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EarlyvocabulariesofMalayAsianandAfricanstudiesblog

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03April2015

EarlyvocabulariesofMalay
AmongtheMalaymanuscriptsintheBritishLibrarywhichhavejustbeen
digitisedareanumberofvocabularylistsanddictionariesinMalay,compiled
byvisitorstotheregionasaidstolearningthelanguage.ThestudyofMalayin
EuropedatesbacktotheveryfirstvoyagestoSoutheastAsiainthe16th
century,forMalayfunctionedasthelinguafrancaforthewholeofthe
archipelago,andwasanessentialbusinesstoolforbothmerchantsinsearch
ofspicesandmissionariesinsearchofsouls.

MapshowingthelandswheretheMalaylanguagewasused,fromThomas
Bowrey,AdictionaryEnglishandMalayo,MalayoandEnglish(London,1701).
BritishLibrary,68.c.12
TheearliestMalaybookprintedinEuropeisaMalayDutchvocabularyby
FrederickdeHoutman,publishedinAmsterdamin1603,andanEnglish
versionofthisDutchworkbecamethefirstMalaybookprintedinBritainin
1614.Howeveritwasonlyin1701thatthefirstoriginalMalayEnglish
dictionarywasprintedinLondon,theworkofThomasBowrey(ca.1650
1713),anEastIndiaCompanyseacaptain,whoexplainedinthePrefacethe
urgentneedforsuchapublication:IfindingsoveryfewEnglishMenthat
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haveattainedanytollerableKnowledgeoftheMalayoTongue,soabsolutely
necessarytotradeinthoseSouthernSeas,andthatthereisnoBookofthis
kindpublishedinEnglishtohelptheattainingofthatLanguageThese
Considerations,Isay,hasimboldenedmetoPublishtheinsuingDictionary
(Bowrey1701).AdraftmanuscriptversionofBowreysdictionary(MSSEur
A33),inhisownhandandprobablydatingfromthelate17thcentury,hasjust
beendigitised.ItisprobablytheveryvolumewhichBowreymentionsinthe
dedicationofhispublication,TotheHonourabletheDirectorsoftheEnglish
EastIndiaCompany:ThefollowingWorkwasundertakenChieflyforthe
PromotionofTradeinthemanyCountrieswheretheMalayoLanguageis
Spoke,whichyourHonourshavingperusedinManuscript,werepleasedto
approveofandtoIncouragethePublishingofit

ThomasBowreysautographdraftofhisMalayEnglishdictionary.British
Library,MSSEurA33,pp.67
AfterBowreyspioneeringwork,itwasnotuntilthelate18thcenturythat
BritishstudiesofMalaydevelopedinearnest,throughtheeffortsofthe
EnlightenmentgroupofcolonialscholaradministratorssuchasWilliam
Marsden,JohnLeyden,JohnCrawfurdandThomasStamfordRaffles.The
polyglotLeydengatheredtogetheravastarrayoflinguisticmaterials,some
compiledinhisownhand(Or.15936)andothersacquiredfromdifferent
sources(MSSMalayF.2).Rafflestoocollectedvocabulariesfromalloverthe
archipelago,includingaMalaywordlist(MSSEurE110)whichappearstobe
inthehandofhisPenangscribeIbrahimthisvolumeisespeciallyvaluablefor
alsocontaininganearlyregisterofinhabitantsofPenang,listedbystreet
name,withdetailsoforigin,occupation,andfamilymembers.Rafflesalso
obtainedmanuscriptsasgifts,includingaMalayJavaneseMadurese
vocabulary(MSSMalayA.3)fromhisgoodfriendPangeranSutaAdiningrat
ofMadura.Finally,anEnglishMalayvocabulary(MSSEurB37)isof
unknownoriginbutincludesattheendhospitallistsoftreatmentwithmany
Indiannamessuchas'Singh',suggestingtheownermighthavebeena
medicalofficerintheIndianarmyorofanIndianregimentinSoutheastAsia.

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AvocabularyofDutch,English,Malay(Jawiscript)andMalay(romanised
script),provisionallydatedtothe18thcenturyonthebasisoftheDutchand
RomanisedMalayhandwriting.BritishLibrary,MSSMalayF2,p.4(detail)

VocabularyofThaiandMalay,compiledbyJohnLeyden,early19thc.British
Library,Or.15936,f.69v(detail)

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FinalpageofaMalayJavaneseMaduresevocabulary,early19thc.British
Library,MSSMalayA3,f.113v(detail)

OpeningpagesofaMalayEnglishvocabulary,withonthelefthandpagethe
variantforms(isolated,initial,medialandfinal)oftheJawialphabet,early19th
c.,Rafflescollection.BritishLibrary,MSSEurE110,pp.23

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Early19thcenturyregisteroftheinhabitantsinLoveLane,Penang,includinga
PortuguesefishermanandhisfamilyoftenfromJunkCeylon(UjungSalang,
orPhuket),whocametotheislandwithMrLight,i.e.FrancisLight,in1786.
BritishLibrary,MSSEurE110,f.147r(detail)

EnglishMalayvocabulary,19thcentury.MSSEurB37,f.1v(detail)
ThesemanuscriptsjointhreeotherMalayvocabulariesdigitisedlastyear,
andarelistedbelowinapproximatechronologicalorder.ManyotherMalay
manuscriptvocabularylistsareheldintheBritishLibrary,oftencomprisingonly
afewpageswithinlargervolumes,butallaredetailedinarecentlypublished
catalogue(Ricklefs,Voorhoeve&Gallop2014).
DigitisedMalaymanuscriptvocabulariesintheBritishLibrary:
Add.7043,MalaygrammarandvocabularybyWilliamMainstone,1682,
copiedbyJohnHindley,early19thc.
MSSEurA33,MalayEnglishdictionary,byThomasBowrey,late17thc.
Egerton933,TwoMalayvocabularies,1731andearly19thc.
MSSMalayF.2,DutchEnglishMalayvocabulary,ca.18thc.,Leyden
collection.
Or.15936,VariousMalayvocabularies,early19thc.,Leydencollection.
MSSEurE110,MalayEnglishvocabulary,early19thc.,Rafflescollection.
MSSMalayA.3,MalayJavaneseMaduresevocabulary,early19thc.,Raffles
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collection.
Or.4575,FrenchMalayvocabulary,early19thc.
MSSEurB37,EnglishMalayvocabulary,19thc.
Furtherreading
FrederickdeHoutman,SpraekendeWoordboekindeMalayscheende
MadagaskarscheTalen(Amsterdam,1603).BritishLibrary,C.71.a.32
AugustusSpalding,DialoguesintheEnglishandMalaianelanguages
(London,1614).BritishLibrary,C.33.b.41
ThomasBowrey,AdictionaryEnglishandMalayo,MalayoandEnglish
(London,1701).BritishLibrary,68.c.12.DigitisedversionfromtheNational
LibraryofSingapore.
AnnabelTehGallop,EarlyMalayprinting16031900.Anexhibitioninthe
BritishLibrary20Januaryto4June1989.
M.C.Ricklefs,P.VoorhoeveandAnnabelTehGallop,Indonesianmanuscripts
inGreatBritain:acatalogueofmanuscriptsinIndonesianlanguagesinBritish
publiccollections.NewEditionwithAddendaetCorrigenda.Jakarta:Ecole
franaisedExtrmeOrient,PerpustakaanNasionalRepublikIndonesia,
YayasanPustakaOborIndonesia,2014.
AnnabelTehGallop,LeadCurator,SoutheastAsia
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PostedbyAnnabelGallopat2:58PM

Tags
Digitisation,Indonesia,Javanese,Languagestudies,Malay,Printing,
SouthEastAsia

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