We’d like to start this article with a message that will baffle the living daylight out of you:
“mi, t g wet tew kt kite” – taken from Namee Roslan
Tak faham? Neither did this writer whose first language is BM. Yet we often find this style of writing on forums, blog comments, and that one family WhatsApp group that we can’t quit cause our cousins might think that we’re sombong.
Although we also do it in English, words in Bahasa tend to be longer hence their short-forms are also more pelik. And not only do the words get shortened; they also got modified, kawaii-fied, and extended to become longer than necessary, which often produce hilarious results.
Why can’t they just spell it out like any other law abiding citizen?
Cos hello… Remember when we used to send SMSes? With only 160 characters/SMS, we had to do all we could to save space. Even if it meant saying ‘k’, no matter how rude that sounded. But but, that still doesn’t explain words that are cut, butchered, chopped and diced like so:
Although those limited character days are way over, based on many papers done, this style of writing is done with the intention to look pretty instead of being practical. It is often used to express humour, intimacy, or creativity. Similar to the ‘I Cri Evrytiem’ meme:
It’s kinda like the texting version of menggedik or being lala – it’s cute when you do it to your loved ones, but annoying in public.
How do other Malays feel about these short-form language?
Y’all may think they love it, but not everyone is cool with it especially when SMS speak is taken to the extreme. Not to mention there’s also growing concern that this SMS language has seeped into the education system, where students have started using it in their exam papers:
According to a research done by University Kebangsaan Malaysia, this problem doesn’t just happen to school-going kids, but even among college/university students! Aiyoo. Even ex-DPM Muhyiddin voiced his concerns. Such reaction is echoed internationally, with research finding that Internet slang encourage children to spell wrongly as they don’t feel the need to correct typos, and they never question the true spelling of Internet words when they see one.
Is it something worth worrying about? Well… language evolves to accomodate the need of human expression at that particular time. Some new words, when deemed important enough to the culture, would be incorporated into the language just like what happened the inclusion of OMG, FYI, and the cry-laughing emoji in the Oxford dictionary.
Now take the quiz, smartypants!
Don’t forget to check out our kamus!
For those Malay SMS-speak that you still can’t understand, don’t worry. Click here for CILISOS’ ultimate glossary of BM SMS speak! You’re welcome!