Waruno Mahdi mahdi at
Tue Apr 23 09:22:48 UTC 2002

> in what language is the following sentence, which shows
> up in Andrew Marvell's Rehearsal Transpros'd (1672) as a gibe at Samuel
> Parker: "O Seytang Aurang Olanda bacalay Samatay."?


this is the Malay of 17th century Dutch missionary translators
working in Ambon and other parts of East Indonesia, as identifiable
e.g. from the Malay dictionary of Caspar Wiltens & Sebastiaen
Danckaerts of 1623, and also from S. Danckaert's catechism translations
of the same year. This Malay also featured occasional shift of final
dental nasal to velar (hence, seytang = setan 'devil').

The representation of o in Olanda 'Dutch' as au or aw was very frequent,
conditioned by the Jawi-script spelling with the wau-character (which
also spelled -au, [-]wa-, [-]u-). Belanda < Walanda too is the result
of such a misreading (the immediate etymon is Portuguese Hollanda
'Dutch [feminine]' that is pronounced with mute H).

bacalay = berkelahi 'fight'.

samatay could be sampai mati 'to the death', but that final -ay < -i is
unusual (though not 100% impossible). Also, the Ambon Malay tendency to
apocopate the final syllable in auxiliaries etc, was not yet so evident
in the 17th century. From a purely sound-correspondence point of view it
seems to reflect = sama tahi 'with shit'. So, depending on the context,
the sentence could perhaps mean 'the Dutch devils fight to the death',
but perhaps '...fight with shit'.  In either case, the fellow seems to
have carried around some grievances over some Dutch people he perhaps
met at an inopportune moment....

Aloha,   Waruno

More information about the An-lang mailing list