Cuttings: Subservient/Servile Written Malay Subservient/Servile Written Malay | Cuttings

Things of interest.

October 6, 2015

Subservient/Servile Written Malay

On the differing tone of formal written English and Malay.

Formal and well-written English tends to be assertive, and imperative.

Contrastingly, formal and well-written Malay tends to be subservient in tenor, and almost servile (for lack of a better word).

Case in point: your letters. It’ll be strewn with:

“…saya dengan rendah dirinya”
“…saya dengan segala hormatnya”
“…saya mengambil kesempatan ini untuk merakamkan setinggi-tinggi penghargaan”
“…kami mengucapkan ribuan terima kasih”

I understand cultural differences, but this is essentially formalized grovelling. I wonder if it is persuasive too, especially when one must deal with uncaring authorities.


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