JUDUL: USAGE OF VOWELS- Speak & Write Malay - Lesson 4


There appears to be some misunderstanding on the use of "Double Vowels"; so to say. Perhaps this explanation will clear the doubts.
First and foremost one should remember that in Bahasa Melayu (Indonesia) there are  no accentuating marks used in writing. Hence the pronunciation is based on how it is normally spoken.

Vowel A - in open syllables is pronounced like the "a" in "FAST"
                  "KATA" Word
                  "BISA" Can
        "BARU" New
                  "ADA"           Is/Have

  - in closed syllables it sounds like "u" in "CUT"
 "DEKAT" Near
       "SURAT" Letter
 "TIDAK" Not/No
               "TEBAL"           Thick

Vowel E - when unstressed is pronounced as "e" in "OPEN"
 "BESAR" Big/Large
 "DEPAN" Front
"MENTAH" Unripe
"DEKAT" Near

- when stressed it sounds between the "e" in "LED" and the "a" in "SAD"
"MEJA" Table
"BEDA" Different
"KEMEJA" Shirt
"MERDEKA" Freedom

Note: in KEMEJA & MERDEKA the first "e" is unstressed and the second "e" is stressed.
Vowel I - in open syllables is pronounced like the "ee" in "FEET"

  "IBU" Mother
  "HARI" Day
  "BIBI" Aunt
   "KITA" We
  - in closed syllables it sounds like "i" in "KISS"
    "MINTA" To ask for something
    "AIR" Water
    "BIBIT" Seed
    "SYAIR" Poem/Lyrics

Vowel O - is pronounced as "a" in "CALL" or as "o" in "BODY"
    "BOTOL" Bottle
     "KOSONG" Empty
      "POHON" Tree
      "ROTI" Bread

Vowel U - is pronounced as "oo" in "FOOT"
      "PUTIH" White
      "SUSU" Milk
      "ATUR" To arrange
      "SUMUR" Well

Dear Readers, you will hopefully understand why double vowels are not necessary when writing in Bahasa. Since we only learned our Ceylon/Sri Lanka Malay verbally/orally we tend to write the way we spoke; and the way we heard it. Example being "APA'  which we heard and spoke as AAPA ITU - What is that?. It should be written correctly as APA  ITU.
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