Old Malay language

Old Malay Language

Old Malay language

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The Old Malay language, also called Classical Malay, is the ancestor of the modern Malay language, including Indonesian and Malaysian. It developed in the now Melayu Kingdom of Sumatra. It was heavily influenced by Sanskrit and Kawi (Old Javanese), and was grammatically quite similar to modern Malay.


Old Malay

Written Malay is attested from 1,500 years ago. The oldest known text, from 682 CE, is the Kedukan Bukit Inscription found in the area of the former Kingdom of Melayu, located on the Jambi river, approximately 40 kilometres north of modern Palembang, (in Sumatra, Indonesia. Since Old Malay was influenced by Hindu-Buddhist culture, there is some sankrit loanwords in Old Malay vocabulary. are Several other inscriptions dating from the 7th to 9th centuries have been found in Sumatra, western Java, and other islands of the Sunda archipelago. These texts are considered examples of Old Malay or Early Malay language. All these inscriptions were in the Kawi form of the Javanese script.

Transitional period

Early Modern Malay is attested from Terengganu in the 14th century, with the Batu Bersurat text, a Malay Kawi text with Arabic influence inscribed on stones at Pengkalan Kempas. The Batu Bersurat text has large number of Old Malay Sanskrit terms which are now obsolete.

Malacca period

During the Sultanate of Malacca, the Malay language developed rapidly due to trade and the spread of Islam and Islamic literature. This development changed the nature of the...
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