Language Agency indexing Jambi Malay words

Language Agency indexing Jambi Malay words

A Language Agency staff speaks with Jambi Malay native speakers during an on-site observation in Merangin district, Jambi, earlier this year. The agency is aiming for the inclusion of one thousand native Jambi Malay words in the Great Dictionary of the Indonesian Language (KBBI) this year. (ANTARA/HO-Humas Badan Bahasa Jambi)

Jakata (ANTARA) - Jambi Province's Language Development and Fostering Agency has said that it is indexing Jambi Malay words so it can propose more words for inclusion in the Great Dictionary of the Indonesian Language (KBBI).

"Based on the KBBI V edition updated in April 2021, only 57 native Jambi Malay words were included on the dictionary despite more than thousands of words being proposed," the province's Language Agency Head Sukardi Gau said in a written statement released in Jakarta on Wednesday.

Reflecting on this issue, the agency needs to improve our language documentation process before proposing new words for inclusion in the KBBI, he said.

Gau said the indexing of words commenced in 2013, with the same goal, which is the inclusion of Jambi Malay words to the KBBI. For the Indonesian language dictionary update in 2021, the language office is targeting the inclusion of one thousand native Jambi Malay words, he informed.

"The Jambi's Language Agency has indexed around four thousand Jambi Malay words from 2013 until 2020," he added.

Observation work involving Jambi Malay native speakers in the Rantau Panjang region in Merangin District has helped the office collect around 350 words, he pointed out.

"Yet after the verification process, some vocabularies were eliminated because they had a similar definition with existing words in the KBBI," Gau said.

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Besides relying on on-site observation, the language office team is also considering written sources to achieve the documentation target of 1,050 unique and native terms on marriage, birth, death, harvest, folk games, house utensils, activities, culinary, and traditions in Jambi Malay, he disclosed.

The Language Agency has discovered a large pool of new vocabularies through observation, collecting mostly culture-specific words, with a smaller percentage of words describing daily activities, Gau informed.

"This is because most vocabularies have their equivalent in the Indonesian language. Cultural terms dominated our language indexing works because it has unique concept and definition," he noted.

Despite being culture-specific, it is possible for a word to find its way to the KBBI if it has a unique definition not found in the Indonesian language, he said.

"Defining a word should be based on clear and detailed information to help language speakers comprehend the word meaning. A photograph could be provided and vocabulary sources should be indicated if more information is needed," Gau added. 

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