*sarampang* 'to break'/'2-pronged barbed fishing spear'

Waruno Mahdi mahdi at FHI-Berlin.MPG.DE
Thu Nov 18 18:21:52 UTC 1999

> I was quite surprised to see this lexical word appear.  In Pendau (a
> language in the Tomini-Tolitoli group of Central Sulawesi, Indonesia) the
> word <sarampang> has a different meaning.  It means:  "a 2-pronged barbed
> fishing spear".

This is related to one of the meanings given in the KBBI (Kamus Besar
Bahasa Indonesia, the standard Indonesian Malay academic dictionary).
I had been a bit sleepy yesterday when simply clicking the "reply"
button of my mailer without paying attention to what mailing list this
was (I thought it had been Bahtera List, where all members are

Here are all the three entries for _serampang_ in the KBBI (translated):

serampang(1) - three-pronged spear as weapon or for catching fish;

serampang(2) [verb] 1. be caught (on a hook), snared, hooked (e.g. a kite
             in branches of a tree); 2. partition (cut into sections),
             stop, hold back (e.g. boat by sandbank);

serampang(3) - 1. throw (a rod, pole, spear) orientated perpendicular
             to direction of flight and approximately parallel to the
             the ground surface; 2. hit, strike, or attack in a careless,
             rough, thoughtless manner; 3. snatch, rob in a reckless

The meaning I gave yesterday, which seemed to match the Yokohama pidgin
item as far as I could see it, was meaning 2 in entry (3). Entry (1),
meanwhile, seems to match the Pendau item.

> Also I note in my dictionary database <sarapong> which means: "a 7-pronged
> barbless fishing spear".
> Also:  <paringa>  "3-pronged barbed fishing spear"

The wide use of multi-pronged spears in Sulawesi is very interesting of
course, particularly in context of the possible etymology of the island's

The standard term for "trident" in Indonesian Malay is _trisula_, a word
of Sanskrit origin (Sanskrit _tri_ "three", _SUla_ "roasting spit, spear"
where _S_ is _s_ with acute accent, _U_ is _u_ with macron). The second
component also exists as independent word _sula_ "sharp-pointed rod".
The name Sulawesi, and also that of the neighbouring smaller island
Sulabesi, therefore probably meant "iron spear" (_besi_ "iron" in Malay
with cognates in languages of West Indonesia and South Sulawesi, some
with initial _w_). A doublet of Sulawesi with _b_ for _w_, attested as
name of the neighbouring island, may perhaps have been the name, which
the Portuguese first heard as _Celebes_.

Sorry of this strays too far from the subject....

Regards,  Waruno

Waruno Mahdi                  tel:   +49 30 8413-5411
Faradayweg 4-6                fax:   +49 30 8413-3155
14195 Berlin                  email: mahdi at fhi-berlin.mpg.de
Germany                       WWW:   http://w3.rz-berlin.mpg.de/~wm/

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