Malay: word stress

Jeremy86

New Member
France, French
Hello,

Could anyone tell me which syllable is stressed in each of the following words in Malay ?

tripang, kampung, sarung, gurami, amoq, pengguling, bambu

Thanks a lot ! :)
 
  • entangledbank

    Senior Member
    English - South-East England
    Stress is consistently on the penultimate syllable in Malay. It looks like you have a number of etyma there of English words where (mostly) the stress is final. I don't know why that is; perhaps they came via some other language. But a more recent adoption is batik, which has good penultimate stress like everything else in Malay, yet in English is pronounced as if it's French batique. :) [Added: the OED says batik is from Javanese; I don't know what the stress is in other local languages such as Javanese, so that could be another factor.]

    The spelling amoq is from the etymology sections of English dictionaries; there is no Q in the modern Malay/Indonesian Latin script. The Malay word is amok. In fact final <k> is a glottal stop, not a [k], so perhaps in the Jawi (Arabic) script formerly used for Malay, the letter qaf was used for that, and rendered amoq in English etymologies.
     

    Jeremy86

    New Member
    France, French
    Hello,

    Thanks a lot, this is extremely helpful !

    As you may have guessed, I am working on the English pronunciation of some foreign words. Indeed most of dissyllables are stressed on the final syllable in English. Apart from 'Kampong', which was initially stressed on the second syllable - the change is recent. On the contrary 'sarong' seems to have been initially stressed on the first syllable, contrary to now.
    Thanks for pointing at 'batik'. I probably need to take Malay and Javanese words together indeed. However, 'batik' is only stressed on the first syllable from the 4th to the 14th editions of the English Pronouncing Dictionary ; final stress seems to be recent.

    Do you confirm that 'pengguling' and 'gurami' too are stressed on the penult ? I'm asking because 'pangolin' for instance used to be stressed only on the first syllable in English while penult stress looks like a more recent development. If they are stressed on the first syllable indeed, could you tell me if any syllables are pronounced with the schwa sound ?

    Thanks again !
     

    entangledbank

    Senior Member
    English - South-East England
    Yes, 'pengguling' and 'gurami', they're all penultimate. Schwa is a good point, however. That's the one exception. The letter <e> can represent either /e/ or schwa, and the standard orthography doesn't distinguish. Etymological or paedagogic sources might mark them as é and ĕ respectively. It's never stressed . . . hmmm . . . or is it? I was going to say a word like besar "big" is phonetically [bə'sar], and is in fact phonologically /bsar/: schwa only occurs where unpronounceable consonant clusters would otherwise occur (including initial glottal stop followed by any other, as in enam "six" [ʔə'nam]). But looking down a wordlist, I notice words with penultimate schwa that I'm inclined to stress: terbang "fly (v.)", dengan "with". Maybe I've just remembered them wrong from Indonesian classes of many years ago. However, whether I'm wrong or not, still the only exceptions I can think of to penultimate stress are those words like besar, enam where the stress is final.

    The first syllable of pengguling looks like a schwa-containing agent prefix of some verb guling.
     
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