AWEJ for Translation & Literary Studies, Volume 5, Number4. October  2021                                    Pp.109-139

Distorted and Limiting Semantically Divergent Translated Meaning of Arabic Loanwords in the Malay Language as Educational Instrument

Section of Islamic Studies, School of Humanities
Universiti Sains Malaysia, Penang, Malaysia

Section of Islamic Studies, School of Humanities
Universiti Sains Malaysia, Penang, Malaysia

English Language Department, Preparatory Year
Najran University, Najran, Saudi Arabia
English Language Studies Department, School of Humanities, Universiti Sains Malaysia, Penang, Malaysia


Historically, the language contact contributed by Muslim preachers among the Arab traders of diverse origins that some of them opted to migrate and intermarry with the local Malays, thus, intermingled with the locals that had influenced the Malay/Malaysian language to borrow more Arabic words. Some semantic properties of the loanwords are adopted, but some are adapted. This study concerns with the divergent meaning of some adapted ones. 18 Malay-Arabic homophonous loanwords were purposely sampled – (the limited sample is due to the journal words limit). It is observed that despite of their similar utterance and spelling/transliteration but they have partially or fully dissimilar meanings when being compared between the two languages. Generally, it may confuse users of both languages, specifically the Arabian students who are compulsory to pass the Malay language in order to pass their study in Malaysia as well as Malay students who are studying in Arabian countries. Moreover, it may affect their meaning in the Malay translation for the Holy Qur’an/Prophetic Tradition (Hadith). So, it is essential to engage academics of the Islamic studies, and the Malay-Arabic linguists alike with the crucial issue stemmed from the bilingual mastery level that involved both languages departing from the rising movement of re-examining and re-envision criticality in language studies. Henceforth, the Malaysian Muslim society could dynamically develop further ahead after more than 10 centuries exposed to the Arabic language rather than being stagnant in minimalism evermore.

Cite as:

Abas, N. A., Sahad, M. N., &  Abusahyon, A. S.  (2021). Distorted and Limiting Semantically Divergent Translated Meaning of Arabic Loanwords in the Malay Language as Educational Instrument. Arab World English Journal for Translation & Literary Studies 5 (4) 109-139.  DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.24093/awejtls/vol5no4.9


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Nur Afifah binti Abas is a postgraduate student of the Humanities School at the Universiti Sains Malaysia.   She  holds BA and MA  degrees in Islamic Revealed Knowledge and Heritage   from the International Islamic University Malaysia (IIUM). Orcid: https://orcid.org/ 0000-0001-7087-4908

Dr. Mohd Nizam bin Sahad is an associate professor of the Islamic Studies, School of Humanities at Universiti Sains Malaysia. He got his Ph.D. from Universiti Malaya (UM) in Malaysia in the Fundamentals of Religion (Usuluddin). His research interests are related to Islamic Creed (Aqidah), Islamic Thoughts & Religion and Society. Orcid: https://orcid.org/0000-0001-5002-8827

Alia Sa’ad Eldin Abusahyon is a senior lecturer of the English Language Department, Preparatory Year College at Najran University  for the last 6 years. She is also a postgraduate student in the Department of Languages, Literacies and Translation, School of Humanities at Universiti Sains Malaysia. Previously she graduated from Yarmuk University in Jordan. Orcid: https://orcid.org/0000-0003-0254-248X