Language

The Oxford Dictionaries (2015). defined language as “The method of human communication, either spoken or written, consisting of the use of words in a structured and conventional way”. The McMillan Dictionary (2015) described language as a form of communication using spoken or written word that may contain signs, symbols, sounds, and other methods of communicating information, feelings, or ideas.

Language also become the means of communication to express observation, thoughts, feelings, needs, our identities, and as a mean of regulation and control in social interaction (A primer on communication studies, n.d.). It is necessary to use verbal and body language in communication to initiate conversation, to maintain or terminate interpersonal relationships with others. The interaction and communication may be used in face-to-face mode or via the computer-mediated communication technology.

Language encodes the culture, values and norm of the society, yet it is not static, it evolves over time due to the changing political and economic development, environment, technology, in contact with other cultural groups or language, embracing a religion outside their own culture, etc. The vocabulary expands by inventing new terminology, borrowed words from other languages, dropping certain words. This is necessary for the changing needs of the cultural group which may be very different from their ancestors.

For example, the Chinese characters evolved from pictographs to many different version such as the Oracle bone inscription, Small seal character, official script, the complex character in regular script, its strokes was then further simplified to the simplified character.

 Over the years, the Chinese characters had evolved through many different forms and and borrowed words from other languages. In other words, it is not static but changes in accordance with the trends and preferred living styles and values. (image credit:  AsianMinds.com. (2013). http://asiansmind.com/en/4-good-reasons-to-learn-chinese/)

It has borrowed words from other languages, which may be transcribed in the Chinese characters such as terminology related to politics (democracy民主), economics(capitalism资本主义), science and technology (batteries电池), etc. to enrich and expand its collection of vocabulary to fulfill the need to communicate changes and needs in the modern society.

Like the Chinese langugae, the Malay Language has also borrowed words from many foreign languages (Wikipedia, 2015):

  • the Portuguese language – bangku, bendera, garpu, pesta
  • Javanese – nusantara
  • Sanskrits – agama, anugerah, bakti, barat
  • Tamil – kapal, kota, wanita
  • Chinese language – kongsi, longkang, mi, teko
  • Arabic – abjad, dunia, khamis, korban
  • English – mesej, sistem, teknologi, teksi,  etc.

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