Awang Goneng: Extremely Words
rice note: a schoolmate of mine wrote me a rare email yesterday, enquiring if I would be heading back to Terengganu for the Raya.
Of course, I will be heading back! It’s really irritating when people ask me that, as if their picture of me doesn’t allow for visions of baju melayu and songkok. Well, I rarely wear songkok but a pair of baju melayu is a must on hari raya. For the record, I’ve been living in KL for almost 20 years now, and every year I’ve been back to celebrate hari raya. Every single year I’ll be there, my absent home. So please give it a rest, will ya?
BTW; my old friend also pointed me to an excellent blog on everything Terengganu. Excellently written, so thick with “Tranung”, it brings tears to my eyes. To Awang Goneng; “terime kasih ban’nyok boh!”
It is a fact well known among those who have stared at them, face to faceless, that Trengganu ghosts have especially long fingernails, panjang jjengg??ng as they will tell you, and then they will end it with a final Eeeeee! plus a shoulder-shrug. The last to signal their note of aversion for having had to behold such a terrible sight. The confrontation would have taken place in the thick of night, gelak gguguk, in a distant place, jauh jjenak.
Jjeng??ng, gguguk, jjenak are nonce words, standing only for the occasion, never seen again outside the context or hand unheld by the adjectives that they enhance ‚Äî panjang (long), gelak (dark), jauh (far). On their own they are meaningless, but with the companion adjectives, they enhance. So, dark (gelak), becomes very, very dark (gelak gguguk), long becomes very, very, long (panjang jjeng??ng), and dark becomes very, very dark (gelak gguguk). These are ‘extremely’ words.
There are many extremely words that decorate our passage of Trengganuspeak – dekat p?®h, tajang landak, tupo geleny?®h, tinggi langgok, basat tt?®r?® ‚Äî extremely near, sharp, blunt, high, poor. Basat tt?®r?® sunggoh lah orang h??k d??k tahu perkataang-perkataang ning O an??k wok! Poor indeed is the person who doesn’t know any of these words, O my child!
There’s no discernible rule as to how these words come about. In what I’ve called ‘ding-dong’ words ‚Äî warih war??h (kith and kin), sia maja (bad luck) ‚Äî the rule is easier to grasp as they are mostly rhyming couplets or are joined together by a bond that’s alliterative. In their togetherness they embrace all pertaining to the preceding companion word. Thus, serba serbi, everything and anything, gguling g??l?®k, rolling and all the motions that result from it, lauk pauk (from standardspeak), all the dishes and everything attending. These are, needless to say, not extremely words, but indicate, merely, the variety of things or acts.
Sometimes the choice of adverb (surprisingly, it is an adverb qualifying an adjective) displays erudition, as in the Trengganuspeak gelak gelemak (pitch dark). Gelemak here is not a nonce, but a word in its own right, coming as it does from the Arabic dzulma’ (darkness) as in ‘laila dzulma’, a very dark night.
These add colour to Trengganuspeak (any ‘speak’), and colour itself gives us an array of delight: hitang llegang, very (extremely) black, kuning ssi??r, very yellow, put?©h selepuk, very white, m?®r??h mmerang, garish red, and biru hh?®rang, very blue. The last one is again an inserted Arabic, h?®rang being the Arabic ‘hairan’ (nonplussed) in the Trengganu tongue. So extremely blue that the beholder is left without powers of speech.
And they enhance taste in our talk: manis llet?©ng, masang pperik (ppek??k), pahit llepang, taw??r hh?®b?®r, cer??r ber??r…sweet, sour, bitter, bland and bland again they are, all extremely.
And here I must pause lest I be accused of giving you bany??k dd??’??h* to think about.
*Too much. For the origin of dd??’??h, see blogs, passim.
grabbed from the excellent: kecek-kecek.blogspot.com