Origins of Indonesian `bahwa'

Waruno Mahdi mahdi at
Thu Mar 2 13:28:34 UTC 2000

> of the modern Indonesian word bahwa (which is generally understood to
> introduce certain types of complement clauses).  Two references I have
> checked claim it is from Sanskrit, but neither gives the Sanskrit root
> from which it is allegedly derive.

Malay _bahwa_ < Sanskrit _bhAva_ "being, state" [_A_ = long "a"/with macron]

     (Casparis, J.G. de, 1997, Sanskrit Loan-Words in Indonesian,
      NUSA vol. 41. Jakarta: Badan Penyelenggara Seri NUSA Universitas
      Katolik IndonesiaAtma Jaya;  see there p. 11)

My small Sanskrit-German dictionary I have at hand (Mylius, 1975; my big
Monier-Williams is at home) confirms the Sanskrit as:

_bhAva_ - 1. Werden (the coming to be), Entstehen (id.), Geburt (birth);
          2. Übergehen [in] (transition/transformation [into])
             Werden [zu] (the becoming [smthg]);
          3. Sein (the being [smthg]),
             [realer] Zustand ([actual] state of being);
          4. Betragen (behaviour), Verhalten (id.);
          5. Gesinnung (mental conviction), Gemüt (emotional state);
          6. Liebe (affection), Neigung (inclination, favour),
          7. Voraussetzung (precondition);
          8. Ding (thing), Wesen (a being, creature);
          9. Herr (master), kluger Mann (wise/sensible man);
         10. übermenschliche Kraft (superhuman strength);
         11. Schicksal (fate)

German is a very philosophical language, and I hope you know enough
German not to have to rely on my parenthetized glosses.....

Aloha,  Waruno

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