e-ISSN 2231-8542
ISSN 1511-3701

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Profiles of Malaysian Malay Standard Accent and Identity Values

Idris Aman and Rosniah Mustaffa

Pertanika Journal of Tropical Agricultural Science, Volume 21, Issue 1, March 2013

Keywords: Standard accents, Malay language, phonological variables, speech styles, social variables, identity, integration

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This paper discusses the profiles of the standard accent of Malay language in Malaysia. The discussions are linked with the issues of identity and integration values. For this purpose, five phonological variables which had been identified as relevant in these regards were chosen and analysed, namely, the final syllable open-ended vowel (a) such as in saya 'I', the final syllable close-ended vowel (i) such as in bilik 'room' and (u) such as in duduk 'sit', the initial (r) such as in rumah 'home', and the post-vocalic (r) such as in pasar 'market'. The pronunciation of these variables by the informants in four formal speech styles, which had been specially designed, was recorded. A total of 125 informants from four cities were involved in this study. The profile of accent was examined from five social variables. These include the informants' socio-economic status, gender, age, geographical location and native or non-native speaker factor. The study reveals that the notion of the national standard accent of Malaysian Malay - at some point - has been demonstrated by the informants and this is applicable through all the five social variables, within two patterns of phonological variables. Firstly, the phonological variables of (i), (u), and (r)1 were used prominently as standard accent, and secondly, (a) and (r)2 were used alternately between the standard and non-standard accents. The findings illustrate the existence and the growth of national identity and integration values, where the informants were able to accommodate their accent to the standard variation in the formal context of the study. In this sense, they are also inclined to identify themselves more with the national identity as compared to the local identity.

ISSN 1511-3701

e-ISSN 2231-8542

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