Monday, February 9, 2009

Me, Myself and I

Monday, February 9, 2009

In English, addressing yourself is as easy as saying "I". In Malay, though, how are you to choose between all the different pronouns? There's aku, saya, kita, being the common ones. but everyone has their own preference, and some people take offence or look at you weird when you use the "wrong" one. My grandma told me "kita" is actually royal talk, like the king or something. But thats the one I use at home if I'm speaking Malay. And "aku" is deemed very crude to some, completely normal to others, I use this when speaking with a certain group of old friends. "Saya" seems a bit too formal. I don't really use this unless I'm talking to people I don't know.

So my flawed solution is to call myself by my name. As in, Maryam. And it still feels weird, like i'm a kid that doesn't know the first thing about grammar. So people, tell me which one i should use in your presence and I'll gladly try to rename myself.

(oh. and no funny I/you business. as in, I nak gi makan,you nak ikut? ewww...)


6 hitchhikers:

Muzak said...

I use saya if it's with a superior or elder.
Aku for really close buddies.

For regular conversation, I think "orang" is okay.

"Orang dah lapar la."
"Nak ikut tak? Orang nak pegi dah ni."
"Kan orang dah kata, hari ni sibuk.."

Definitely sounds like you're referring to yourself in the third person. But it works for me.

Hiba said...

Hehe, the I/you sounds the most relevant to modern times ;).

In Urdu it's the 'you' pronoun that gets me bewildered. Because it kind of determines the level of your relationship with another person, and that is so hard when you have to be the first person to use that pronoun and establish it! Sounds confusing, doesn't it? It is. You can never be sure whether to be more formal or less formal, or when to suddenly shift into less formal with a person you've known for a while- changing verbal terms is 'suddenly shifting' at least on the verbal level. Wish it wasn't there, these complications in speech! Thank God for English.

Sunglasses said...

Haha I don't know that much Malay mate, but i personally find the way the language handles pronouns to be really awesome! Terribly fascinated by it, although i can see it being a tad over-complicated.

I normally go with 'Sunglasses' or 'saya', if my opinion counts for anything... hehe.

Sigh... back to horrible thermodynamic analysis of engines... best of luck with your crazy workload.

Aneesah said...

Yeah, a lot of people use their own name to refer to themselves... Which is a bit childish-sounding, I have to admit. I tend to use kita most of the time; despite the... incorrectness. Aku when speaking to guys, I when speaking to my mum, dad, and Anas, (don't ask why) and saya towards... other people/strangers.

For referring to other people, sometimes I use their name all the time too, instead of awak. It just... depends on the person. ^^;; Weird eh. English is so much easier.

Meem said...

Interesting topic.

I almost never use "aku" or "engkau". I think it sounds harsh, bothering on rude.

I never use "orang". Rarely hear that frm the ppl I know.

"Saya" with strangers or in formal settings.

Use my own name when referring to myself among friends and family and call them by their name or "kakak", "abang" wherever appropriate.

I use "kita", "awak" with relatives, young or old. I find "awak kita" very cute, affectionate and respectful. Don't know why.

I use "I You" when trying to sound pretentious! or in jokes, LOL. But "I You" is common usage now, especially in the workplace. It's not as "ewwww..." as it used to sound. But still, if you're going to use "I You", isn't it better to converse in english instead?

GreenTeam said...

i usually speak in english amogn my friends, since most of them speak the language.

if i have to use malay, then 'saya', 'awak', 'orang', 'dia' or i mix malay and english. as in when i'm referring to myself or the other person i'll switch to english. complicated no? but it works for me. cause i find 'aku' 'kau' a bit harsh for my tongue.

if with family, names would be appropriate. most use english so no need for that.

yes! i ewww at i/you too!

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