Kupang Malay Online Dictionary


The documentation of Kupang Malay is a work-in-progress being carried out under the Language and Culture Unit (UBB-GMIT), Kupang. The current version has over 3,350 headwords and includes homonyms, subentries, multiple senses, lexical relations, example sentences, as well as illustrative photographs and drawings. The lexicon was compiled in Toolbox following the MDF conventions (Coward and Grimes 1995), and ported over to Lexique Pro. As a work-in-progress, some of the entries are more reliable than others.

Copyright ©2000, 2003, 2008 UBB-GMIT, Kupang. Email: ubb-gmit@kastanet.org.

ISBN: 978-1-86892-594-0

Compilers: Charles E. Grimes, Ph.D. (Linguistics, Research School of Pacific and Asian Studies, Australian National University; and SIL International) and June Jacob, M.A. (Universitas Kristen Artha Wacana). June Jacob is a native speaker of Kupang Malay.

Contributers: Rev. Max Jacob, M.Th. (deceased); Barbara Dix Grimes, Ph.D.; Rev. Erasmus Zacharias; Rev. Adriana Dukabain-Tunliu, M.T.S.

Another 242 native speakers, both male and female, old and young, educated and uneducated, from a variety of ethnic backgrounds have given feedback on meaning and usage.

Photographs: Charles E. Grimes, David Glasgow, Benjamin Grimes, Geoff Hall, Barbara D. Grimes, Maryanne Cameron, Hendrik Therik, Bill Wells, Kirsten Leslie. [TIP: to see the pictures more clearly, click on them once.]

Drawings: Sandra Wimbish.

Kupang—a Malay-based creole

The Kupang language (Ethnologue/ISO code mkn) is a Malay-based creole spoken by as many as 200,000 native speakers in and around the city of Kupang, West Timor. There may be up to an additional 100,000 second language speakers. The lexicon, phonology, and grammar of Kupang have all calqued on local languages in significant ways (see references). As a stygmatised Malay-based creole in contact with a standard or official variety of Malay (Indonesian), speakers of Kupang Malay function in a post-creole continuum. Some speakers can function fully in the High (Indonesian), and some of them have worked very hard to be able to do so. Therefore it is not surprising that some of these view Kupang Malay as “bad” Indonesian and do not feel it should be given any legitimacy in society, in education, in government, or in the church. Many speakers mix Indonesian and Kupang Malay, and can't always tell you which language or register they are using. Some of these, including many university students in Kupang, think they are targetting formal Indonesian, but do it imperfectly and are often scorned by those who control Indonesian better. Typical of the dynamics experienced by creole speakers around the world, thousands of speakers of Kupang Malay have limited proficiency in formal Indonesian. This fact is often not recognised by decision makers, and thus government and church policies, dissemination of important information, health education, and education in general are not taking advantage of lessons learned around the world for these situations. Nevertheless local radio programs, a regular newspaper column (Tapaleuk), clever signs on public transport and in commercial advertisements, plus the recent publication of the Kupang New Testament, all indicate the strength of the social and linguistic identification with Kupang Malay.

Some statistics on the Lexicon of Kupang Malay

As a work-in-progress there are many words not yet included in this online dictionary. A snapshot of statistics at 3,200 headwords reveals some interesting things about the language. In compiling the dictionary so far, we have been concentrating more on cataloging differences between Kupang and Indonesian. Nevertheless 19% of 3200 headwords are exactly the same as standard Indonesian. Other interesting statistics are as follows:

·     55% of 3200 Kupang headwords are very different from standard Indonesian.

·     26% of 3200 Kupang headwords are similar to standard Indonesian words, but there are slight differences in its pronunciation, its spelling, its behaviour in the grammar, its use, or its range of meaning.

·     11% of 3200 Kupang headwords are idioms that reflect figurative meanings.

·     54% of 3200 Kupang headwords are composed of a single words.

·     36% of 3200 Kupang headwords are composed of phrasal lexemes (two or more words).

·     24% of 3200 Kupang headwords are borrowing from other languages (other than Malay or Indonesian).

·     10% of 3200 Kupang headwords are borrowed from Rote languages.

·     8% of 3200 Kupang headwords are borrowed from Dutch.

·     1% of 3200 Kupang headwords are borrowed from Portuguese.

·     7% of 3200 Kupang headwords have variant forms in Kupang (e.g. batong ~ botong).

Untuk melihat informasi yang lebih lengkap dalam bahasa Indonesia, harap membaca Kamus Pengantar Bahasa Kupang (Jacob dan Grimes, 2003).

Last updated: 10 April 2008

Some references for further study

Coward, David F. and Charles E. Grimes. 1995, 2000. Making dictionaries: a guide to lexicography and the Multi-Dictionary Formatter. Waxhaw: Summer Institute of Linguistics.               www.sil.org/computing/shoebox/mdf.html

Grimes, Barbara D. 2005. How Bad Indonesian becomes Good Kupang Malay: Articulating Regional Autonomy in West Timor. Paper presented at Anthropology Symposium, Universitas Indonesia, Jakarta, 12-15 July 2005.

Grimes, Charles E. 1996. Indonesian – the official language of a multilingual nation. In S.A Wurm, Peter Mühlhäusler dan Darrell Tryon, eds. Atlas of languages of intercultural communication in the Pacific, Asia, and the Americas. Trends in Linguistics, Documentation 13. Berlin: Mouton de Gruyter. pp. 719–727.

Grimes, Charles E., Tom Therik, Barbara Dix Grimes, and Max Jacob. 1997. A guide to the people and languages of Nusa Tenggara. Paradigma B–1. Kupang: Artha Wacana Press.

Jacob, June. 2001a. A sociolinguistic profile of Kupang Malay, a creole spoken in west Timor, eastern Indonesia. Paper for the degree of Master of Applied Linguistics. Faculty of Science, Information Technology and Education, Northern Territory University, Darwin, Australia.

———. 2001b. Kupang Malay Creole: The case for its use in bilingual education. Paper for the degree of Master of Applied Linguistics. Faculty of Science, Information Technology and Education, Northern Territory University, Darwin, Australia.

———. 2007. The grammatical functions of ko, deng, and pung in Kupang Malay. Paper presented at the 5th International East Nusantara Linguistics Conference held in Kupang, 1-3 August 2007.

Jacob, June, and Barbara D. Grimes. 2006. Developing a role for Kupang Malay: the contemporary politics of an eastern Indonesian creole. Paper presented by June Jacob at the 10th International Conference on Austronesian Linguistics held in Puerto Princesa, Palawan, Philippines, January 2006. [available online at:       www.sil.org/asia/philippines/ical/papers/Jacob-Grimes%20Kupang%20Malay.pdf ]

Jacob, June, and Charles E. Grimes, compilers. 2003. Kamus Pengantar Bahasa Kupang. Second edition. Kupang: Artha Wacana Press.

Jacob, June, and Charles E. Grimes. 2005. Aspect and directionality in Kupang Malay serial verb constructions. Paper presented by June Jacob at the 4th International East Nusantara Linguistics Conference held in Leiden, 30 June & 1 July 2005.

Moeliono, Anton, dan Charles E. Grimes. 1995. Indonesian introduction. Dalam Darrell Tryon, ed. Comparative Austronesian Dictionary: an introduction to Austronesian studies. 4 Parts. Trends in Linguistics, Documentation 10. Berlin: Mouton de Gruyter. Part 1, Fascicle 1:443–457.

Mühlhäusler, Peter. 1986. Pidgin and Creole linguistics. Oxford: Basil Blackwell.

Pidgins and Creoles in Education (PACE) Newsletter. University of Hawai'i.               (www.hawaii.edu/spcl03/pace/ )

Siegel, J. 2006. Keeping creoles out of the classroom: Is it justified? In Shondel Nero (ed.), Dialects, Englishes, creoles, and education. Mahwah, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum, 39-67

Siegel, J. 2006. Empowering speakers of understardized varieties. In Albert Weideman and Birgit Smieja (eds), Empowerment through languages and education. Frankfurt: Peter Lang, 21-40. 

Siegel, J. 2005. Literacy in pidgin and creole languages. Current Issues in Language Planning 6(3).

Siegel, J. 2002. Pidgins and creoles. In R. Kaplan (ed.), Handbook of Applied Linguistics. New York: Oxford University Press, 335-351.

Siegel, J. 2001. Pidgins, creoles and minority dialects in education. In R. Mesthrie (ed.), Concise encyclopedia of sociolinguistics. Oxford: Elsevier Science, 747-49.

Siegel, J. 1997. Mixing, Levelling and pidgin/creole development. In A. Spears and D. Winford (eds.), The structure and status of pidgins and creoles. Amsterdam: John Benjamins, 111-49.

Siegel, J. 1993. Pidgins and creoles in education in Australia and the southwest Pacific. In F. Byrne and J. Holms (eds), The Atlantic meets the Pacific: a global view of pidginization and creolization. Amsterdam: John Benjamins, 299-308.

Sneddon, James Neil. 1996. Indonesian reference grammar. Sydney: Allen & Unwin.

Thomason, Sarah Grey, dan Terrence Kaufman. 1988. Language contact, Creolization, and genetic linguistics. Berkeley: University of California Press.

Unit Bahasa dan Budaya. 2007. Tuhan Allah pung Janji Baru: bahasa Kupang. Kupang: UBB-GMIT. (www.e-alkitab.org)