A guide to the lan­guage, from as­sal to tremah

Weekend Argus (Saturday Edition) - - NEWS - FA­TIMA SCHROEDER

THE Malay peo­ple of Cape Town have their own unique ver­nac­u­lar – a com­bi­na­tion of Malaysian and In­done­sian words with a slight Afrikaans twist.

Many have been de­rived from Ara­bic words.

While the use of most of these terms and phrases has died out over the past two to three decades, the oc­ca­sional Cape Malay word some­times creeps into con­ver­sa­tions to­day.

How­ever, their true mean­ings are rarely un­der­stood. Here is a list of some of the most com­monly-used terms: As­sal – lin­eage. Bang – the call to prayer. Bappa – grand­fa­ther. Barakat – a par­cel of treats. Batcha – to re­cite in Ara­bic. Be­hangsels – cur­tains and bed­ding in the bridal cham­ber.

Bek­end maak – to per­son­ally in­vite peo­ple to a wed­ding. Boeka – the break­ing of the fast. Boeta/ boeya – el­der.

Das – a lec­ture (de­rived from the Ara­bic word dars). Doep­maal – name-giv­ing cer­e­mony. Faam maak – to mem­o­rise or to be­come flu­ent in. Ge­lamba – en­gaged. Giena – henna (a sub­stance used to stain nails). Hoe faa – How are you? Ja­mang – toi­let. Kalam – a wooden de­vice used to point at words when learn­ing the Qu'ran. Ka­parangs – wooden clogs. Kiefait klops – burial so­ci­ety. Labarang – Eid. Manie or mandie – a rit­ual bath. Miedourah – dec­o­ra­tive scarf which is pinned to form a bridal head gear. Mies­fal – a less dec­o­ra­tive scarf. Myang – in­cense. Pwasa – to fast. Sa­jie – the prepa­ra­tion of food. Soem­bain – to pray. Tapyt – a prayer mat. Tawetjie – spe­cial oc­ca­sion garb. Tremah kasih – Thank You. Tremah kasih vir Al­lah – Thank Al­lah (a re­sponse to Tremah kasih).

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