*serampan* in Yokohama Pidgin English

Daniel Long dlong at bcomp.metro-u.ac.jp
Fri Nov 19 13:42:10 UTC 1999

Since I have received numerous helpful replies on *serampang* (including some
indicating that the word is common in contact varieties), I wanted to give some
additional examples of the way the word was used in the late 19th century
Yokohama Pidgin.

'a lighthouse'
*fooney high kin serampan nigh rosokoo*
fune     haiken   serampang nai roosoku
ship      see      crash        not candle

'Where is the nearest lighthouse?'
Jiggy jiggy fo'oney high kin serampan nai rosokoo doko?
<jiki??        fune    haiken   serampang nai roosoko doko
quick        ship     see      crash        not  candle  where
(Differing spellings of "nai/nigh")

All words except "serampan" are (probably) Japanese or at least originate in
Japanese.  There are other words in the pidgin from English, French, Chinese
and (via maritime slang) Hindi.

cheese eye serampan
chiisai        serampang
small        spear

This seems to relate to the noun meaning 'spear', in Indonesian languages.
Danny Long

> Serampang(3) - 1. .....; 2. [colloquial] memukul (menyerang) dsb. dng.
>     sembarangan saja; merambang (mengawur): _pikir dulu, jangan asal
>     serampang saja_; .....
> It means "to hit, strike, or attack in a careless, rough, thoughtless
> manner". It is colloquial, and a frequently used feature of Bazaar
> Malay, also of that Malay spoken by foreigners, particularly also
> of Dutch Malay (i.e. colloquial Malay as spoken by Dutch and
> Eurasian people during the period before independence). It is one
> of the numerous Malayisms occuring in Indo Dutch (i.e. in colloquial
> Dutch as spoken by Dutch people or Eurasians who had lived in
> Indonesia for a long time).
> Waruno Mahdi

Daniel Long, Associate Professor     tel  +81-426-77-2184
Japanese Language and Literature Dept.    fax  +81-426-77-2140
Tokyo Metropolitan University
1-1 Minami Osawa, Hachioji-shi, Tokyo  192-0397 Japan
mailto:dlong at bcomp.metro-u.ac.jp

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