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Malay: A short history

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  05 May 2015

K. Alexander Adelaar
Affiliation:
<s.adelaar@language.unimelb.edu.au>, Melbourne Institute of Asian Languages and Societies, The University of Melbourne, AUSTRALIA
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Abstract

This article follows the development of Malay from prehistorical times to the present. After a brief overview of the variety of languages in Southeast Asia and Oceania, the position of Malay within the Austronesian language family is discussed as well as the Malay homeland. The history of Malay is followed throughout its most important stages, from the period of the oldest written evidence in the late 7th century AD to the age of the Malaccan sultanate in the 15th-16th centuries, the colonial period in which Malay became the most important language in all domains of public life except in the highest echelons, and the present post-independence period in which Malay has become the national language in four states of Southeast Asia. Attention is also given to sociolinguistic differentiation, to foreign influences, to the engineering planning and manipulation of Malay in recent times and to its role as a vehicle for the spread of several religions and foreign (Indian, Mid-eastern, European) cultural influences.

Type
Part I. Historical Perspectives
Copyright
Copyright © Massey University - Treat as syndics title 1999

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