1. The forums will be closed for a major forum upgrade for around 2-4 hours on Sunday, starting around noon US Eastern Time (GMT -4, 18:00 in most of Europe). Details
    Dismiss Notice

Origins of the Afrikaans word "baie" - Is it Malay?

Discussion in 'Etymology, History of languages, and Linguistics (EHL)' started by Khalo, Jan 11, 2009.

  1. Khalo

    Khalo Member

    South Africa/Afrikaans

    Baie: English - Very, Many, Much

    My friend and I were chatting in Afrikaans and he suddenly said that the 'baie' is a strange word - and I agreed.
    As far as I know Dutch will use 'veel' or 'vele' - A quick Google search let me to the conclusion that it originated from the Malay word 'banja'.
    I wondered if anyone can verify it?

    The question about "piesang" surely is an interesting one, but please limit yourself to one topic per thread. Thanks.
    Frank, Moderator EHL

    Many Thanks
    Last edited by a moderator: Jan 12, 2009
  2. Joannes Senior Member

    Belgian Dutch
    (There's still hoeveel, soveel, nie veel nie, isn't there? :))

    Anyway, baie was borrowed from Malay, yes. There used to work many slaves from the East at the Cape. They spoke Malay, either being a native or using it as lingua franca. (Portuguese was another lingua franca among slaves, that's why there are also quite some Portuguese loans in Afrikaans.)
  3. Khalo

    Khalo Member

    South Africa/Afrikaans
    I was wondering what the original Malay word was - and if the meaning is still pretty much the same in Malay.
    I found on Wikiwoordeboek that the spelling of baie up to 1909 was baing.

    Yes, the variations on the Dutch word 'veel' is still present in Afrikaans.

    - How much/many (from Dutch)
    baie - Much/Many, etc. (from malay)
    te veel - Too much/many (from Dutch, strangely, I'll never use 'te baie' for 'too much')
    meer/meeste - more/most (I guess from English)
  4. Joannes Senior Member

    Belgian Dutch
    The original word is banja(k). I don't know how it is used nowadays, but I do know that terima kasih banyak in Indonesian means 'baie dankie'. (Malay and Indonesian are very similar.)

    I don't know about <baing>, but I'm sure <banje> was used in written language at one time.

    Meer, meest(e) is hoe we 'more, most' zeggen in het Nederlands. ;)

    In Dutch, there's a difference between veel 'many, much' and heel 'very' (while baie does both). Are there contexts in which you would use heel in Afrikaans?
  5. Khalo

    Khalo Member

    South Africa/Afrikaans
    Thanks Joannes,

    So the degrees of comparison are from Dutch (meer/meeste).

    I would say the use of 'heel' as 'very' is rare, but it does occur; I can think of:
    "Het jy die partytjie geniet?" Did you enjoy the party?
    "Ja, dit was heel lekker.' Yes, it was nice/OK.

    Note the difference between 'baie lekker' and 'heel lekker' - I would say 'heel lekker' is not as good as 'baie lekker'.

    And so I discover new things about the language everyday - thanks.
  6. putih New Member

    malay & indonesian

    Im a native speaker of Malay and Indonesian and came across this article. When a western person try to spell Malay or Indonesian language, I found it to be spelled in a different variation all the time (reading 19th century books on Malay sultanate written by British subjects).

    Let me start with Baie. Baie or Bai ey (spealling differs to individual listeners). It simply means Good. Modern spelling is Baik. However it could be spelled Baie also if we listen to few Indonesian dialects today especially from Eastern Java. Baie or Baik is used in a sentence like "Kamu baik?" meaning Are you good? or "Cuaca Baik/Baie" meaning good weather. "Baik-Baik aja" meaning All good.

    . It derives from Manja. Means pampered. Origin Malay and Indonesian. Used like "Anak manja" meaning pampered/spoil child.

    I hope it helps. :)
  7. putih New Member

    malay & indonesian
    In addition to the last post.

    'veel' or vele'. I have never heard of veel but vele comes from the word boleh. In Indian dialects boleh could sound like vele (spoken locally). Boleh/Vele means Able/Can do. Used in a sentence. Boleh ke tak? Means Can or not?

  8. asanga Member

    Baie definitely comes from Malay banyak "much, many", not baik "good". In modern Malay/Indonesian spelling, ny is the palatal nasal [ɲ], and final -k is the glottal stop [ʔ]. Old Dutch-based spelling had nj for [ɲ], and often ignored the final glottal stop, giving the spelling banja.

    In Arabic-Afrikaans it was written as بَیَاڠْ baiaang, leading to the pre-1909 spelling baing. See Abu Bakr Effendi's Uiteensetting van die godsdiens from 1877, where baiaang occurs many times:


    Dutch also has a noun banjer and verb banjeren derived from Malay banyak:


    veel and vele are both indigenous Dutch words, ultimately descended from Proto-Indo-European *pelh₁-.
  9. ancalimon Senior Member


Share This Page