16 Feb 2010

Double Consonants in Kelantan

Double Consonants in Kelantan
2009 October 22
by Hilmi Hamzah

While I was doing some reading for my research on dialectology and the effects of dialects on English language learning, I discovered one striking feature in Kelantan dialect that amazed me – double consonants. For example, /mmari/ meaning ‘almari’ (locker). Notice that consonant ‘m’ is doubled at the beginning of the word ‘mmari’. Yes, you are right – double consonants only exist at the beginning of a word.

Prof Nik Safiah Karim, in her master’s thesis in 1965, called this feature a long consonant. She claimed that long consonants do not contrast meanings, which I totally DISAGREE (I will show you more examples soon). After all, her data were impressionistic in nature, not experimental (what do you expect in 1965?).

43 years later, Dr Adi Yasran Abdul Aziz and Prof Zaharani Ahmad, in their recent paper in 2008, called this feature a geminate onset. They claimed that geminate onsets can be likened to mora phenomena in Japanese. Very interesting. I would love to investigate their points in my phonetic lab.

Now, to prove that Prof Nik Safiah’s theory is wrong, I have come out with the following hypothesis – double consonants DO contrast meanings. Plus, double consonants can also suggest some changes in grammatical structures as well. Here are 6 ways double consonants can do wonders in our speech:

1. Two Different Meanings
2. Nouns vs. Adjectives
3. Nouns vs. Prepositional Phrase
4. Adjectives vs. Imperative verbs
5. Neutral Verbs vs. ‘Accidental’ Verbs
6. Neutral Verbs vs. Progressive Verbs

Okay, enough talk, here are the real examples (the one below each pair has double consonants):

1. Two Different Meanings

/mari/ (v. come)
/mmari/ (n. locker)

/tuboh/ (n. body)
/ttuboh/ (adj. fat)

/katok/ (v. hit)
/kkatok/ (n. frog)

/namo/ (n. name)
/nnamo/ (n. full moon)

/jawi/ (n. Arabic character)
/jjawi/ (v. circumcise)

2. Nouns vs. Adjectives

/minyok/ (n. oil)
/mminyok/ (adj. oily)

/peloh/ (n. sweat)
/ppeloh/ (adj. sweaty)

/doso/ (n. sin)
/ddoso/ (adj. sinful)

/kube/ (v. mess up)
/kkube/ (adj. messed up)

/bini/ (n. wife)
/bbini/ (adj. married)

3. Nouns vs. Prepositional Phrase

/kiri/ (n. left)
/kkiri/ (pp. to the left)

/kane/ (n. right)
/kkane/ (pp. to the right)

/keda/ (n. malls)
/kkeda/ (pp. at/to the malls)

/kapong/ (n. village)
/kkapong/ (pp. in/to the village)

/dapo/ (n. kitchen)
/ddapo/ (pp. at/ to the kitchen)

4. Adjectives vs. Imperative verbs

/cepak/ (adj. fast)
/ccepak/ (v. make it faster)

/koho/ (adj. slow)
/kkoho/ (v. make it slower)

/panje/ (adj. long)
/ppanje/ (v. make it longer)

/pendek/ (adj. short)
/ppendek/ (v. make it shorter)

/kure/ (adj. less)
/kkure/ (v. make it lesser)

5. Neutral Verbs vs. ‘Accidental’ Verbs

/kecing/ (v. urinate)
/kkecing/ (v. accidentally urinate)

/tido/ (v. sleep)
/ttido/ (v. accidentally sleep)

/tuka/ (v. exchange)
/ttuka/ (v. accidentally exchange)

/koci/ (v. lock)
/kkoci/ (v. accidentally lock)

/soyok/ (v. tear)
/ssoyok/ (v. accidentally tear)

6. Neutral Verbs vs. Progressive Verbs

/masok/ (v. cook)
/mmasok/ (v. is cooking)

/baco/ (v. read)
/bbaco/ (v. is reading)

/jaek/ (v. sew)
/jjaek/ (v. is sewing)

/gosok/ (v. iron)
/ggosok/ (v. is ironing)

/basoh/ (v. wash)
/bbasoh/ (v. is washing)

Did I see someone smiling? As a native speaker of Kelantan dialect, I amused myself with this discovery. Personally, I think double consonant is one of the most fascinating and distinctive features in Kelantan dialect because it has various ‘imbedded’ functions that can contrast meanings and grammatical structures (just by lengthening the first consonants – amazing!)

So my dear Kelantanese brothers and sisters, do tell me if I’m wrong. I would love to hear it from true speakers of Kelantan dialect out there.

Acu royak deh!

Dari : http://hilmihamzah.com/

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