This book is not only a history of the Malay language, but a comprehensive step-by-step guide on learning the tongue in 40 lessons from the very basic to an intermediate level, with a vocabulary list of well over 3000 words. It will be useful to anyone who wants to learn to speak Malay in a short period. The author uses the old spelling system. Example, a mouse deer will be spelt "kanchil" (and pronounced as it's spelt), whereas the new spelling is "kancil" which would leave many visitors wondering if it should rhyme with "cancel"! (However, if one is interested in reading or writing Malay, one would need a tutor).
Malaysians, too, would find this book useful. Many surprises here.
[Detail of a Kerinci Rencong manuscript (cover) (KITLV Or. 239), written in Malay with local language (Kerinci) influence, possibly pre-Islamic. The text reads (Voorhoeve’s spelling): “haku manangis ma / njaru ka’u ka’u di / saru tijada da / tang [hitu hadik sa]”, which is translated by Voorhoeve as: “I am weeping, calling you; though called, you do not come” (hitu adik sa- is the rest of 4th line). Rencong alphabet, (was a) snative writing systems found in Malay Peninsula, central and South Sumatra.]
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