII. Compound Words (as the English phrasal verbs)
XXVIII. Religious Terms /Mohamedan (sic , surely meaning Muslim ) and Christian . Tehre is rte term ekklisia the Greek word for church Most Mohamedan terms are Arabic !
XXIX. The Mohammedan Calendar Currency .weights and measures

On the appendix are :
Reading Exercises : several are derived from the book of Hikayat Abdullah ,with word by word translation, and correct English translation.
Key to the Exercises with the solutions to exercises of all previous chapters !

This is a text passage of 83 pages i.e. quite concise grammar. I can rate it at least 4/5 for its value.

Now back to the edition . Since the book was quite overpriced for a public domain book , I returned this Monday to Amazon with the book for a refund if possible. And  today Amazon confirmed the  reception and the refund!BIg kudos to them! 

I preferred to download the book and print the way I always do for a minimal sources cost .Here is a photo of it

Printing had some ‘side effects’. Original dimensions are A5 so resizing it to 4:1 per sheet shrunk to A6 therefore a upsizing was necessary The solution using Foxit ver 3 with up-sizing by 40% (A4 to A3) caused the program to crash . Newer version of Foxit (4) overcame this problem. Partial printing made my life even easier The printer (really a photocopier) required ca 1-15 secs for each sheet to print possibly due to resizing..
A less important side effect was the less intense printing (less black, good for ink saving reasons!) comparing to the book’s

MY verdict 4/5 : Surely this book is quite old , over a century! Different spelling is surely a problem although minor , as I can easily compare to the ‘ejaan baru’ (new Malay spelling ). Still the structure of the book makes it a invaluable tool to learn the Malay grammar. And I think that though language evolves (new words for example ) the grammar remains the same over the years . Or I am wrong???

1 comment:

  1. portstevos wrote on Apr 5
    You would think that a more "modern" version of Malay Grammar with current spelling would be made available or are things in Malaysia not changed in over a century?
    Maybe they should write a new Testament like they did the Bible?
    Do you think this book is worth it's cost Zach?
    edit delete reply
    zlgr wrote on Apr 6, edited on Apr 6
    First let me know : Did English grammar or grammar laws evolve in one century?

    What i know about Malay language is that what art least evolves is the romanization due to the Jawi (arabic ) which is replaced than by roman alphabet , and several modifications occurred by the time

    Greek language surely evolved by dictionary but not so much in the grammar (i think some dropped as dative , vocative for nouns and several tenses in verbs )

    From what i read from my books i did not seen so much difference from what i knew before (i learned basic grammar /syntax by a dictionary ) maybe only a Malaysian could advise us better.
    delete reply
    portstevos wrote on Apr 7
    No, I don't think any grammar evolved in just one century, it has been evolving for many centuries and continues to do so! Maybe it is different for some countries in that they still use mostly the same grammar for centuries, other countries such as western world seems to be changing!
    delete reply
    ilzaf wrote on Apr 10, edited on Apr 13
    I don't have the book that you mantion. Maybe if I have the book, I can easily explain about the grammar difference (if any, from the published date until now). But from what I know, there is no difference except for the spelling system. One advantage of the Malay language, native speakers can still understand any sentence even though the grammar is not correct. For example, Saya makan nasi tiga kali sehari (I eat rice three times a day - correct grammar) or Saya nasi makan sehari tiga kali (incorrect grammar) we still can understand.
    edit delete reply
    zlgr wrote on Apr 10
    For example, Saya makan nasi tiga kali sehari (I eat rice three times a day - correct grammar) or Saya nasi makan sehari tiga kali (incorrect grammar) we still can understand.

    AFAIK this is not grammar ,but syntax!! (setting of words)and also happens quite much in greek language esp in the everyday talks
    delete reply
    ilzaf wrote on Apr 11, edited on Apr 11
    Not only syntax, but also grammar.

    Saya nasi makan (this is grammar).
    sehari tiga kali (this is syntax)

    you may refer to this link http://tatabahasabm.tripod.com/tata/salahtata.htm
    delete reply
    awangmamat wrote on Apr 11
    the old spelling...but to say the words...is the same..
    edit delete reply
    zlgr wrote on Apr 11
    thank you both!Also also thanks for the link (though it is in Malay )