Sabtu, 19 Agustus 2023

Uniqueness of Language

-- Agus Sri Danardana

REALLY, language is indeed arbitrary: arbitrary and arbitrary, not based on definite considerations (formula, law, and/or rules). That is why the crowing of the rooster is called kukuruyuk by the Javanese (Central and East) and called kongkorongok by the Sundanese. In fact, the mention of it could be equally based on their (Javanese and Sundanese) hearing of the sound of a rooster crowing.

Even in mentioning the sun: the Javanese call it srengenge, while the Sundanese call it panonpowe. That said, the word srengenge was adapted by the Javanese from Sang Hyang He 'The Ruler of the Day', while the word panonpowe is thought to be a translation of the sun.

Thus, this arbitrariness is increasingly visible in the use of the word dhahar 'to eat'. That word, dhahar, although both are used (both by Javanese and Sundanese) for the same meaning: to eat, still has different nuances. By the Javanese, dhahar is used as a subtle form (kromo), while by the Sundanese, dhahar is used as a rough form (ngoko). As a consequence, many Sundanese who have Javanese sons-in-law often feel hurt when they hear their sons-in-law say, ''Mango dhahar, sir.'', every time they invite them to eat.

The example above shows that even though there are similarities, actually every language has its own ''logic''. Each language, which arbitrarily and with its own ''logic'', has formed a system each, differs from one another. This difference, because not everyone understands and realizes it, is one of the causes of language problems. It often happens that people use ''logic'' in language X in language Y. As an example, consider the following sentences:
(1) Where is Pak Harto's house, ma'am?
(2) Dadang was brought home by me yesterday.
(3) Pekanbaru, where I live, is the capital of Riau Province.

Indonesians who are willing to use Indonesian ''logic'' will of course quickly be able to feel the strangeness of the three sentences with ''logic'' in Javanese, Sundanese and English. Good Indonesian users will immediately change the three sentences into
(1) Which is Pak Harto's house, ma'am?;
(2) I brought Dadang home yesterday; and
(3) Pekanbaru, where I live, is the capital of Riau Province.

The use of the ''logic'' of certain languages ​​in other languages ​​does not only occur in structures (sentences), but also in writing (words). In fact, even in writing, every language has its own spelling system. Indonesian, for example, because it does not recognize tasydid ''repetition/emphasis of letters'', changed the words massive (English) and ummat and kulliyah (Arabic) to massive, ummah, and lectures. Even if the Indonesian language has the word mass ''crowd'', this is solely to differentiate it from the word masa ''time, kala, period''.

Such spelling adjustments occur in any language, not only in Indonesian. English, for example, absorbs al-kuhli and manaaraat into alcohol and minaret. Meanwhile, Arabic absorbed post, Aaron, and Petrus to become bushthah, Aaron, and Butros. In fact, the writing of Muhammad also has many variants, such as Muhamad, Muchammad, Mohamad, and Muhammed. That said, Arabs in North Africa (such as Egypt) also often write u with o and sy with sh: Umar Syarif is written by Omar Sharif.

In his article, ''Arabic and the Language of the Koran'' (Riau Pos, 8 September 2013), Ibrahim Muhammad expressed his disagreement with Yeni Maulina's writing regarding the writing of Arabic absorption words: ustaz, prayer, and corpse. According to Ibrahim Muhammad, the writing recommended by Yeni Maulina (especially the prayer) would have fatal consequences because, if it was pronounced as written, it could invalidate the prayer.

In fact, Ibrahim Muhammad's concern would not have happened if he had put it back in context: (in) Indonesian. Isn't it permissible for prayer (recitation) to use another language, other than Arabic/Quran? This means that as a mahdhoh worship, (reading) prayers must be recited in accordance with the norms/rules of the Arabic/Quran language, not the norms/rules of the Indonesian language. The same goes for the call to prayer, of course it is not beautiful if it is not done in accordance with the tajwid and makhraj.

Within certain limits, Yeni Maulina's statement that writing can be different from speech is still acceptable. In Javanese, for example, a is pronounced O by most Javanese (except speakers of the Banyumasan dialect). The same thing happened in Malay. The word what, for example, is even pronounced in three variants: /what/, /ape/, and /apo/.

So, if Brother Ibrahim is bothered by the writing of the prayer, he must be "logic" in Arabic. With a slightly different case, this is the same as the Javanese who always feel disturbed when they hear the word "crazy" uttered by most Indonesians. In Javanese, d and dh are different phonemes. Wedi ''fear'' is different from wedhi ''sand''. Indonesian speakers will also feel the same thing when they hear other people unable to pronounce mental words correctly: mental ''character, soul'' or mental ''bounce, (me)bounce''.

Such is the nature of language. It is unique with its own ''logic''. Forcing the ''logic'' of one language on the ''logic'' of another, thus, will cause us to fail to enjoy its uniqueness. Therefore, let Indonesians continue to use the word kalbu (not heart) for ''heart, heart'', but don't force them to take the bus way''. Allah is All-Knowing. n

Agus Sri Danardana , Head of the Language Center for Riau Province

Source: Riau Pos , Sunday, 6 October 2013

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