Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Use proper bahasa Malaysia in billboards


I refer to ‘Mind your translation’ 2 Jun 2011 (The Star). As explained by Dr M.A. Nair, many billboards, advertisements and product packages do not display the correct use of our national language. Many of them contain wrong spelling and usage of bahasa Malaysia.
As explained by Dr Nair, the word merbahaya doesn’t exist in the language. The root word is bahaya and words like berbahaya, membahayakan are generated by using prefix and suffixes like ber and mem-kan. In Malay, prefix mer does not exist.  But, we do have the word marabahaya, which means disaster or calamity. Despite that, we still notice traffic signboards like Selekoh Merbahaya which should read Selekoh Berbahaya (Dangerous bend)  are displayed on highways and roads in the country.
Another common error in traffic sign is kurangkan laju. It is should be kurangkan kelajuan. Laju is an adjective, where else kelajuan is a derived noun from the root word laju. The sentence kurangkan kelajuan is correct, which correctly explains  ‘reduce speed’. Kurangkan laju , which is grammatical incorrect should be avoided.
With reference to bill boards and advertisements, Dewan Bahasa dan Pustaka, (DBP) the guardian of the national language has been endorsed to preserve the integrity and of honour of bahasa Malaysia.
In fact, there is special section called Pengembangan bahasa Sektor Swasta  (Development of Language in the Private Sector Section)  at  the Language Department (Jabatan Bahasa) of DBP. This section of the Department looks into language use in posters and signboards and billboards in bahasa Malaysia in the country.  Companies, government agencies or even individual wanting to put  billboard or advertisement need to counter-check with this Section of DBP on the proper use of the language.  If this Section of DBP is always referred, perhaps language errors in billboards and advertisements can be checked and reduced.
English and bahasa Malaysia are two different distinct languages with its own grammar dan language structure. One should not confuse with the structures of these two languages.  Let us hope billboards and traffic signs display proper use of our national language.

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